Horse power is the name of the game at Mystery Creek Events Centre this month, as equestrian fans from around the country flock to see world-leading clinicians and experts, as well as some of the country’s best riders and horses in action.
Equidays 2016 (October 14-16) offers an amazing overview of the many equestrian disciplines; from show jumping, eventing and dressage to horse cutting, western and stunt riding.
Cambridge mother-of-two Andrea Kewish, 41, has entered in the Wade Equine Derby, a new show jumping event designed to appeal to amateur riders, or younger, less experienced horse-and-rider combinations.
The Wade Equine Derby will be held over the same challenging course as the Hyundai Premier Derby, but with the jumps at a lower height of 1.10 metres to 1.15m. The Premier Derby is set at 1.35m.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” says Andrea. “Equidays is one of the few show jumping events in New Zealand which includes a derby at this height. It’s fun but difficult too. I would never enter the premier derby, as the jumps are set at 1.35m which is too big for an amateur like myself.”
The derby course is a test of skill and endurance not often asked of show jumping horses.
To prepare for the event Andrea is training with her 10-year-old Selle Francias-thoroughbred cross mare, Spring Fling, at venues around the wider Cambridge area. “We are practising jumping drop fences, ditches, going up banks, and making sure she is confident on different kinds of terrain,” said Andrea.
Andrea has been attending Equidays since its inception six years ago, mostly as a spectator. Last year she rode at Equidays in the FEI World Challenge qualifier (1.10-1.20m) and was placed ninth.
Equidays competition manager Kerry Willetts said they have been inundated with entries in the Wade Equine Derby. “We’ve intended to do it for a few years but we were worried it didn’t have the appeal of the bigger classes,” says Kerry. “However it has proven to be very successful and the class is almost full.”
Also new this year is the invitational Horseware Ireland Double Slalom which will be part of the Friday night show jumping spectacular. An exciting event for spectators, the double slalom will see two horse-and-rider combinations go head-to-head, racing each other on identical courses to beat each other and the clock.
Returning again this year, are the FEI World Jumping Challenge, the JLT Bloodstock Pony Six Bar, the Pony Grand Prix, the G.H. Mumm Champagne Horse Grand Prix, the Hyundai Premier Derby, Honda Pony Derby and the Isuzu D-Max Show jumping and Cross Country Challenge – Accumulator. The prize pool available to competitors exceeds $60,000.
A key focus of Equidays is education and, alongside the competitions and entertainment, more than 40 hours of educational clinics and seminars will run daily led by top equine experts.
Equidays 2016 also includes two spectacular night shows and more than 200 exhibitors.