Safety first for eventing

11 Mar

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Categories: March 2017

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Safety of horses and riders is the paramount concern for eventing convenor Erika Herries and her team of volunteers, who were on standby for the eventing competition this morning.

The conditions forced the cancellation of the cross country phase of the eventing. It was hoped the competition might have been able to take place on Sunday, but the sodden grounds and forecast for more rain was ultimately against organisers – the first time the competition has had to be cancelled.

Erika says the health and safety of both horses and riders is the most important factor. “We need to provide a safe venue and course.”

She had 40 fence judges lined up for the cross country phase of the eventing competition, mostly locals, but some from further afield, ready and waiting this morning with their raincoats.

Rain on day five of Horse of the Year 2017, Hawkes Bay A&P Showgrounds, Hastings, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Credit: KAMPIC / Kerry Marshall

“We break the course down into sectors and each one has stewards, technical delegates, a vet and medics, so it is easy to access each section of the course.”

She estimated about 100 people would have been on course helping in some capacity.

“The feedback is that they understand the situation, especially as many of them are horse people. They are sad it couldn’t happen but they know a call had to be made, and are pleased the call was made.

“It’s not an easy decision but it was the right thing to do. We have to treat our riders with respect, they are a huge part of what we do and we want them to return to our event,” she says.

“I want to thank everyone, all those people who make our event happen every year – without them the show couldn’t go on. We will be back next year and I’m already thinking about a contingency plan in case this happens again.”

The event has never been cancelled before, and she hopes it won’t have to happen again, but you can’t control Mother Nature.

“We control what we can control, and that’s looking after people.”



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