9 Nov 2022

Focus switches from racehorses to farm breeds as A & P Show opens

8:55 am on 9 November 2022

Clydesdales are among the horse breeds at this year's New Zealand Agricultural Show in Christchurch. File pic Photo:

Animals ranging from the traditional horses to pet rats will be in the spotlight when the New Zealand Agricultural Show opens its gates today for the first time in three years.

The show hasn't been held for the last two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following on from a successful New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway yesterday, farmers are raring to go this morning for the return of the show in Christchurch.

The show is among the main attractions for the city's Cup and Show Week which is expected to draw 150,000 people.

Hundreds of animals will be on display between today and Friday, and massive crowds are expected with free entry for under-18s for the first time.

Equestrian events will be centre stage.

Lex Peddie, who's overseeing the equestrian events at the show, said people were up at 4am washing horses, plaiting their tails and sprucing them up so they would be looking their best for the showring.

Clydesdales had been brought in from Erewhon Station in the high country, showjumping will be taking place all day with some hunter horses having jumping rounds at midday.

"We've got a fair bit on really."

The young horses from around the South Island - yearlings and two-year-olds - will be put through their paces early in the day with temperament being among qualities being judged.

Peddie, a former showjumper, a hunt club member and an international course designer, will not have time to show his riding skills.

"Unfortunately, I'm flat out organising and keeping everyone in tow and making sure everyone's on time."

The most popular attraction for those with children is the farmyard.

Organiser Richard Perkins said they had been on site since Sunday and everything had clicked into gear.

New born lambs

Photo: Rudolph van Zuydam

Show Day on Friday which is a public holiday for Christchurch people will bring "unbelievable" crowds to the show, Perkins predicted.

In the farmyard visitors would see guinea pigs, goats, lambs, pigs, rabbits and rats.

Rats had already proved a surprising hit.

"We had them three years ago and the volunteers were walking round with them on their shoulders. It's quite an attraction really."

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