Author: equidev


Equidays is excited to announce the Wade Equine Coaches Festival of
Dressage, where New Zealand’s top dressage riders will have the chance to qualify for the FEI World Equestrian Games.


Now in its seventh year, Equidays hosts international clinicians, demonstrations and seminars across all equine disciplines, as well as over 200 exhibitor sites dedicated to the equine industry.


This year organisers are excited to add the qualifying event to the already stellar line-up held from 12 – 15 October at Mystery Creek Events Centre just South of Hamilton.


Equidays event manager Ammie Hardie said the team have been working hard to make this the best Equidays yet with more announcements in the coming months.


“We’ve got some really exciting plans for Equidays 2017 and I’m really thrilled to
announce the addition of a FEI World Equestrian Games qualifying event to the line-up” said Hardie.


New Zealand’s top dressage riders will compete in the Grand Prix, with hopes of
getting a score good enough to put them in contention for a spot at the FEI World
Equestrian Games.


Governed by the FEI, this level of test requires the highest level of athletic ability and concentration by both horse and rider.


FEI judges will be looking for correct execution of movements, willingness of the horse and the effectiveness of the rider’s aids.


This is a rare opportunity for riders to get the chance to qualify in New Zealand
and Equidays organisers will be working with Dressage NZ and Equestrian Sport New Zealand to bring the qualifying event to Equidays on Thursday 12 October.


After hosting an Olympic Qualifier in 2015 event organisers have learnt a lot and are looking
forward to creating the best possible environment for these riders to excel.


Mystery Creek Events Centre will transform to become the ultimate equine destination with a first class indoor arena, five outdoor arenas and three sand arenas.


Always strong advocates for education and empowerment, organisers are excited by what a high calibre event of this kind will mean for the sport.


Equidays event executive Lynley Schollum said the festival will also give 12 up-and-coming combinations the opportunity to ride the Prix St Georges in front of FEI judges and experience the atmosphere of top level competition indoors.


“An event like this is huge for the sport and huge for Equidays. We’re really looking
forward to giving these riders the chance to achieve their goals” said Schollum.


Dressage NZ were in agreeance.


“This is a valuable opportunity for riders and fans alike to enjoy the benefit from
international standard competition and training on offer” said spokesperson Wendy
Hamerton of Dressage NZ.


Late last year the FEI announced the games would be held at Tyron
International Equestrian Centre in North Carolina, from 10-23 September 2018.


An army of more than 100 volunteers worked at Equidays last month, providing essential support to New Zealand’s premier equine event.


“Even if you’re not a horsey person, you get into it,” said volunteer team leader, Stacey Tancred, who has volunteered at Equidays for the past three years.


Tancred is a property manager from New Plymouth, and said she wouldn’t miss the opportunity to volunteer at Equidays every year. “It’s great fun – you meet new people and you learn a lot about horses too.”


Now in its sixth year, Equidays 2016 was held at the Mystery Creek Event Centre near Hamilton from October 14 to 16. More than 23,000 people attended the three-day event and volunteers were needed to set up, pack down and ensure things ran smoothly.


Tancred has had a passion for horses most of her life, something she inherited from her late father Ivan Woodward. “Dad introduced me to horses,” said Tancred. “He used to do farm work with Clydesdales many moons ago, and at age seven or eight he brought me a pony and taught me to ride.”


Last year Tancred’s parents, Ivan and Joan Woodward, joined her on the volunteering team at Equidays in 2015. Tancred said her father, then 71, particularly enjoyed the experience.


After working during the day, they attended a jousting competition on the final evening of Equidays. Each jouster had to give one red rose to a member of the audience to show who they would ride for. One of them gave her rose to Tancred’s father. “Dad was so chuffed. He kept it and it was very special to him,” said Tancred.


When Ivan Woodward passed away in May this year, he was buried with that rose. “Being part of Equidays meant so much to Dad,” said Tancred.


This year’s Equidays was bittersweet for Tancred, without her Dad volunteering alongside her, but she was kept busy and enjoyed the experience. “I loved every part of Equidays this year, and made a great group of friends,” said Tancred. “I enjoyed working with a great team of people.”


Tancred has volunteered in a variety of roles at Equidays over the years, from safety to setting up the arena for show jumping competitions.


Fieldays volunteer coordinator Deb Kay manages the volunteers for Equidays. She said the organisation is very grateful for the work and dedication of the volunteers, who ensured Equidays was a successful event.


Kay said most helpers are locals but some come from as far away as Queenstown, Christchurch, Wellington and Northland.


Volunteers were recruited through the Equidays Facebook page, and Kay said it was relatively easy to fill the ranks. “They love to be part of it, and for those who love horses, it’s exciting to work alongside some very famous and talented people in the equine world.”


The majority of volunteers were women, and ranged in age from teenagers to people in their mid-70s.


Volunteers worked in the arenas and back-of-house, said Kay. “In the arenas the volunteers were there to assist the performing clinicians with jumps or with anything they need. All of the people in the arena have a passion for horses,” said Kay.


Those working in back-of-house assisted with set up, in the stables and checking on horses, with safety and other behind-the-scenes jobs. Many of them are a core group of Fieldays volunteers, who assist with that event also, said Kay.


Tancred said this volunteering opportunity was well worth it. Not only were the volunteers treated to sponsored goods, but also received free tickets, camping and meals.


“I’m definitely coming back next year with my partner and my two boys,” said Tancred.



The last day of the three-day Equidays show saw the prizes being awarded for two very popular classes where horses and riders had to participate in competition for the last three days.


In the Kaimanawa Heritage Horses Stallion Challenge, trainers had 150 days to tame, geld and train their newly mustered and randomly assigned Kaimanawa stallion. Tina Fagan won the class for the second year in a row, this year with Bullwinkle. “It feels really good to come out and win it with another horse, a different type of horse. He is more energetic, he has a lot more play drive, he likes to move a lot more.”  Tina was sure that it was his personality that gave him the edge. “You can see the boy humour, he likes to get in and play and do things. People like that sparkle.”  In the future, Bullwinkle will probably do some showjumping and Tina plans on doing more liberty demonstrations with the Kaimanawa pony.


Beyond the Barriers Dunstan Ex-Factor competition is for retired racehorses. Competitors chose three of six different types of competition to show off their thoroughbred horse’s skills. DSE Sunset Pass came out the winner, ridden by Donna Edwards-Smith. The 8-year-old bay gelding, by Yamanin Vital out of Janet’s Chance, had 25 racing starts including in hurdles and steeplechases.  He has taken to his life as a sports horse very well and Donna thinks he has the potential to be a four-star eventer. “He is one of nicest, most talented horses I have ever ridden with a very good brain.”


Ex-jumps jockey, Tommy Hazlett, was on hand to see one of his favourite horses do so well. “Jason Bridgman used to train him, and I used to look after him. It is a pleasure to see horses having a great life after racing, and I am so pleased he is with Donna. He is the type of horse that should go right to the top.”


David Smith, from sponsor Dunston Horse Feeds, presented the prizes. “It is such a good event but more importantly it is so well organised by Gina and Nicky. They put so much work into it. I am only too happy be able to support them.”


Coatesville’s Trey Cadwallader riding Leeara Park First Edition won the Lisa Chittick Memorial class, for the Champion of Champions in the Northern Premier Showing Championships.  The beautiful palomino pony, with the nickname of Leo, is ten years old. This is Trey’s first season on the pony. “I don’t know how to explain it, I just feel quite grateful to even be here. All my three ponies qualified for the final, so it has been an awesome show. It is one of my favourite shows of the year.”


The judges commented that there were high quality and well presented competitors in the showing classes. “They were happy competitors too, and that is always important. Every one in the final deserved to be there, so it is hard to judge but that pony definitely had the x-factor.”


Holly Morrell also had a really good show, culminating with a win in the Isuzu D-Max Cross Country and Showjumping Challenge on her two-star eventing horse, Alani.  Holly, from Taupo, was the first out on the 2,200 metre course which included both showjumping fences and John Nicholson-designed cross country fences. “This course just suited him, it was long and loopy and he just stayed in the same rythym, and just kept going. It was a little bit hard going first, no one really knew the time so you just do it and hope it is alright.  He is actually for sale, so maybe someone will buy him now. Equidays has been a great weekend, very profitable for me!”


Spectators were treated to a superb display of jumping competitions as well as world-class seminars and clinics at today’s opening day of Equidays 2016.


The two main jumping classes came down to tight finishes with intense jump-offs against the clock to determine the winners.


In the Category A FEI World Jumping Challenge, Taupo teenager Briar Burnett-Grant took out the win on Fiber Fresh Verona.  She was one of the last to go in the jump-off, and Briar’s time was just over a second faster than second place-getter Maia Coster, on Landenfeld. Third was Nicola Hammond on Carlo I.


The FEI Challenge is a two-round contest where riders of the same level compete against other riders from all over the world. Each rider jumps the same course, and the overall Category A winners in each geographical zone will have the chance to head overseas for the world final.


Briar (16) was very pleased with her young horse, especially as she hasn’t had him for that long. “It was obviously a good choice. This is going to be my first full season on him; I had him for about two months last season. I know he is a fast horse, that is naturally how he goes, so I knew if I let him do his thing he is quite a careful horse.”


Briar has a full programme of competitions on at Equidays 2016, and says it’s an event she really enjoys. “It is great to have so many spectators watching. The atmosphere is awesome.”


Olivia Ahlborn, from Napier, was the winner of the Honda New Zealand Pony Derby riding Aorangi Ragtime, beating the other five riders who made it through to the jump-off, out of the 57 starters in the class. Olivia described her win on the eye-catching Appaloosa as “pretty awesome. It is great to do this with him as we have been together for four years. He is just such a great pony. It is really cool to do really well with him.”


Olivia has had a lot of success with this wonderful pony, including winning the Speed Pony of the Year title twice. “We are in the Equidays Pony Grand Prix tomorrow, and then the Isuzu D-Max show jumping and cross-country challenge on Sunday, so that will be fun.”


Sarah West was second on Showtym Cruiser, and Isabella Du Plessis third on the well-known Kabo Silver.


The Hyundai Derby, the feature event of the second day of Equidays, was won by local rider, Lucy Olphert on a horse she and her family bred and produced.


Eve Saint Laurent has been a nine year project for Lucy. “It is just a very special and rewarding feeling when hard work and patience pays off. It has been a tough road and a lot of people have asked me why I have hung on to her. She has not been easy, but I think the good ones have those quirks and that is what makes them so special.”


Lucy went into the tough competition with a positive mindset. “We had prepared for this as best as we could, I have a very special horse and at the end of the day, you just have to ride your heart out and she jumped her heart out.”


When asked what she was going to spend the $10,000 first prize purse on, Lucy was taking the sensible approach.  “The equipment I use, the horses’ nutrition and those sensible items, I need to put the money towards those things but maybe I will be able to upgrade my tow vehicle. We are so lucky to have incredible sponsors like Hyundai. It is a really really generous prize.”


Lucy was the only rider in the two-round competition to produce two clear rounds. Vicki Wilson on Ngahiwi Showtym Premier really put the pressure on Lucy, jumping clear in the second round after having just one rail in the first round and finished second. Taupo rider, Holly Morrell was third on Pampero and last night’s horse Grand Prix winner, Amanda Wilson on Showtym Cassanova was fourth.


The class all the pony riders wanted to win was the Equidays Pony Grand Prix and the competition was hot but in the end it was Emma Watson on Fun Time who won by going just over a second faster than Deanna Horsburgh on Showtym Endeavour in the timed jump-off.


Emma gave her 12 year old part-Appaloosa pony, who goes by the nickname of ‘Pink’, a lot of the credit. “The competition was very tight, there were some really fast clear rounds. I am lucky enough to have Pink and we took an inside turn that no one else did and so we came away with the best time!” Emma was last to go in the jump off so she knew what she had to do. “It was either make it or break it with that inside turn.”


Both Lucy and Emma were raving about Equidays.  Lucy thinks this venue is world class. “I love this show, I absolutely love it. This event is very special, it brings like-minded people together for three days of awesomeness.  It is not just the competitions, but you can learn so much from the clinicians and other people’s ways of teaching.”  Emma agreed. “This show is just so amazing, the atmosphere is just awesome.”