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Up high . . . Cowboy Challenge host Bev Williamson shows off a challenge by standing on her purebred quarter horse Aurum, while Dinero looks on.

A new challenge to test the relationship between a horse and its owner is coming to Eastern Southland for the first time.

The Harper Horse Floats New Zealand Cowboy Challenge Association Points Approved Cowboy Challenge will be hosted in Pukerau next week.

Hosts Bev Williamson and her husband Willy, were rapt to be having the event at their property, in Herron Rd.

“It’s never been here before, so we’re really, really excited about hosting it,” Mrs Williamson said.

The challenge involved competitors completing 13 obstacles with their horses, but there was a catch.

They would go in to the event essentially blind.

“It’s a surprise what the obstacles are.

“They are given a map on the morning to study, and walked around the obstacles with judges, but during the competition they have to do it all from memory.”

Competitors had 45 seconds to complete each obstacle, and an overall time limit for the 13 obstacles was employed, she said.

It was split into four categories, youth, rookie, intermediate and open, and was designed for riders of all disciplines.

“You can be a western saddle, showjumper, dressage .. it’s all about the trust the person has between them and their horse,” she said.

Among the 25 people competing was association president Jo Morgan and an 80-year-old man from the West Coast.

The youngest competitor hailed from Canterbury and was just 6.

The three-day competition involved a “have a go day” on the Friday, before two days of competition.

There are two judges, one from Canterbury and one from Eastern Southland, who would award competition points.

Those points would accumulate with those from other competitions to determine the winner at the end of the season.

The event had received great support from the community, and Mrs Williamson encouraged everyone to view the new challenge.

“It’s a fantastic event and the community can come along and watch and we’ve had lots of great support from Pukerau already.”

The challenge would take place at 164 Herron Rd, Pukerau on January 25-27.

The points competition would take place on January 26-27.

  • The Mataura Licensing Trust funded the event $250.