Equitana...You Never Forget the Magic!

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The 1999 Equitana official program. The 1999 Equitana official program.
Equitana 2013 is being held at Sydney Showgrounds from November 7-10. This year marks the tenth time Equitana has been held in Australia...and it remains as popular as ever!

The first Equitana in the world was staged in Germany in 1972 and such was its popularity it was held bi-annually in Essen. It expanded to other countries, including Equitana USA, held in Kentucky in 1996, where it has become an annual event.

Equitana Asia Pacific (as it was first known in Australia) was held from November 18-21, 1999 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, with four days of equestrian competition held at the National Equestrian Centre in Werribee on November 12-14.

The first Equitana featured 'The Mane Event', an evening spectacular held in a 5,000 seat stadium erected at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. A feature of any Equitana are the local and international stars, and the 1999 guests included Pat Parelli (who is also a feature at Equitana Sydney 2013); GaWaNi Pony Boy, Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls trick riders, dressage rider Kyra Kyrklund, Steve Brady and more.

Jose Mendez performing during Jose Mendez performing during 'The Mane Event'.

The first Equitana Asia Pacific was an immediate hit, with horse-lovers from across Australia flying in to attend. It was developed into a bi-annual event, with the second Equitana Asia Pacific again held at the Exhibition Centre in 2001 and 2003 with both events packed to capacity for the exhibition, clinics and Mane Event shows (and picking up a prize at the 2004 Victorian Tourism Awards).

In 2002, Equitana was held at the RNA Showgrounds in Brisbane with two days of equestrian competition, then moving to the Brisbane Convention Centre for the exhibition. It was here the world's first indoor cross country event was held, featuring Olympic gold medallists Matt and Heath Ryan. Another feature of Equitana Brisbane was Monty Roberts, giving his only Australian clinic.

By 2005 the event was again held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Guest presenters included dressage champion Anky van Grunsven, US eventers David and Karen O'Connor, Uwe Spenlen, Vaughn Jefferys, Guy McLean, Greg Powell and a host of others. The first 'The Way of the Horse' event was held with trainers Guy McLean, David Simons and Janette Wilson each working with unbroken horses for two and a half hours. Guy McLean was the eventual winner of this inaugural event.

Equitana was due to be held in 2007 but was postponed to 2008 due to the outbreak of Equine Influenza in Australia. It was back bigger than ever in 2008, having outgrown the old venue and moving to Melbourne Showgrounds, which had undergone some improvements to include a Grand Pavillion (which was transformed into a 4,500 seat equine theatre) and the Epsom Pavillion, one of the main exhibition areas. Guests that year included Andreas Helgstrand, and Pat and Linda Parelli, along with Australian riders Clayton Fredericks, Brett Parbery and Guy McLean.

The 2010 Melbourne Equiana proved popular as ever, despite nay-sayers declaring it had run its course! Queues formed at the gates each morning to enjoy exhibition shopping, the innovative Breed Village, plus elite riders Steffen Peters (dressage) and William Fox-Pitt (eventing) taking part in an All Star Showcase.

For the first time, two hour Equitana Melbourne special was aired on digital TV.

In 2011 it was Sydney's turn to host Equitana, held at Sydney Showgrounds. The first Equestrian Grand Final took place for dressage, eventing and showjumping and proved a huge success. Crowd favourite Greg Powell won The Way of the Horse, while guests Edward Gal, Hans Peter Minterhoud, reining star Stacy Westfall and Boy Excell were popular presenters.

2012 Equitana guest, Mary King comments on the Eventing Grand Final course. 2012 Equitana guest, Mary King comments on the Eventing Grand Final course.

It was back to Melbourne for the 2012 Equitana and crowds once again queued well before the gates opened each morning. Guests were Mary King, Kyra Kirklund and Ali Al Ameri. It was standing room only watching the second phase of the Eventing Grand Final, won by Shane Rose and II Vici.

Equitana boasts four key elements of:

• Exhibition–great for bargain shopping and discovering new products

• Education–including free demonstrations from equestrian experts covering a huge range of topics

• Competition–dressage, eventing, showjumping, cutting, reining and barrel racing

• Entertainment–each evening features entertainment in purpose-built arenas If you haven't been to Equitana yet...what are you waiting for! This year's Equitana Sydney features London Olympic silver individual and team gold dressage medallist, Carl Hester.

Visit www.equitana.com.au for more information and to purchase tickets.

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