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Woodhill Sands Trust 2021 AGM - Trust Managers Report

Woodhill Sands Trust 2021 AGM - Trust Managers Report

Jenette Bell
/ Categories: News

As a dedicated equestrian venue in the most populous part of the country, Woodhill Sands is able to make a significant contribution to equestrian sports in a number of ways.  These include enabling grassroots participation through to elite level competition, with year round access across all disciplines, in addition to providing a pathway for the development of Officials.

Over the last year, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our ability to run shows.  At the start of the financial year the venue was disrupted by the first major lock down, the season was hindered again in August 2020 and then further in February/March 2021.  Woodhill Sands approached this situation in an innovative and optimistic manner, making sure that we could still deliver the sport in a safe and responsible way.    Angela Nobilo (our Venue Manager) consistently delivers above and beyond to plan and run shows that are valuable and enjoyable for riders and their supporters.  Angela also ensures that we offer extremely well organised events with a friendly, helpful and welcoming environment.  While COVID-19 and the resulting public health restrictions certainly required a lot of creativity, events were able to be delivered, a feat when there were limited options available elsewhere.  This was gratefully received by our riding community.

Woodhill Sands not only offers shows organised by the Trust, but also hosts a wide range of events organised by groups from across the Auckland Region.  In the 2020 calendar year, Woodhill Sands offered 109 events over 123 event days with 7114 horse starts.  This was achieved while will being closed for 12 weeks during the year.  The majority of these shows (92) were provided by Woodhill Sands Trust with the balance of events being organised by local area groups (Waitemata Show Jumping, Show Hunter, Dressage Waitemata and the Waitemata Riding Club).  Waitemata Hunt, local Pony Clubs and the Kumeu District Western Riding Club provided the remainder of events.  Events covered the full spectrum of disciplines with 58 training and grass roots events, 32 Show Jumping (including Show Hunter) shows, 12 Dressage events and 7 Eventing competitions.  We’ve noticed an increase in grass roots participation in both our show hunter and show jumping training days (starting from ground poles and cross bars) and the introduction of regular derby events has received complimentary feedback from our riders.

Woodhill Sands was proud to host the Waitemata Show Jumping World Cup final and the Dressage Waitemata Premier League Championships.

The venue was appreciative of funding support from a variety of sources.  The Trust received funding from both rounds of the Sport NZ Community Resilience Fund.  Funding from the first round enabled the Trust to undertake critical maintenance work to the venues drains, arena levelling, the addition of a pumice parking area to our covered yard paddock, plus all the day to day repairs required at the venue and important operational and administration costs.  The second round of funding again supported operational and administration expenditure and also contributed to funding some of the delivery costs at our events.

A number of maintenance works, undertaken over the winter months, have supported our health and safety efforts.  These, along with ongoing refinements to our incident reporting and work with groups and contractors at the venue, have improved our safety practices.  Ongoing work is planned to upgrade signage and risk management processes.

Woodhill Sands continues to undertake venue improvements.  As a result of a funding grant from NZ Community Trust and support from Waitemata Show Jumping the Trust was able to install a large security gate at its entrance.  Waitemata Show Jumping also supported some of our most urgent tree work and measures to increase the areas of the grass arena warm up.

This year the Trust was also successful in securing a significant pool of funding from Auckland Council for facility upgrades.  This has allowed the venue to complete work to install an automated boom arm gate leading into the parking area.  This addition has been warmly received by our riders.  The funding has also allowed us to complete a large amount of tree work, to ensure the safety of riders and their horses.   Work is now underway on our next projects covering improved irrigation of our sand and grass arena’s which will greatly improve the quality of our jumping surfaces, upgrading our ablutions block to enhance our rider and spectator experience and the sealing of our vehicle entrance.  As we progress these projects we welcome the involvement of local contractors to support venue development projects by tendering for these works.

As always, in addition to these more visible projects there is a huge amount of “behind the scenes” work undertaken by Angela Nobilo and Stu Rogers (our Grounds Person) to keep the venue looking smart and tidy and all our equipment operating smoothly.

Another vitally important part of the Woodhill Sands team are our sponsors.  Woodhill Sands is proud to have long term relationships with many well-known and respected equestrian brands and local businesses.  These key commercial partnerships help us to promote our sport and develop the venue.  We are truly appreciative of the commitment and support of these sponsors to help us achieve our goals.  Woodhill Sands would like to acknowledge the support of our venue sponsors; Veterinary Associates Equine and Farm, Fiber Fresh, GJ Gardner Homes (Rodney West) Prydes Easifeed, Alltech (NZ) Ltd, Pacific Motor Group, Burmester Realty, Outpost Buildings and Saddlery Warehouse.  In addition to our significant venue sponsors the Trust also works with smaller businesses through “supporting local” sponsorships. 

The engagement with our local riding groups and riding community is a vital element at Woodhill Sands and our team continues to strive to keep users of the venue up to date through our social media pages, our new website and newsletters.  The Trust continues to have quarterly User Group meetings and the establishment of the Venue Operations Committee has been an important step towards the inclusion of a wider group of users in the operational management of the venue and maintenance and development at the grounds and of the facilities.

The Woodhill Sands Trust continues to run well attended and successful shows, with a focus on promoting our regular events as well as developing new initiatives to grow participation in the sport.  We would like to thank all of our Trustees, the groups, riders, our sponsors, officials and volunteers, who have supported and attended our events throughout the year. 

"Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei" - "Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain"

This whakataukī is about aiming high or for what is truly valuable, but it's real message is to be persistent and don't let obstacles stop you from reaching your goal.


Jenette Bell

27 July 2021




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