Harness racing in Southland will lose its Southern Education Officer Aimee Edmonds when she leaves for Christchurch next week.
Miss Edmonds resigned from her position with Harness Racing New Zealand after a 13 month stint. She has accepted an offer from her father Canterbury trainer Craig Edmonds to train in partnership with him.
Being closer to family was an important part of her decision to make the change.
''I miss Christchurch, earthquakes and all,'' she said.
The pair will expand on Edmond snr's current training operation.
''We'll be pre-training for Robert Dunn,'' Miss Edmonds said.
The winner of 30 races as a driver, she said a return to raceday driving was also a possibility. Miss Edmonds prepared 12 yearlings for this year's Christchurch sales and said she was ''reasonable happy'' with the prices they fetched. She will continue to prepare the yearlings as part of her new venture.
Harness Racing New Zealand will not replace Miss Edmonds. National Education and Training Manager Natalie Gameson said they will trial merging the position with the Canterbury education programme.
''We will run the (Southland) position from Christchurch,'' she said.
Mrs Gameson said young people in harness racing in Southland would not be disadvantaged by not having an education officer in the area.
''They're definitely not going to miss out.''
Mrs Gameson paid tribute to the contribution Miss Edmonds had made during her time in Southland. Miss Edmonds was known to be freely available for young southern horse people to come to for advice.
They were ''very spoilt with Aimee,'' she said.
Jonny Turner is a journalism student at SIT
- The Southland Times