A father-and-son cowboy duo from the US, an Olympic equestrian coach and New Zealand’s horse-taming Wilson Sisters are just some of the attractions at this year’s premier equine event, Equidays this October.
Ammie Hardie, Equidays’ senior event manager, says preparations for the “biggest Equidays yet” are tracking smoothly, including plans to take a “slice” of the event to the South Island – in Christchurch – for the first time, which she says will allow a wider audience to see what the event offers.
“We’ve been keen to do a South Island version for a while now, so with the success of previous years behind us we felt like this was the year to do it,” says Hardie. “We’re really excited to share our world-class clinician workshops, exhibitors and entertainment with everyone heading along.”
Last year Equidays had more than 23,000 visitors through the gates at Mystery Creek, more than double the number five years before.
With the event now in its seventh year, Hardie says they’re always looking to add to what they offer.
“We get so much amazing feedback after each event, and we’ve just gone from strength to strength each year,” she says.
This year Equidays runs from 13-15 October at Mystery Creek Events Centre near Hamilton. Since its inception in 2010, Equidays has grown into a world-class event, endorsed by Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) and event ambassadors the popular Wilson Sisters.
Education is a big focus of Equidays, alongside its values Entertain, Equip and Empower.
This year there are 16 visiting clinicians and more than 40 hours of clinics per day, along with more than 200 exhibitors where visitors can purchase equine equipment.
Each year international clinicians host a variety of teaching workshops for riders and the public. Among the clinicians this year are Rob Ehrens, Olympian and coach of the current world show jumping champion, and Kyra Kyrklund, who is a six-time Olympic medalist and world champion dressage superstar.
A third night show has also been added to the line-up of entertainment.
“We’ve usually had night shows on the Friday and Saturday, but due to demand we’ve now added a Sunday night event,” says Hardie.
The night shows feature top riders racing and jumping, and performances from world-leading equine entertainers. The Wilson Sisters (Vicki, Kelly and Amanda) will host the inaugural ‘Top Talent’ competition, where selected participants impress the crowd with their horsemanship skills, and Texan father-and-son duo Craig and Cole Cameron will lead the ‘Cowboy Challenge’ – a competition for western riders. Other performers include Dan Steers – aka Double Dan – and his wife Pia in the Equitainment Extravaganza, and Kapiti Vaulting, who will perform alongside adagio dancing duo Silhouette.