Texan cow­boy in town

Hamilton Metro News - - FRONT PAGE -

New Zealand’s premier equine event Equi­days took place at Mys­tery Creek ear­lier this month.

The sev­enth an­nual event has 813 horses and 622 rid­ers de­scend upon Mys­tery Creek for an ac­tion packed week­end, prov­ing Equi­days re­ally was the place to be for all things equine.

This year’s event had more new fea­tures than ever be­fore, ed­u­cat­ing and en­ter­tain­ing vis­i­tors.

With 92 ed­u­ca­tional clin­ics, 31 sem­i­nars and the Fiber Fresh Youth Camp, Equi­days fo­cused on pro­vid­ing ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties to sup­port the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of New Zealand’s up-and-com­ing eques­tri­ans.

Among the big names in the equine in­dus­try brought out by the Equi­days team, was fa­ther-and-son duo from Bluff Dale Texas, Craig and Cole Cameron.

As one of Amer­ica’s most recog­nised horse­men and clin­i­cians, Craig in­vented the cow­boy chal­lenge.

The sport is rel­a­tively new to New Zealand and tests the re­la­tion­ship be­tween horse and rider on an ob­sta­cle course that mir­rors the dif­fi­cul­ties rid­ers might face on the ranch or trail.

Over the three days Craig and son Cole took daily cour­ses and demon­stra­tions, as well as com­men­tat­ing the cow­boy chal­lenge com­pe­ti­tions.

A first-time vis­i­tor to New Zealand and Equi­days, Cole com­mented on the won­der­ful peo­ple, amaz­ing horses and ad­ven­tur­ous ac­tiv­i­ties.

“It was a plea­sure ed­u­cat­ing rid­ers and also in­tro­duc­ing and be­ing part of the Isuzu D-Max Off Road Chal­lenge.

“We hope the event be­comes a huge suc­cess and I’m look­ing for­ward to com­ing back to in­cred­i­ble New Zealand,” said Cameron.

Judg­ing by the fans lin­ing the Isuzu D-Max Off Road Arena Equi­days or­gan­is­ers are con­fi­dent Craig and Cole Cameron’s ap­pear­ance at the event will have boosted in­ter­est in the sport. The Isuzu D-Max Off Road Chal­lenge was taken out by Bryan McVicar in the open di­vi­sion, Karen Weibel won the rookie di­vi­sion, and Shanti Aplin and Nina Suther­land were tied in the youth di­vi­sion.

Equi­days also hosted two new night shows, the Wade Equine Coaches Fes­ti­val of Dres­sage, and Equi­days Top Tal­ent, hosted by Equi­days am­bas­sadors and fan favourites the Wil­son Sis­ters.

The Top Tal­ent com­pe­ti­tion gave bud­ding eques­tri­ans from around New Zealand the chance to take home a share of the $5000 prize pool.

Both cat­e­gories were taken out by Tau­ranga based eques­tri­ans. Ten-year-old Amelia New­son won the youth di­vi­sion with an in­spi­ra­tional bri­dle­less jump­ing dis­play and El­lie Har­ri­son took out the adult di­vi­sion with a world-class lion tamer act.

Kelly Wil­son said Equi­days con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength.

“The event reached a truly in­ter­na­tional cal­i­bre with an out­stand­ing ar­ray of the world’s best clin­i­cians, and a di­verse va­ri­ety of eques­trian com­pe­ti­tions and en­ter­tain­ment evenings.

“The Equi­days team will be hard-pressed to top their 2017 lineup, but as al­ways we are con­fi­dent they will con­tinue to raise the bar on our favourite eques­trian event of the sea­son,” said Wil­son. Equi­days event man­ager Am­mie Hardie said this was al­ways front of mind when plan­ning each event.

“Our vis­i­tors are so pas­sion­ate about the in­dus­try and we al­ways want to build on the year be­fore, bring­ing out the very best peo­ple, putting on the very best show.

“The Satur­day night show is al­ways a sell-out event so the pres­sure is al­ways on to top the year be­fore. We de­cided to add an ex­tra di­men­sion this year, rig­ging up hos­ing to drip water on the crowd dur­ing Dan Steers per­for­mance to Imag­ine Dragons’ sound­track Thun­der,” said Hardie.

Com­pe­ti­tion winners:

Hyundai Derby: Amanda Wil­son/ Show­tym Cas­sanova — North­land Che­val Lib­erte Pony Grand Prix: Emma Wat­son/Mad­dox Fun House — Waikato GH Mumm Horse Grand Prix: Rose Alfeld/My Su­per Nova — Can­ter­bury Isuzu D-Max Off Road Chal­lenge Open Di­vi­sion: Bryan McVicar/ Coal — Can­ter­bury JLT Pony 6 Bar: Ge­or­gia Bouzaid/ Red­cliffs Bill — Wai­heke Honda Pony Derby: Olivia New­som/ Moon­spirit Trea­sure — Bay of Plenty Reyna Eques­trian Horse Derby: Kelsey Leahy/Show­cause — Waikato Wade Equine Coaches Grand Prix Freestyle: John Thomp­son/ JHT An­tonello — Waikato

Photo / Supplied

The Wil­son Sis­ters cel­e­brate Amanda Wil­son’s win in the Hyundai Premier Derby with stew­ard Blake Keane (left) and NZ Na­tional Fiel­d­ays So­ci­ety GM Com­mer­cial, Nick Drom­gool (right).

Photo / Supplied

Texan Cow­boy Cole Cameron was in New Zealand for Equi­days 2017.

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