I’m a groom at the Rugby Polo Club. Currently with the lockdown, we start early with the mucking out. After that I’m helping build the biggest indoor arena in Europe for showjumping and eventing, it will be 16,500 sqm.

Without Covid we’d be tacking up for lessons and on Wednesday and Friday nights we have Chukka nights and have 20 horses to prepare. Usually this place is really busy with horses, trucks and people, there is a bar and a café too.

I’d been driving tractors in Norfolk and I said to Dad that I wanted to work with horses and he talked to a rep at home who knew someone who knew someone – usual story. So I called this guy and he said when could I start.

When I arrived in November I’d never been on a horse. On my second day I was on one and the boss said you’ll be alright. Now I have an untrained project horse to back and train. I’m enjoying the polo too, I’d love to play in the big tournaments. I played first xv rugby and rowed at  school.

We’ve got a flat above the owner’s mothers house. I share with another groom, she’s a dolphin trainer from Bermuda, when she said that I said what are the chances, but she is. There are only four of us now, down from six pre-Covid.

Mum and Dad are at home on the farm just out of Whanganui, they had hoped to come over this summer and watch me play polo. My sister Kate is in London. She and I were off to Gallipoli for Anzac Day but this put a stop to that. I turned 21 in lockdown. I still intend to go back to Vet School at home.

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Images supplied by interviewee

This interview and the others in the series are an extension of my new book “This Is Us” that will be published by Exisle and released on the 1st of June 2020. These interviews are slightly different from the ones in the book as they focus on New Zealanders living abroad in this time of isolation. If you can think of suitable interview subjects please let me know via pete@petecarter.nz .

Exisle have now released This Is Us as an e-book you can buy it here.

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Pete Carter is the author of This is Us. Due out in June 2020 it will be published by Exisle and tells the story of more than 200 New Zealanders in words and pictures. The book is really a portrait of the nation and how it is made up. Pete wrote Our Dog Benji a children’s book illustrated by his nephew, published by EK in 2017. He is also the author of two books of poetry. He has had magazine articles published and poetry in anthologies. As a photographer he has had two solo exhibitions and work included in group exhibitions in NZ and overseas and has sold work to and been commissioned by corporate clients.

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