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Trans-Tasman Partnership to improve equestrian events

November 1 2014

Trans-Tasman Partnership to take equestrian events to new level

A new trans-Tasman business partnership between New Zealand and Australia’s top two equestrian event organisers has been announced to take the sporting attractions to a new international level.

Event Pro, the company behind New Zealand’s Farmlands Horse of the Year Show, and Equine Productions, which owns Australia’s most successful equine exhibition Equitana, have established a joint venture.

The companies’ managing directors Kevin Hansen, Event Pro, and Rod Lockwood, Equine Productions, said together the companies planned to grow the equestrian event market across all aspects of the sport with a focus on attracting greater international adventure tourism.

“Together we plan to take these events to an exciting new level for riders, spectators and trade exhibitors. Both are world-class events, which inject millions of dollars into our respective economies.

“We are combining our years’ of experience to build on each event’s individual success, strengths and key points of difference with great potential for future growth,” Mr Hansen said.

Mr Lockwood said one of the first objectives would be developing a five-year strategic plan working with key stakeholders.

“We have a great opportunity to capture the growing interest in equestrian sport and the equine adventure tourism market, particularly out of China and the Middle East,” Mr Lockwood said.

Farmlands Horse of the Year, hosted in Hawke’s Bay, is New Zealand’s largest equestrian event, which has grown year on year. It injects more than $12-million into the local economy. Last year the show launched a new Olympic-style cross-country event in a move to attract greater public interest, which was a huge success.

Equitana features a purpose built indoor competition arena and combines this with industry exhibitors, shopping and education into Australia’s largest equine spectacle. It has operated the event bi-annually between Melbourne and Sydney and attracts around 50,000 attendees over four days, with nearly half of those from interstate and overseas.

Horse of the Year board chairman Cynthia Bowers sees the move as very positive. ‘’We congratulate Kevin and Rod and we are in no doubt that this additional expertise will be good for Horse of the Year’’.

Through the partnership with Event Pro, Mr Lockwood said one of the advantages for Horse of the Year would be attracting more international riders and spectators.

“The growing market in equine education is a significant part of Equitana and this would also add another dimension to HOY,” he said.

“For us Event Pro’s experience and the respected industry relationships and reputation that Kevin has built will be invaluable. HOY and EQUITANA complement each other very well, as do the event teams we have assembled. Our events showcase the best of the New Zealand and Australian equine industry and we will leverage our combined knowledge to grow international visitation.”

Mr Lockwood and Equitana’s General Manager Marketa Mensikova met with Mr Hansen and Event Pro’s General Manager Andrew Hansen to officially sign the partnership agreement in October.

“We are very excited about the opportunities this joint venture will develop and we want to ensure the equine industry benefits as well,” Mr Lockwood said.

Both Mr Lockwood and Ms Mensikova said they are looking forward to returning to Hawke’s Bay to attend the Farmlands Horse of the Year Show in Hastings in March next year.


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