Rodney Times : January 5th 2016
Matakana bike trail –P6 Rodney Times Tuesday, January 5, 2016 YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER ‘‘It’s such a cool feeling. It’s not like a boat because you can feel the horse moving. ’’ Shelby Cooper Owen Chapman Carnival – P20 Shelby Cooper, right, says equiboarding has proven popular with Camp America youth already. Equiboarding intosummer ERICA DONALD When Shelby Cooper goes wakeboarding she uses real horsepower. Instead of a boat, the Coatesville resident enlists the help of her ex-racehorse Wilson. It’s a sport she has dubbed ‘equiboarding’ and Cooper thinks she and her cousin were among the first in New Zealand to try it. ‘‘We saw it on YouTube and thought ‘we could do that,’’’ Cooper says. The pair use a kiteboard instead of a wakeboard as it means their feet can come out easily in the shallow water. It takes a lot of preparation to equiboard, but the experience is unlike anything else, she says. ‘‘You need the right equip- ment. We have a harness used for pulling carriages. ‘‘You have to get the horse used to the equipment and having a rope behind them, then the feeling of it pulling.’’ Unlike wakeboarding, where the boat pulls you up, the boarder needs to get on their feet just as the horse takes off. ‘‘You can’t make the horse do all the work,’’ Cooper says. It’s such a cool feeling. It’s not like a boat because you can feel the horse moving. ‘‘The horse really enjoys it too.’’ The boarder needs to move across quickly at the start so the rope isn’t directly behind the horse or pressing against the rider’s leg, and remain parallel so there is less pressure. A carabiner is also used so the rope can be easily detached as needed. ‘‘It is a process,’’ Cooper says. ‘‘There are so many components you’ve got to be aware of.’’ The experience helped Cooper get a summer job at Robin Hood camp in Maine, USA, through Camp America last year. ‘‘They saw my videos of it and wanted to have it at their camp,’’ she says. The campers were put on an inflatable sea biscuit with some of the more experienced wakeboarders getting a chance to experience equiboarding. ‘‘I had one girl tell me I made her dreams come true.’’ ❚ Search ‘Camp America NZ Equiboard Training’ on YouTube.com to watch a video.
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