I spent the spring semester of 2010 studying in New Zealand through the ISEP program. I used this blog to keep an account of my school experience and as a record of the adventures I found. Hopefully it can serve two purposes: to have kept my friends and family informed of my travels and experiences; as well as to serve as a reminder of how important the study abroad experience is, whether it's in New Zealand or not.

21 March 2010

Horse of the Year

Horse of the Year is a major event, attracting spectators and riders from around the world. Three of us broke from our studies to spend the day in Hastings and watch horses. The one in the first picture was an extremely well trained stallion performing with rider in the Dressage ring. We woke up to a rainy, gray, quite cold day, so we grabbed everything warm we could to layer on once we got there and drive out by 7:30. However, as we drove the sun started to peek its way out in the distance. By the time we got out of the car at the showgrounds it was positively sweltering. We walked around the booths for a while, looking at all the horse equipment you could buy, should you be so lucky as to own a horse. We then went around to all the trailers to try to look at the various horses those lucky people do own. Eventually we made it to the main show ring to watch show jumping from the stands where we could sit in the shade and drink our smoothies. This was just after I learned that here a milk shake is just that, a milk shake. If you want ice cream in it you have to order a thick shake. Something the place we were buying from didn't have. Very saddening. We then moved on to find the Clydesdale, but were sidetracked by tiny things. Tiny people on tiny horses. And tiny horses pulling a tiny cart. There were even two tiny horses pulling a tiny cart together. We had missed the Clydesdale contests, but we got to see a beautiful one anyway. One day I want one to use for something on my farm, I just don't know what yet. After that we returned the show jumping ring to see the older competitors of a higher class compete on some pretty impressively high jumps. This time we watched from just at the side of the ring to get a closer up view of the jumps. We recruited a friend of Sandy's that we found to take a picture of us. It was then apparent what Americans we were, as Kiwis apparently don't do that type of thing so much. We stopped by the showjumping pony warm up ring on our way to see the show hunter competition. Sandy used to do show hunter riding back in the states. Unlike showjumping, show hunter isn't based on time. All you have to do is make sure that you don't knock over the jumps, go out of order, and everything else is based on style. We stopped for dinner in the main part of Hastings. We shared some amazing cheesy garlic bread and potato wedges with bacon and sour cream. Sandy and I split a bacon, cheese burger. Super full and happy, we headed home into a magnificent sunset.

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