‘Xtreme’ Sports on Show in Land Rover Horse of the Year 6 Year Old Class

12 Mar

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It was a battle of the Xtreme horses in the highly anticipated Six Year Old AM5 Class in the Land Rover Horse of the Year Premier Ring this morning.

Four of the six horses who made it through to the jump off were all bred by Sharlene Workman from Xtreme Sporthorses in Otaki.

Dannevirke farmer and show jumper Logan Massie had two horses in the jump off, Avenger Xtreme who finished third with an unfortunate rail. The other being Carbon Xtreme who had an unfortunate stop in the tricky liverpool wall, a tight corner proving a big ask for the young horses. Eventer Lizzie Green also had a runout at the same tricky jump aboard Corona Xtreme. Last to go was Jamie Tiller aboard Casanova Xtreme, and the pressure was on to beat the first rider Emma Power’s time aboard Mojito GNZ, who set the bar very high with a speedy round.

It was a flawless round by Tiller, who narrowly beat Power with a time of 44.06 seconds.

Cassanova Xtreme, a Holsteiner/Warmblood by Corofino II out of JK Good Looksis owned by Mitch and Kate Plaw of Takapoto Equestrian.

Competing in the six year old series throughout the season, they are currently sitting in second place overall.

“As a six year old, he’s just got stronger and stronger.”

Purchased by Tiller as a three year old, ‘Tommy’ as he is affectionately named has a very special connection with Jamie.

“He is the foal out of Tom Gadsby’s mare, and Tom was my best friend.”

Gadsby, a highly successful show jumper and eventer was sadly killed in a rotational fall in 2013 at a horse trials in Cheshire, Britain.

The pair have had a successful season, recently winning the 6 Year Old Final at Takapoto and Tuesday’s 1.15m Equitation Medal Annex class at Land Rover Horse of the Year.

“We stepped him up to a number of 1.30m rounds this season, and it taught him a lot. The more pressure you put on him the better.”

Jamie thanks mentor Samantha McIntosh and the opportunities to ride quality horses for the improvement in her riding abilities.

“I’ve learnt a lot, I don’t think you can have a better mentor than Sam.”

Jamie decided to pull Cassanova Xtreme out of the 1.25 class.

“I told him if he won this class that was it, and he won the equation yesterday. I think two wins and that’s enough.”

Jamie has decided to take an early break following Land Rover Horse of the Year and instead will head to France for three months to work with Olympic show jumper FrédéricCottier in three weeks time.

“It was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to.”

The annual Land Rover Horse of the Year, held at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay Tomoana (March 10-15) has become not only an equestrian but an entertainment and shopping extravaganza, attracting in excess of 50,000 spectators over the week of competition.

Day 2 Action

12 Mar

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Family pet ‘Spongebob’ was no square when it came to Wednesday’s Wade Equine Coaches Amateur Rider Final 1.10-1.20m, as the 14 year old bay gelding dominated his rivals in the Premier Arena.

Just three of the 29 combinations made it through to the jump off, and Kaleigh Kent riding Double J Sponge Bob Square Pants finished faultlessly with a time of 41.41 seconds.

A fantastic opportunity for the amateur riders to experience the excitement of the Premier Ring at the Land Rover Horse of the Year, the class being held between the highly anticipated Six Year Old and the Norwood Gold Cup.

The ‘Spongebob’ combination finished 5th in the Dr Lewinns Amateur rider Qualifier Horse on Tuesday, and pulled it out the bag in what is the pair’s first Land Rover Horse of the Year title win.

“It’s very exciting, I’m stoked.”

“I’ve always wanted to win one, and this horse, he deserves to win one!” shared an elated Kaleigh.

Joined by her two young children, and mother Robyn Vowles, it is obvious to see how much the loveable gelding means to the family.

“I’m very lucky, my Mum comes to every show. She is my biggest support.”

So what is Spongebob’s final show for the season?  Kent explains it may not be quite time for a holiday yet.

“He might get taken to a mock hunt with the kids, he’s a babysitter.”

Earning himself not only a beautiful garland and rug, Kent explains a trip to Dunstan for his favourite bag of old man pellets will be needed.

“He’s the family pet, he’s very spoilt.” 


It was an early start on Day Two for our pony riders as the first round of the 1.25m Pony Championship got underway in Arena One.

13 year old Katie Readings from Pukekawa was the 12th rider to head out in the field of 42 and her speedy time of 65.89 seconds simply couldn’t be beat.

The plain bay mare Rump Shaker proved to be quite the pocket rocket as the smallest of the final lineup at just 14 hands high.

Having owned the honest little mare for four years, they’ve made the trip to Land Rover Horse of the Year each year – this being Katie’s ninth Horse of the Year so far.

Last year the pair won the 1.05m Championship at the Show, and an emotional Katie explained the win meant a lot for her as the journey to return to jumping again was a long one.

“We’ve brought her back from a fractured knee.”

“It took us six months to bring her back to where she was able to walk, and another six months before I could jump her.”

“In that time she had to be on box rest, and she jumped out of her 1.50m stable.” It was then she knew the little mare was ready to return to jumping.

Chasing the Pony Grand Prix series aboard Rump Shaker throughout the season, Katie narrowly missed the selection for the hotly contested Pony of the Year class.

However, she is looking forward to the second round of the 1.25m Championship as it is a qualifier for the event held later in the week, and the win today gave her the confidence boost needed.

“That was the best round she’s done all season.” 

HORSE 1.35m

Geraldine show jumper Kate Cavanagh took out the day’s first class in the Premier Ring aboard her eight year old Warmblood mare Wallflower.

Winning by a whisker with a time of 69.75 seconds, Kate has owned Wallflower for four years and their goal for the show is to qualify for Friday’s Ultra Mox Lady Rider of the Year.

Cavanagh runs a full-time breaking in yard with her partner Steve Houston who is also her riding coach. “Without him I wouldn’t ride Wallflower like I do.”

Coupe Flies in Norwood Gold Cup Nail-Biter

12 Mar

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The crowd was on the edge of their seats during the highly anticipated Norwood Gold Cup as just four of the 26 combinations went clear in today’s 1.45m class in the Premier Arena at Land Rover Horse of the Year.

With six called back to the jump off, last year’s winner and fastest of the first rounders, Oliver Croucher narrowly missed out with an unfortunate rail giving him four faults.

Edging Croucher out was two-time Lady Rider of the Year title holder Lisa Coupe who was simply two quick once again, her mare Lotte finishing faultlessly in a time of 41.77 seconds.

23 year old student from Whangarei Nakeysha Lammers was cheered over the last fence as she finished a clear jump off aboard her 11 year old Warmblood gelding Resolution. However not quick enough to surpass Coupe’s as she settled for second.

First to go in the jump off was Kimberly Bird from Ashburton who finished third aboard 10 year old Holsteiner mare Cera Cassina.

Coupe and her groom Sarah Murray shared an emotional moment as the final results were called.

“I was so happy with how she went, I didn’t even watch the rest of the rounds.”

Coupe, who is no stranger to being in the ribbons at Land Rover Horse of the Year, was yet to win the Norwood Gold Cup.

“It was one of the elusive ones.”

Lotte, the 8 year old bay Warmblood mare by Corofino IIonly jumped her first 1.35-1.40m at the Brookby Showjumping Summer Show in February.

“This is a huge step up for her.”

Ventures overseas made Coupe unsure if she would return to the Show this year.

“It’s been an up and down year, coming back from overseas. It was unlikely I was going to ride.”

However, the journey overseas to compete in Europe against the best in the world has helped with her state of mind come Show day.

“I’m not feeling nervous, I’m relaxed and not putting pressure on myself.”

Finally earning the Norwood Gold Cup, Coupe is not competing on Lotte for the remainder of the week. She is looking forward to the Ultra Mox Lady Rider of the Year on Thursday aboard pick up ride Cassera MS.

“Anytime you jump in the main arena at Horse of the Year, it’s amazing.”

Horse Power Meets Girl Power at Horse of the Year ‘Women of Inspiration’ Evening

11 Mar

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A star-studded stable of trailblazing New Zealand heroines is set to literally light up Australasia’s largest equestrian showpiece in Hastings tomorrow, the 2020 Land Rover Horse of the Year.

The show – which has kicked off  in Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, has announced a new ‘Women of Inspiration’ evening proudly supported by fragrance house, ECOYA,  and is set to play host to a sizzling line-up of influential Kiwi women.

The 2020 panel includes popular New Zealand media personality, successful author, health and wellness warrior and new Mum, Matilda Green, the first female chairwoman to ‘smash the glass ceiling’ in Super Rugby, Chiefs Chair Tonia Cawood, global-trotting entrepreneur and businesswomen, Katherine Corich and CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust founder, Catriona Williams.

Comedienne, television personality and author Jaquie Brown rounds out the line-up for the highly anticipated event, to be held at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay Tomoana next Thursday 12thof March.

For ECOYA General Manager Claire Barnes, supporting the event seemed a natural partnership for their globally recognized brand.

“We are excited to have signed on as a sponsor at Land Rover Horse Of The Year, it felt like a new and unexpected opportunity for our brand.

“This panel of women have all given back to their own communities in various ways.  In this day and age we need women to inspire other women, raise each other up and be each other’s champions – be it through charitable opportunities, business, sport, television or social media.  This panel of leading ladies will inspire others through their diverse industries and so we’re looking forward to hearing them all share their stories.”

Equestrian is one of the few professional sports offering equal prize money to men and women at the elite level, and events like the ECOYA ‘Women of Inspiration’ evening help to shine the light on successful women in the sport.

Female heroine of the sport and Equestrian New Zealand Hall of Famer Catriona Williams began riding as a four-year-old and became one of New Zealand’s leading international equestrian riders representing New Zealand in both showjumping and eventing.

Following an eventing accident in 2002 that left Catriona a C6/C7 Tetraplegic confined to a wheelchair, she founded the CatWalk Trust to “get wheelies walking again” and has been the driving force behind funding innovative, cutting-edge, world-class spinal cord injury research.

“After my accident I had to come to grips with a new form of mobility and so often through many tears I would say ‘Why me?” or with Sam we would say “Why us?”.  The best thing you can do in life, whether it’s work or play, is surround yourself with positive people, people who believe, support and back you.  With CatWalk, this is what happened.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky. No one wants to hang out with the miserable person in the corner of the room, abled or disabled so back at Burwood…I decided, I did not want to be that person.

“We’ve been incredibly lucky to be supported by an amazing group of people here and around the world who ‘get it’. An SCI could happen to anyone at any time…it was never going to happen to me, but it did.

“The effort I put in to my training is for me but the work we all put into CatWalk is for everyone and the rewards we all get personally are hard to explain. It’s important to note CatWalk is here to make a difference not a donation hence the continuous drive by us all to back the very best cutting edge SCI research we can get our hands on.”

The ECOYA ‘Women of Inspiration’ Evening will raffle off on the night the fragrance house’s most loved products, to help raise money for the CatWalk Trust.

Since winning New Zealand’s first series of The Bachelor and the heart of Art Green, Matilda Green (nee Rice) has made her own strides as a popular published health and wellness author.

She’s revelling the chance to spread some of her own learnings.

“As women, I think it’s so important to lift each other up at every opportunity.  I’m passionate about helping others feel comfortable and happy in their own skin, through a few different approaches and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to spread that message even further.”

Before Matilda became a Mum she penned two best-selling self exploration books for women, but admits giving birth to her son Milo five months ago has  challenged her own tips on maintaining a happy, confident and fulfilled life.

“Being a mum has challenged me in every way possible!  I saw it as the perfect time to practice what I preach.  I’ve spoken previously about working on your self esteem and mindset when things are good, so that you are prepared when you experience challenging times, so I saw being a new mum as one of these times.  Putting my mental health first during motherhood has made me grow as a person, and a mother. I now understand now more than ever the meaning of the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.

Land Rover Horse of the Year General Manager Lauren Watson is looking forward to hosting the panel of ‘Wonder Women’.

“The night isn’t designed just for women, it’s an all-inclusive chance for men and women to come along and hear the stories of some inspirational speakers, there will be canapés and G.H. Mumm champagne flowing and knowing Kerre McIvor our vivacious emcee for the evening, there will be plenty of laughs too!”

Two Hawkes Bay leading ladies, Deputy Hastings Mayor Tania Kerr and Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise are getting behind the evening too.  The duo plan to attend along with a host of other local business leaders, including property manager Annah Kight who is accomodating the panel at Porters Boutique Hotel, in the heart of Havelock North.

Tickets for the ECOYA ‘Women of Inspiration’ Evening are on sale now but will sell out fast.  If you would like to support this empowering event at Land Rover Horse of the Year, please head to www.hoy.kiwi  for tickets.

The annual Land Rover Horse of the Year, held at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay Tomoana (March 10-15) has become not only an equestrian but an entertainment and shopping extravaganza, attracting in excess of 50,000 spectators over the week of competition.

Eventing Hopefuls Set to Saddle Up for Horse of the Year

14 Feb

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Three top Kiwi eventing Olympic hopefuls are set to make their final New Zealand appearance at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show next month before heading to the UK to further their bid for Tokyo.

Equestrian’s pinnacle event in the Hawke’s Bay is likely to also include a swansong New Zealand performance from top Kiwi based event rider Clarke Johnstone.

Johnstone is set to relocate for an “undetermined” stint to the UK just a week after the Horse of the Year, hoping to establish a presence on the international circuit and cement his place on the team named for Tokyo.

Before he leaves he’ll have to battle it out against Havelock North’s Amanda Pottinger, returning to defend and tackle the country’s prestigious 4 Star short eventing competition alongside rising star Maddy Crowe, all vying for Tokyo selection.

The trio will have to prove they’ve got what it takes, to visiting Burghley and Olympic eventing judge Christina Klingspor and Kiwi based Tokyo selector Mitty Forsyth.

Land Rover Horse of the Year General Manager Lauren Watson says the event continues to prove a breeding ground for Olympians.

“We’ve had Sir Mark Todd, Blyth Tait, Jock Paget and the Prices all perform here, and we’re so lucky to have had the talent of Clarke, Maddy and Amanda stay in New Zealand for this long.  This year’s eventing field is truly world class and perhaps one of the last times we’ll see these three battle it out on home soil.

“It’ll be a great contest and a wonderful spectacle to showcase the sport.”

The competition in March is the trio’s last hit-out at home to capture the attention of Olympic selectors before heading to England to compete, followed by the naming of the Kiwi eventing team in June.

With competition tightly contested for Tokyo and only three spots and one reserve up for grabs, Equestrian Sport New Zealand High Performance Director Simon Bennett believes it’s going to be an exciting team selection race.

“Land Rover Horse of the Year is a fantastic platform for our top riders and this year three of our Olympic hopefuls are preparing to springboard from New Zealand’s premier four-star short event to Europe giving spectators a fabulous opportunity see some our best performers in action.”

Olympic Committee rule changes come August mean all scores in the eventing team must count making team medals harder to come by.  However ESNZ’s Simon Bennett isn’t daunted.

“We’re in an exciting phase, we’ve got three riders from New Zealand travelling to join up with Tim and Jonelle Price, among other squad riders in the UK.

“The cool thing is we’ve got a lot of hungry riders with great current form that are really putting their hand up, but with five and a half months still to go until Tokyo and the nature of horses, anything can happen!”

Given recent form – fresh off a win in December at the Puhinui 4 Star, Clarke Johnstone will be launching a last ditch attempt on home soil to qualify his 10 year old gelding Aces High for Tokyo, at the Horse of the Year.

“Balmoral Sensation has already qualified so I might save him the run. Horse of the Year is the best opportunity in New Zealand to get the horses competing in an international style arena, alongside trade stalls and large crowds.

“The course was very good last year and asked some curly questions – I’m looking forward to the challenge.“

Johnstone will need to bring his ‘A’ game, with fellow New Zealand High Futures  Squad member and riding rival Amanda Pottinger nipping at his heels.

28 year old Amanda is looking to become a third generation competitor to don the Silver Fern, following in the footsteps of her late grandmother Tiny White and Olympic medallist mother Tinks Pottinger.

“It’s one thing to get named in the team; its another thing to do well and be competitive.  Making the team is a big goal for me, and a step in the right direction.  I’m an extremely competitive person so I want to be confident that if I’m named in the team I’m also going in as a competitive rider.

“It’s a long way to go between now and Tokyo and chances are slim for me making the top three but in my mind that 4thspot reserve is up for grabs since Toddy has retired…so I’ll be giving it my best shot.”

Clarke Johnstone rides Balmoral Sensation in the CIC3*, Horse of the Year 2018, Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds, Hastings, Saturday, March 17, 2018. Credit: KAMPIC / Kerry Marshall

Land Rover Horse of the Year, held in the Hawke’s Bay (March 10-15) attracts in excess of 50,000 spectators over the week of competition and sees over 1800 horses and riders compete for lucrative titles.

Kampic Photography

Horse of the Year Trade Site Demand Hits Record High!

14 Feb

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A stellar 2019 event for Hawke’s Bay’s Horse of the Year is spurring a record spike in retail fever with demand for the show’s popular trade sites reaching full capacity.

260 retail marquees will make the pilgrimage to Australasia’s biggest equestrian showpiece next March, up 16 percent on earlier this year and 25 percent on 2011.

Land Rover Horse of the Year trade manager Sophie Blake believes the event’s retail boom is proof momentum has kicked into a new gear.

“It’s a retail ripple effect, trade bookings for Horse of the Year 2020 came in fast.  With such an amazing show in 2019 most rebooked straight after the show.  With rider entry numbers up again and the overall atmosphere growing, the word around town is Land Rover Horse of the Year is the show to attend.”

Increasing attendance levels indicate the show is gaining appeal with a wider  audience and not just the equestrian-minded.

“Perceptions are changing – when people think of Horse of the Year, they don’t only think horses and competition, they think shopping and entertainment.   With more trade exhibitors crossing the ditch and the usual favourites, Land Rover Horse of the Year 2020 is shaping up to be one of the biggest trade lists we have seen for some time, so start saving!”

Last March saw Land Rover Horse of the Year deliver its most high profile event yet, featuring international eventing super duo Tim and Jonelle Price and Olympic great Blyth Tait.  Of the 53 thousand plus spectators drawn, over 62 percent of those surveyed, reported shopping as their main reason for attending.

With almost half of those surveyed spending between 5 hundred and 3 thousand dollars, retail at Land Rover Horse of the Year has become a lucrative by-product for the region.

“The nature of this event, the on-ground camping and overall social aspect of the show  makes it a ‘must attend’ especially for serious retailers,” says Sophie.

“You have to be seen to be known.  With online shopping, the buyers want to feel and experience the product to give them the confidence to purchase throughout the year.”

Retailers choosing to exhibit at Land Rover Horse of the Year converge from all over New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa with a number of local Hawke’s Bay businesses represented.

Ms. Blake is keen to highlight the importance of ‘local’.

“We appreciate the support of new businesses who see the value of a major event being held in Hawke’s Bay and are equally happy to help expose them to big and global brands and audiences.”

Hastings saddlery experts Blair and Clare Forbes of Forbes and Co. have enjoyed their ride supporting the event since it came to Hawke’s Bay in 1997.

“It showcases Hawke’s Bay at its very best and brings together so many equestrian disciplines, The atmosphere is electric and the shopping is amazing.

“For local retailers Horse of the Year is a great opportunity to get in behind Hawke’s Bay to help promote an exciting event that brings so many people to our region.”

After two years of successful trading at Land Rover Horse of the Year, new Havelock North fashion brand Fortify Clothing’s director William Atkin agrees, and is looking forward to returning.

“Horse of the Year is a great marketing avenue, we get a far wider audience reach than what we’d get purely from social media platforms.  Aside from that there’s such a huge captive market so we’re simply expanding our customer base which is great.

“Other than Christmas week, this is our best week of trading for the entire year.  If you’re prepared to put money, work and time into producing a really great looking site, it’s a sure-fire success for any business.”

Winning the Most Interactive Site at the show’s Retailer Awards earlier this year goes hand in glove with the company’s ethos.

“Fortify as a company prides itself on old fashioned interaction because just having a great product isn’t enough these days.  People want personality, service and to feel good.”

Dipping their toe in the waters for the first time at Land Rover Horse of the Year next year alongside 29 new retailers will be Spa Pool Specialists, USA brand Hot Spring Spas.

Marketing manager Ben Wilson believes the event is a great fit and looks like a lot of fun.

“We saw Land Rover Horse of the Year as a captive audience with desirable demographics and the event being over a numbers of days is appealing.  Who knows, we may even have a spa set up for riders with weary legs – amongst other interesting activations!”

Land Rover Horse of the Year (March 10-15) has more than doubled in size and scale since moving to Hawke’s Bay – from six disciplines and 800 horses entered in 2001 to more than 1800 horses and 15 disciplines.

Horse of the Year Reins in Record Volume of Hawke’s Bay School Students

13 Feb

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Friday 20th December, 2019

School’s Out But A Record Number ‘Want In’ for Horse of the Year’s School Art Competition 

A record number of Hawke’s Bay school students have been busily brushing up their painting skills working collaboratively on colourful banners in support of Australasia’s largest equestrian showpiece next March.

Fifteen local schools are entered in the 2020 Land Rover Horse of the Year Show’s Resene School Arts Competition, showing that grassroots community uptake in the event is on the rise.

Land Rover Horse of the Year schools programme coordinator Alisha Neilson says actively engaging Hawke’s Bay students in one of the region’s most iconic entertainment events is a key community objective.

“Part of educating youngsters is exposing them to different experiences and in terms of attendance numbers and sporting action, this regionally staged event is the biggest there is.

“Whether the children are ‘horsey’ or not, attending the show’s school open days and banner parade at the Friday Fiesta offers the children a really fun and completely unique experience.

“We all love children’s innate ability to bring ‘colour’ to whatever they do so what could be better than giving them all a paint brush and pots of Resene paints to create their own interpretations of the show.”

The school’s banners will be paraded in front of a capacity crowd at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds and the show’s Friday Night Fiesta on March 13th, with the winner taking home a year’s supply of Resene paints for their school.

For Argyll East Primary School it’s a chance to get their rural name on the ‘map’ and check out what happens behind the scenes of Australasia’s biggest equestrian event.

“Our Farm Club has been participating in the Horse of the Year show’s banner competition for three years now and it’s something our children look forward to and absolutely love!” says Principal Julie Thelwell.

“The students learn leadership and collaboration when creating the banner; they communicate and take turns. These are all the key competencies from the New Zealand curriculum along with school values that we place a lot of emphasis on.”

Ten year old Argyll East student Isla Gregory has put her hand up for the task and enjoyed the teamwork it took to complete.

“It’s a cool experience, being creative and starting something from scratch with our own ideas.  It’s really good working collaboratively to create an art piece together.”

For Visual Arts teacher Manda Dagg from Hastings Intermediate, the idea of a local competition focus at the start of the new school year was appealing.

“There are many talented artists at Hastings Intermediate School and creating a piece that will be showcased at a key local event encourages them to reach their potential.  The kids love Resene’s test pots so having all the resources supplied was a big drawcard.

“Artwork can be very personal but an exercise like this requires our talented artists to work together with a shared vision.   It will be exciting for them to see their finished painting on display in front of large crowds.”

Schools wanting to participate in the Land Rover Horse of the Year’s Resene    School Art Competition, and guided Open Days should contact Alisha Neilson on media@hoy.kiwi

Along with school entries on the rise, rider entries for the region’s show are also up by 50 percent on last event, for this time of year.

Horse of the Year general manager Lauren Watson is heartened by the growth.

“This pinnacle event continues to go from strength to strength and has become a fixture that Hawke’s Bay can really hang its hat on.  Yes, it’s an equestrian showpiece but it’s become a bona-fide entertainment platform to really showcase what the region has to offer.”

Land Rover Horse of the Year 2020 is held at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds on March 10-15 and attracts over 1400 riders, 1800 horses and in excess of 50 thousand spectators.