Editorial: Horse of the Year stays here

By Mark Story

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If you've noticed a Rover insurgence on the Heretaunga Plains these past few days - you're not wrong.

Like Girl Guide biscuits, the machines roll into Hastings this time of year with horse floats in tow and much anticipation.

Come autumn, Hawke's Bay Showgrounds' pastoral disposition defers to the higher-brow pursuit of equine excellence courtesy the Horse of the Year Show. Being somewhat apathetic to this sport, I'm not exactly at home with the show, which began officially yesterday.

Maybe it's because I'm not availed of the Aertex heritage. Maybe it's because I'm terrified of this smelly, half-tonne mass of muscle boasting a kick that could shunt a train. Or maybe it's because I consider the horse form infinitely more beautiful riderless.

However, I'd be a fool to look a gift horse in the mouth.

I've heard it whispered that other regions, Christchurch among them, have offered huge money to export the event from Hastings. It's a credit to organisers, in particular Kevin Hansen, sponsors and local authorities, who have all ensured the feted event stays in our back paddock.

Surprising as it may seem, I do take unreserved pleasure in watching showjumping. The discipline has it all - courage, faith, strength and grace. Like puppetry, reins take the place of strings under the cool directorship of the rider. The thundering soundtrack peppered with silence as both go vertical.

But the real beauty comes at the end of a clear round where, amid applause and awe, the rider pats said steed, leans forward and whispers something we'll never be privy to.

While I've never owned an Aertex shirt, I'm inclined to think that's rather splendid.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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