Para-Equestrians enjoy the sun at the spring camp at Jamarqui Equestrian, Cambridge.

A Para-Equestrian camp has marked the start of a new era in the sport with the first gathering of its kind in at least 14 years.  Twenty-one people from Auckland to Christchurch took part, including 14 riders and seven without horses, at the two-day clinic hosted at the boutique Jamarqui Equestrian facility in Cambridge.

It was a great opportunity to get the horses out for a pre-season start and see how the winter training had paid off.

ESNZ Sport Manager Para-Equestrian Sam Jones says the atmosphere was fantastic with everyone excited about the future of Para in NZ.

Anthea Dixon gets some feedback from Mura Love and Julie Malcolm.

The weekend included seminars on high performance with Warrick Allan, goal setting with Christine Weal, an introduction to Para competition with Mura Love, classification and compensating aids with Vicky Melville, biomechanics with Julie Malcolm and sports psychology with Rod Corban.

Lessons were also provided by Jody Hartstone and Julie Malcolm, and the riders were given the opportunity to be warmed up by one of the coaches and ride a test in front of Para FEI3* Judge Mura Love and receive feedback.

Louise Duncan heads towards her session at the Para-Equestrian camp.

However, it wasn’t all work, as attendees also enjoyed two social evenings including a lovely BBQ hosted by generous camp sponsors, Jamarqui Equestrian.

Feedback from the participants was glowing:

“Overall a rather exhausting yet exhilarating & inspired weekend. Thank you to Sam and ESNZ for the opportunity. Thank you to the clinicians for the fantastic knowledge. Thank you to Alma & Charlie for the luxury stables, arena, the most glorious accommodations & fantastic BBQ! Thank you to my awesome Para friends for being just awesome.”  Nicola Essex-Wills.

“Thank you so much for the wonderful weekend, it was absolutely fantastic! I learnt so much & really appreciated how much work was involved getting this off the ground, everyone is completely buzzing!!” Louise Duncan.

“A huge thank you for putting a para camp on and it was so good listening to the speakers thanks so much for all your hard work, I feel you have big plans for us and I’m very excited 😆.”  Aimee Prout.

Sam Jones says she is pleased that the Waikato weather played ball (pretty much) for the camp.

“It was great to see so many riders make the trip and see the growing excitement for the future as the weekend progressed. This camp marks the start of our plans to support and grow Para sport both at the grass roots level and for those with international ambitions. It’s so lovely to work with so many talented and dedicated riders,” she says.

Charlotte Hoonhout focuses on her contact with the horse.