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Schools line up for HOY experience

Pakowhai School was one of 10 to take advantage of an invitation to take their classes along for a guided tour of the Land Rover Horse of the Year show today (March 14).

There was much excitement as the 33 year one to six pupils headed ringside to watch the showjumping in the Premier Area. Teacher Heidi Slavin said it was the first time the school had taken the children to the show, and for many it was the first time they had seen anything like it.

Principal Paul Bremer said the show fitted in very well with the school’s local focus. “This is a very big event, of the size that not many schools in other regions get to see. What they are seeing is totally new to them and they are loving it.”

A HOY guide was showing the 10 schools through the show, from the horse events including jumping and dressage, to visits to stalls and a Resene colouring-in stand.

Encouraging youngsters to enjoy the show was about building interest in the next generation, said event director Dave Mee.

“Land Rover Horse of the Year really values the local community and wants to include and engage them as much as possible. HOY is a big event on the local calendar and the kids love seeing all the action,” he said.

The visits also gave the children the chance to see the artwork they had worked on in the build-up to the show. “Local schools were invited to paint banners to celebrate 20 years of HOY in Hawke’s Bay. The results have been amazing and having them displayed adds to the tremendous atmosphere we have here this year.”

The show got underway on Tuesday (March 13), with more than 1300 riders and 1800 horses expected to take part in events across the six days of the show.

One of the visitor highlights every year is the Hastings Heart of Hawke's Bay Friday Night Extravaganza. The show starts at 6pm, kicking off with the Australia versus NZ senior show jumping test match, followed by a winner-takes-all jumping competition. The local Hawke’s Bay polo club will then pull out all the stops in a polo demonstration, showing off their exciting sport with a mock competition and plenty of entertaining and educational commentary.

Finally, a mounted games challenge will feature teams of international and national riders. This thrilling equestrian sport will see several teams compete in a special challenge, including an Australian team and the New Zealand under-17 team who are the current world champions in their discipline.


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