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

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.

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