The Hollies horse around in Dunedin
Thu, 31 Jan 2013 10:48p.m.
By Dave Goosselink
One of Britain’s top classic bands is joining with some of Australasia’s top show jumpers for a unique event in Dunedin.
The Hollies are here on their 50th anniversary tour, and will have a line-up of horses warming up the crowd tomorrow night.
It's a unique venue for an equestrian spectacle - Dunedin's covered Forsyth Barr Stadium preparing to host a line-up of top show jumpers, in a series of competitions to thrill the crowd.
Show jumper Mathew Gilmour is looking forward to it.
“Well hopefully they'll see some talented horses jumping some impressive jumps, and some good riding.”
Some spent the afternoon testing out the venue while it was still empty, practising a ride which is new to all competitors.
“Never in a stadium like this, it's pretty special no matter where you are in the world to be indoors riding on a grass surface,” jumper Samantha McIntosh says.
The horses too may find the surroundings a little different to their usual show jumping grounds.
And riders say some may get a little distracted by the echo of the crowd or the lack of a breeze.
“There may be the odd one that gets a bit star-struck tomorrow night, but there'll be some that rise to the occasion as well,” Ms McIntosh says. “I think most horses actually enjoy a bit of atmosphere."
One of the equestrian highlights will be a special challenge, where the top six horses will try to jump a high wall.
There's $70,000 up for grabs if a rider can pull off the leap, which would break the New Zealand record.
Billy Raymont is hoping to do it.
“It's 2.21 metres so it's a pretty serious fence. Hopefully the horses don't think it's a joke when we starting pointing them at it.”
Tyrone Latham is also keen to try it.
“I think it depends on your horse. But really it's trying to get the horse's confidence and having it really committed with you.”
But the horses aren't the only stars of the "Ride the Rhythm" event.
While they'll entertain the crowd for the afternoon, it's classic Brit-pop group The Hollies who'll be headlining the evening's entertainment.
New Zealand is their first stop in their 50th Anniversary Tour, the band continuing onto Napier, Hamilton, and Auckland over the next few days.
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