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