Online entry sees show numbers up

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Andrew Daines, on Spring Panorama, competing in the cross-country event at last year's Horse of the Year Show.
Andrew Daines, on Spring Panorama, competing in the cross-country event at last year's Horse of the Year Show.

Entries have closed for the 2016 Farmlands Horse of the Year Show and numbers are up on last year.

Competition manager Toni O'Kane and her team had a busy start to the week as they collated the 7192 entries that had flooded in.

Horses and riders will come from all over New Zealand to compete at the pinnacle equestrian event which runs from March 1-6 at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds.

Included in those entries are Rio hopefuls Julie Brougham of Palmerston North, who will defend her Dressage Horse of the Year crown with Vom Feinsten, and eventer Clarke Johnstone of Matangi, on Balmoral Sensation, who will depart for the United Kingdom straight after the show.

They will be battling it out for top honours across 14 disciplines, including showjumping, eventing, dressage, show hunter, showing and more.

Back in the line-up with its own section are standardbreds, which have attracted 109 entries.

The mounted games section has attracted riders from Australia and Canada. Showjumping is the biggest discipline with more than 3000 entries.

"It is the first time we have done only online entries and it has gone very well," Ms O'Kane said.

More than 50,000 spectators are expected at the show where many attend as much for the shopping as they do the top-flight equestrian competition.

Work will begin shortly on transforming the showgrounds into a small city.

The Olympic Cup - held on Sunday, March 6 - is the pinnacle event of the show for many, where the Showjumper of the Year will be found, but every title is a tightly-fought battle and very treasured crown.

Saturday is People's Day at the show, when thousands flock to watch the cross country section of the three day event. With acres of grounds, there is plenty of room for everyone to see first-hand the sport New Zealanders have done well at on an international stage.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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