Having A Field Day—The New Zealand A & P Show

AP_iPalpacas

Farming as a good day out? It can be some of the best entertainment in New Zealand. NZ remains a largely agricultural society and A &P shows (agriculture and pastoral shows) play an important part in the cultural fabric—especially rural towns and cities.

The shows, beginning in spring and running through autumn, provide a chance for farmers, orchardists, gardeners, cooks and random enthusiasts to show-case their animals, produce and interests. They are also home to intense competition—whether it be sheepdog trials, show jumping, or Scottish Country dancing. Shot with both iPhone and camera (film and digital), these are our favourite shots from hot competition in the farm paddocks at Rotorua and Helensville. Please click on the galleries to take your own tour through the show.

Kiwis are renowned equestrians, particularly for Eventing and Show Jumping—two English disciplines. As an American watching the Kiwi equestrian competitions, I was happy to see an enthusiasm for the American Quarter Horses and Western (Cowboy – style) riding—along with a full-on embrace of hats and outfits. But how can you not love the gentle giant Clydesdales or the extreme miniature ponies?

My kingdom for a horse (or a mini pony):

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We have to admit to being partial to the sheepdog trials. In New Zealand, where sheep outnumber citizens seven to one, sheep dogs are prized and dog trials are hot competition. Dogs are bred to be either Huntaways and Headers which basically describe their herding tasks. Huntaways are vocal dogs with a loud bark that will chase the sheep away, the Headers bring the sheep back. The Headers, or “Eye Dog” go to the head of the sheep and turn them by giving them a good strong stare. The  keen eye contact notifies the sheep that it is not supposed to run for its freedom. With a stare, a sheep will stop its movement and hurry back to the pack.

One man and his dog(s):

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Up and coming junior competitors (with some teenage texting):

Parting shots:

Lastly a salute to the NZ Cancer Society and their efforts to raise skin cancer awareness and offer up free sunscreen:

AP_sunscreen

Hankering for a bit more of NZ life? Try:

Life’s A Bach – The NZ Beach House

Walking and Wining – Tip of the South Island

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