It’s time to swap those COVID masks for masquerade masks and dance the night away for a very good cause.

To be held in conjunction with the Showjumping Waikato Premier Jumping Show this weekend at Takapoto Estate, the St Peter’s Equestrian Academy is gearing up for its Masquerade Ball on Saturday (October 31) at The Boathouse at Takapoto Estate. The academy is raising money for its Equine Assisted Learning for At Risk Kids Programme as well as some new equipment for the academy.

“When we lived in Singapore, my wife was involved with Equal Ark, a charity that was set up to help at risk kids,” said Peter Hammond, director of the St Peter’s Equestrian Academy. “She saw how working with horses had a such positive effect on these kids who often came from broken and sometimes abusive homes.”

Equine therapy has been proven to develop social-emotional skills, confidence, resilience, empathy and much more within disadvantaged youths. “The students at St Peter’s come from fairly privileged backgrounds and they wanted to give back to the community, so we thought that setting up a similar programme at the academy would be a good opportunity for the students to do just that.”

St Peter’s students not only work with these children around horses, but also spend time during the year raising money to pay for riding lessons for the recipients. At the ball, the target is to raise $17,500 for the programme, as well as raise money to replace jumping and dressage equipment for the Equestrian Academy, which is heavily used during the 30 community practice days and six inter-school competitions each year. The black-tie masquerade-themed evening will feature fire dancers, stilt walkers, an illusionist, and one of the Waikato’s best DJs.

There have been a number of extremely generous donations for the evening’s live auction including a selection of service fees to jumping stallions Kannan, Casall, Million Dollar BWP, Unlimited, Carrera VDL, Quintero La Silla and Grafenstolz, as well as dressage stallions HP Fresco, JHT Anatomy and JHT Chemistry, thanks to Hollywood Performance Horses, Holsteiner Verband Australia & New Zealand, The Stallion Company, CryNZ and EquiBreed NZ.

Other highly sought-after items include a six-night/seven-day stay on the Fiordland Jewel, courtesy of Kate Rollason and Rob Swale of Fiordland Discovery; a helicopter experience for five to Waiheke Island’s Man O’ War Winery for lunch and drinks courtesy of Jonny Schick; a seven-night stay in a two-bedroom suite at the Oaks Shores in Queenstown from Fiona and Peter Hammond, and a stunning stirrup pendant necklace from the Cambridge Collection. There are also numerous fantastic silent auctions items on offer, with bidding sheets in place on the night.

“We thought it would be difficult to get donations after everybody going through such a tough time with COVID,” said Peter, “but everyone has been fantastic and we have over $60,000 worth of auctions items. We are so grateful for the support. I think after COVID, people just want to let their hair down and have a good time while supporting a very special cause”

 “We would really like to thank the Plaw family who stepped up and offered their stunning venue for the Masquerade Ball.  

Tickets are $106 and are available through Eventfinda:  

The auction items can all be viewed in an album on the St Peter’s Equestrian Facebook page: