Over 80 riders and horses have been camped out at the National Equestrian Centre at McLeans Island for three days, learning from a range of experts and having a lot of fun.
There were dressage, cross-country and show jumping lessons, with a raft of workshops available in between. Horse dentist Josh Whittaker gave participants the chance to feel a horse’s teeth before and after treatment, and had some interesting bones and jaws on hand to show how important teeth are.
The camp followed a similar one held in Taupo, but numbers were far greater, with people travelling from all over the South Island for the event.
Mitavite NZ and Mainland Coaches were the main sponsors, with the ESNZ Eventing Performance Programme. Karen Patrick, North Island Mitavite Manager, was delighted with the success of both camps. “It’s a really positive initiative to be involved with, and we have really enjoyed it.” The company sponsored and ran a quiz on Friday night, with 18 teams competing and the Rocking Horse team triumphing by one point.
Georgia Watt-Wright travelled all the way from Southland for the weekend and said she really benefited from the expert training. She has only been eventing since November.
Emily Cammock was one of the cross-country coaches, from the vantage point of her advanced horse Shaw Lee, who was obviously not that happy at not being able to show his expertise over the jumps! The riders were very grateful for Emily’s coaching, with many of them saying it was their favourite experience so far. Hanna Lowe was one of these: “I have learned that it is better to go slower than rush to get a stride, it is better to set them up.”
Emily’s parting message to the group was that she was delighted to see them improve. “Next time I see you all at a competition, I want to see you doing the same as you have been doing at the finish of this lesson.”
Tinks Pottinger was also coaching from a horse, and looked very comfortable, as expected. She, too, was pleased with what the riders had achieved.
A popular presenter was Brent Jury who also had a horse – well, part of the remains of one. Brent did a horse leg dissection to an attentive audience. Also on offer were presentations on rider physio and trot-up etiquette.
By the turnout and enthusiasm shown, eventing in the South Island is in good stead! The camp continues on Sunday.
The gallery of photos is from Jane Thompson and can be found on this link.