Gearing up for horse heaven

The three-day Equidays will include the ever-popular night shows, with a wealth of talent on display. Photo – Stephen Barker / Barker Photography. ©Equidays.

Mystery Creek is gearing up for the annual Equidays event, this month’s ‘must see’ fixture on any horse-lover’s calendar. Last year, more than 22,000 visitors flocked to Equidays and it’s hoped that the October 2018 event will be even bigger. This year, Equidays is getting back to its education roots, said event manager Ammie Hardie, which has meant reducing some of the competitions on the schedule. “The event is about education and inspiration”, Ammie said, adding that the move will mean attendees will leave their horses at home and put their focus on learning from the world experts on offer.

This year, Equidays will feature the Kaimanawa Heritage Horse Challenge, which is run every second year. Alternating with the Mounted Games, the Kaimanawa challenge takes horses that are just 100 days out of the wild and puts them through their paces. “They compete in a series of different equine disciplines,” Ammie explained, adding that she believes the event has had a role to play in changing the public’s perception of our wild horses. As a result of this and work done by Kaimanawa Heritage Horses (or KHH) and Equidays’ ambassadors the Wilson Sisters, hardly any of the horses rounded up on the Central Plateau go to slaughter, a contrast to other countries overseas, Ammie said. Bolstering the education focus of Equidays this year, the Youth Camp will also be structured differently to previous years following feedback. There will be 35 people under 18 taking part, each having selected either jumping or the cowboy challenge as their area of interest. “We are trying to send them away with more learnings in their actual choice,” Ammie said, “rather than giving them a bit of everything” as has been the case in previous years.

Over 22,000 visitors were at last year’s Equidays.

There will also be more shopping and family entertainment available this year, with the education catering to the ‘hardcore’ horse person while the rest of the family can still have a good time, Ammie said. With ‘old school’ games such as bobbing for apples, tossing horse shoes and sack races, Australian entertainers The Crack Up Sisters will also be on hand to entertain families at Equidays.

They will be hosting the event’s night shows, with their signature brand of humour giving them a party atmosphere, Ammie said. Plus, they will be doing whip cracking classes and performing stage shows for the kids over the course of the three-day event.

With 210 exhibitors and 17 international and national clinicians on site, there’s sure to be something for everyone at Equidays, which runs from October 12 – 14 at Mystery Creek.

Visit www.equidays.co.nz to find out more or to buy tickets.

Day one of the 2017 Equidays at Mystery Creek Events Centre. Photo – Stephen Barker / Barker Photography. ©Equidays.

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