Centenarian Barbara Blackie, widely recognised as the oldest racehorse trainer in the world, passed away at home in Christchurch on Friday.
The Canterbury horsewoman celebrated her 100th birthday in July with family and friends and continued to enjoy training Diplomat, her sole horse in work.
Blackie enlisted jockey Terry Moseley to ride the majority of her horses and he said she was a well-respected horsewoman who was quite active right up until her passing.
“She was very fortunate in the fact that she was still fairly active until about the last month,” Moseley said.
“She was still coming down to the track until about Christmas time. Her mental faculties were right up there with the best and she just was a really classy lady.
“She got a Queen Service Medal for her participation in founding the RDA (Riding for Disabled Association) down here and she was an equestrian as well.
“She lived a wonderful life to be 100 years old. The fulfilment she has had in her life is a testament to herself.”
Blackie came to training later in life and quickly fell in love with the sport.
“I think she started training in her late fifties,” Blackie’s daughter Angie Bott said. “Before that she was heavily involved with horses, she was a top dressage judge and she was into eventing.
“She went to Jimmy Tomkinson and asked him who he would recommend to train a horse for a friend. Jimmy said to her ‘why don’t you do it yourself?’
“So she decided that she would. She loved it.”
Blackie’s funeral service will take place at Riccarton Park racecourse on Thursday.