Solway College will be putting horses and riders through their paces next month, with the launch of a new inter-school dressage competition at the Masterton A&P Showgrounds.
Primary and secondary schools from as far afield as Taranaki and Hawke’s Bay will be joining local equestrian teams to compete in this inaugural event.
Students will also get a chance to try out the new $140,000 all-weather arena at the showgrounds. The impressive facility measures 100m x 75m and has room to accommodate three full-size dressage arenas.
Solway College equestrian committee member Brigid Gray is keen to welcome entrants from all age groups and establish the competition on the equestrian calendar.
There are number of inter-college events around the country, but there are very few opportunities for primary and intermediate students to take part in equestrian events,” she said. “This gives riders a good opportunity to compete against each other at the start of the competition season.
“We’ve had overwhelming support from local businesses and equestrian organisations, especially Wairarapa Dressage and the North Wairarapa Pony Club. They want young riders to be inspired and to get into dressage, so it’s neat that they getting behind us,” Mrs Gray said.
Founded in 1916, Solway College is one of New Zealand’s oldest boarding schools and has a long association with equestrian sports, historically fielding a strong equestrian team. Until 2001, students were able to board at the college and stable their horses at a local farm.
Today the school has a team of six riders and is looking to build on its equestrian heritage.
Earlier this year, the school won the Wairarapa Times-Age Sports College of the Year award and Solway College Principal Elizabeth Rogerson is keen to add equestrian events to the college’s growing list of sporting activities.
“For a small college we punch way above our weight in a variety of sporting codes,” she said.
“We have an equestrian trophy, the Osbourne Trophy, that dates back to 2001 and in recent years it has just gathered dust in our trophy cabinet. It will be good to etch a new name on it in 2014 with the revival of the sport at the school.”
The Solway College Inter-School Dressage Competition takes place on Monday, September 22 and is open to both individuals and teams (combined or composite). Entries close Monday, September 1. For more information please contact Solway College Sports Coordinator Maree Webb at [email protected]