Ride the Rhythm: World Cup Qualifier at Forsyth Barr Stadium
‘Ride the Rhythm’ Brings World Cup Qualifier to Forsyth Barr Stadium
In February 2014 Forsyth Barr Stadium will host the final round of New Zealand’s premier show jumping competition, the FEI World Cup Qualifier series, when Ride the Rhythm returns with another equestrian spectacle combined with a live international concert. The World Cup Qualifier winner has the right to represent New Zealand at the World Cup Final in Lyon, France in April.
Earlier this year, the Stadium was hailed as a fantastic equestrian venue by both the equestrian fraternity and the general public who attended the inaugural Ride the Rhythm event. The overwhelming appeal of the event attracted the attention of Equestrian Sports New Zealand whose chief executive, Jim Ellis, says the Stadium arena has the potential to boost the profile of equestrian sport in New Zealand.
“Despite the fact that New Zealand punches above its weight in international equestrian sport, it has rarely garnered broad spectator support at home. I think this year when the public were able to experience the spectacle of show jumping from the elevated views afforded by the Stadium, they were able to appreciate the skills involved and embrace the tension and suspense that makes show jumping the compelling spectator sport that it is. That’s got to be good for our sport.
“From a competition point of view, the Stadium has it all. The surface is simply outstanding and a treat for all competitors who won’t find a better surface to jump on in NZ. The ground can be easily prepared to meet competition requirements, there are no weather issues, and with Logan Park immediately adjacent to the Stadium, there is ample ground for managing horses pre and post competition.”
Kevin Hansen, director of Ride the Rhythm, says bringing the deciding round of the World Cup series to Dunedin is a coup for Ride the Rhythm. “We have always backed show jumping as great entertainment and to now be able to officially deliver the highest level of competition in the country is fantastic for the event. The public will see the best horse and rider combinations in Australasia.”
Hansen says in 2014 the equestrian programme will also bring back last year’s heart stopping Puissance with its $70,000 prize money – the carrot to attract the courageous to attempt to clear a 2.21m wall to set a new national record. There will be a Pony Grand Prix and other feature events are in the planning.
Ride the Rhythm has yet to announce the music act that will headline at the event. Hansen says, “We are in negotiation with a world class party band. This year The Hollies brought thousands to the Stadium and we are confident that we can top that in 2014. It’s very exciting. It’s going to be a party like no other seen at the Stadium.”
Darren Burden, chief executive of Dunedin Venues which runs the Forsyth Barr Stadium, says he is thrilled to be welcoming back Ride the Rhythm, an event that capitalises on the versatility of the venue.
"The combination of world class equestrian and music creates a totally unique event that we know is a real crowd pleaser,” said Burden. “It’s great that Ride the Rhythm is returning to Dunedin, and we look forward to helping grow this event into a mainstay on the city's event calendar."
Tickets go on sale on October 22 through www.ticketdirect.co.nz