The Wairoa A&P Show kicked off yesterday with "off the planet" entries in its equestrian events - all attracted to the show's rural charm and friendly nature of the people.

Local girl Lauren Knauf summed up the spirit and appeal of the Wairoa show.

Just back from studying at Lincoln University, the 19 year-old is back for the summer. She is working at the family farm and going all out for the show weekend.

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"There's quite a lot to do at the local show. I'm riding one young horse in the dressage today, and riding a steer tomorrow night at the rodeo. Then I'm stock judging, and I'll go to the shearing on Saturday - I'll give that a crack too.

"I love riding, the rodeo is just for fun."

The agricultural science student could not remember ever missing her local A&P show.

"I wouldn't miss it. It's good because it's quite small but that means there's lots to do."

Wairoa A and P Show equestrian secretary Merryn Maxwell said she was thrilled with the number of entries for the equestrian events, which started yesterday with the dressage.

"Entries are off the planet, we've had to turn people away. We're absolutely chocka here, we have about 25 horse down at the racecourse so we're going to have some pretty big days."

Ian McMillan, from Gisborne, was at the showgrounds watching his daughter Kimberley take part in the dressage competition.

"This is only our second Wairoa show, we're here until late Friday. It's a great show, it's well run and they are lovely people. Everyone is having such a great time and the grounds look great."

Yesterday's dressage ended with a first place for Hawke's Bay rider Christine Buchanan on Fantano, with Gisborne's Nicky Sunley taking runner-up on Laila Dawn, ahead of third place Nicky Hansen, from Napier, on Ngahiwi Indoctriss.

For the third year in a row, the equestrian side of the show has an international flavour, with Australian course designer John Vallance back again to design the show-jumping course.

"They asked me to come, so I came", he said.

"It's a lovely show. It's about friendly people and good sports. The organisers are always making improvements and it's nice to come and meet up with people I only see once a year."

Show jumping takes place today.

"The designs are different every time, and this show - because it's almost the start of a new season -I have to be aware that they haven't been doing a big, long run, so just to ease them into it.

"The pleasant thing is entries are up on previous years, which is great testament to the organising committee - they are attracting more and more riders to the show."

TODAY'S EVENTS:
Showjumping ( from 8am), Showing Hacks and Ponies (8am), Show Hunter (8am), Local Rodeo (5pm), Speed Shearing (7pm), Home Industries viewing, Dog Trails (1pm), Youth Stock Judging (3.30pm), Inflatable Madness (pm) and Event Fun (pm).