Family fun day at first-class cross country

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Kevin Hansen’s vision to move eventing's cross country course to the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds was a huge hit for the 150 VIP guests at the recent NRM Horse of the Year Show launch.

The Waikoko Gardens was transformed with beautifully carved and presented jumps coming in and out of the lake forming the backdrop of the launch, which was held on a stunning Hawke’s Bay evening.

Hansen is hopeful that the Hawke’s Bay public will turn out in their droves on Saturday (March 22) to be treated to a real equestrian spectacular at the family fun day.

As if the 60-plus record entries for the two and three star classes isn’t enough, Hansen is in negotiations with a world class rider to compete at the event.

“Eventing is New Zealand’s most recognisable equestrian sport and one that has won us plenty of gold medals and accolades,” says Hansen. “And our top eventers continue to dominate the world in this discipline.”

It is a first for HOY to have the full-on John Nicholson-designed cross country at the showgrounds.

“Spectators will see horses going past at break-neck speed – it is incredible to be so close to such action,” says Hansen. “It is absolutely beautiful to watch.”

A family entertainment area will be set up near the Waikoko Gardens, with lots of food and drink available, but Hansen is encouraging families to pack a picnic and make a day of it.

The whole show will shut down between 2.30pm and 5pm for the event, which brings horses through arenas and right around the showgrounds.

There has been plenty of talk about shifting the cross country from the very stunning Hawke’s Bay Equestrian Park to the showgrounds. To ensure the safety of spectators, riders and horses, an extra 185 volunteers will be on course – that is in addition to the 400-odd who already help around the show.

A VIP corporate area at the lake – and including the island – will feature gorgeous gourmet food, drinks and music. The $155 tickets are already selling fast, and can be bought through this website.


PHOTO CREDIT: Libby Law Photography