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'Ride the Rhythm' Riding High for the Future

‘Ride the Rhythm’ Riding High for the Future

Rocking and riding is set to become an annual feature in Dunedin, at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, following the success of Ride the Rhythm last Friday night. Event organiser, Kevin Hansen, who put together the equestrian extravaganza with a concert by The Hollies, says the unique combination provided the 7,000 strong crowd with a fantastic mix of entertainment and proved the versatility of the stadium as an exceptional venue.

“The stadium is incredible; it’s a world class equestrian venue. The huge contingent of Australasian riders who competed on Friday were just blown away by everything. The stadium turf jumped above expectations and the crowd enjoyed spectacular views. The equestrians loved the atmosphere, and the public, including non-equestrian followers, were riveted by the action.”

Kevin Hansen, who is also the director of the New Zealand Horse of the Year show, is already talking about his plans for Ride the Rhythm in 2014.

“Ride the Rhythm has put its first stake in the ground and it’s solid. The Super Grand Prix had it all - sensational performances, drama, and suspense, right until the last rider’s round and the atmosphere in the stadium was electric for the New Zealand height record breaking attempt. And for sheer entertainment value, New Zealand’s newest equestrian sport, the fast and furious scurry driving, was an absolute crowd favourite.

“The success of this inaugural event means it can only get bigger. I really believe it has the potential to become one of the most prestigious equestrian events in Australasia and am confident that next time we’ll have some of the big equestrian guns here from Europe.

According to Hansen, the horses caused minimal damage to the turf and certainly no more than a few rugby matches played back to back might do.

Hansen says the horses and the Hollies mix had raised some eyebrows but backs his event formula.

“I wouldn’t change the format. I know some people were initially puzzled about mixing music with equestrian sport but why not? That’s the beauty of the stadium, you can run unique events here. We did and 7,000 people enjoyed the Hollies who played every song the crowd had come to hear.

“I already have my sights set on another world class music act to headline Ride the Rhythm next year and I’m confident, now that the public have enjoyed this spectacle that we’ll pull twice the crowd next time.”

Darren Burden, CEO, Dunedin Venues was pleased with the success of the evening.

“Events like Ride the Rhythm really showcase the unique multipurpose nature of the stadium. We have received lots of positive feedback, so there’s a real appetite for these types of events.

“We look forward to working with the event organisers again to build on the success of this year’s Ride the Rhythm.”

Tourism Dunedin CEO, Hamish Saxton, who described the event as a creative initiative, says he’s delighted Ride the Rhythm was pronounced such a success.

“It’s really pleasing that the organisers got such good support from our community, and from out of town. The event has an exciting future for Dunedin, as it puts the city and Forsyth Barr Stadium on the equestrian events circuit.”


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