Gearing up for record showjumping competition

Covid-19 ruled out crowds at this year’s Southern Canterbury A&P Show, but entry numbers have reached record levels.
The 2021 show gets under way today,  events starting at 8.30am, and finishes tomorrow.

The show goes on ...  Setting up for tomorrow’s showjumping are (from left) Southern Canterbury A...
The show goes on ... Setting up for tomorrow’s showjumping are (from left) Southern Canterbury A&P Association manager Reto Oswald and Dan (in tractor) and David Studholme. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN
Southern Canterbury A&P Association manager Reto Oswald said while other shows around the country were cancelling, the committee had decided to go ahead with the annual Waimate event, without spectators.
Covid-19 restrictions added cost and effort, but the response from competitors made it worthwhile and the committee was thrilled to receive record numbers of equestrian entries.
‘‘People are really happy,’’ Mr Oswald said.
Across the equestrian events, there are 350 entries,  compared with last year’s 120. Competitors were travelling from as far as Blenheim and Invercargill to compete.
Committee member Tim Douglass said the recent cancellation of the Marlborough A&P Show and New Zealand Agricultural Show in Christchurch had contributed to   record entry numbers.
‘‘So the best showjumpers in the South Island will be here this weekend,’’ Mr Douglass said.
Waimate was well-positioned in the middle of the South Island, and the association saw an opportunity to become a hub for equestrian, Mr Oswald said.
‘‘We’ve found a market, and so the showgrounds now are really geared up for horses.’’
The Southern Canterbury A&P Association was undertaking a major renovation of its stables and had long-term plans for a multipurpose indoor sports and events facility, which could be used for equestrian events.
This year’s A&P show  also  included dog trials and a wool section. Interest in the wool section was high, with about three times as many entries as last year.
Most people kindly donated their wool to the association, which was a welcome source of income to cover any losses this year, Mr Oswald said.
Without gate sales and trade space, Mr Oswald hoped the show would not run at a loss.
‘‘If we break even, we’re very happy — that’s all the committee wants,’’ he said.


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