18 Nov 2023

Rare horses relax at show

From Country Life, 1:13 pm on 18 November 2023
Liselle Silver

Liselle Silver Photo: Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

Horse enthusiasts and curious onlookers gathered at the Canterbury A&P Show to witness a spectacular display of rare equine breeds this week.

Among those showcasing their horse was organiser Liselle Silver, a dedicated volunteer and self-proclaimed hippophile.

As a member of the Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand and the founding member of the newly established Rare Horse Society of New Zealand, Silver's commitment to preserving and celebrating these extraordinary horses is evident. 

She said last year's event featured 14 equine breeds, including a charming donkey.

"This year, we have something special lined up. We'll be welcoming the Tennessee Walking Horses, who will grace us with a captivating roping display."

Liselle Silver

Liselle Silver Photo: Cosmo Kentish-Barnes

Among the stars of the exhibition was a majestic Paso Fino, one of only 31 in New Zealand.

"They're known as gaited horses, meaning instead of trotting, they have a unique and smooth alternative gait.

"Riding one of these is a delight; your bum doesn't leave the saddle, no posting required. It's a comfortable experience, and you can ride all day, getting off feeling fresher than when you got on."

Silver described the camaraderie among participants, saying, "We're mostly camping here. Tents, floats tucked in the back of our riding area, and even some brave souls sleeping in the car park.

"It's really fun; we just have a great time. I don't think anyone who was here last year had a bad time."