Thousands of horse lovers descended upon the National Equestrian Centre in Taupo for Equifest on the weekend. The event brought together all disciplines within the equine industry for three days of equine action.
The biggest prize getter of the weekend was Grand Prix and CSI-W World Cup winner Lisa Coupe who took out 1st, 2nd and 6th in Fridays Fixine for Equine 1.25 Horse Speed.
The Horse 1.35 Championships went to Olympic showjumper and Taupo local Duncan McFarlane upon Be Mine NZPH with a double clear in 39.05 seconds and Rylee Sheehan and Tony the Pony rode the only double clear in the Country TV Pony Grand Prix to take out first place.
Retired racehorses were also showcased as pleasure and sporthorses by non-for-profit organisation Beyond the Barriers. Thirteen-year-old Scout and The Ice Knight proved that these retired thoroughbreds’ can be equally successful across all disciplines, from showjumping, dressage and pleasure hacks, given the proper training.
But it wasn’t all competition. More than 35 educators; including experienced and qualified professionals, Olympians, national and world champions, trainers and judges, and TV personalities were part of the educational timetable.
Among the line-up was internationally accomplished dressage rider Jody Hartstone who gathered a huge crowd in the sunshine on Saturday. Horse starting was demonstrated by Cambridge based Murray Riches and Julie Malcolm and Sue Pennington explored rider and horse biomechanics. Seminars were also on offer covering equine nutrition, hoof care and goal setting for riders.
Fan favourites and Equifest ambassadors Vicki, Kelly and Amanda Wilson along with horsemanship trainers Russell Higgins and Ben Longwell were also there offering their expertise.
Despite this year with Covid-19 and the current border restrictions Event Owner and Director, Ammie Hardie of Core Events was determined to hold the event.
“With no international educators able to attend, we took the opportunity to highlight the great local expertise and talent we have right here on our doorstep. It was also really encouraging to see people supporting New Zealand owned exhibitors, with many reporting record sales for an event”.
"In addition to creating an event for the equine community it was awesome to see 11,000 happy, smiling faces," she said.
“The competition was top class, the quality of the educational sessions was superb and the feedback from visitors has been very positive.”
Equifest is different from many other equine events in the industry which are solely competition-based, focusing on bringing people together to learn, networking and shop.