The premier equestrian event will not be changed by new organisers but built upon, they say.

At a launch last night hosted at Trinity Hill, new events director David Mee told the crowd about the new innovations, and experience they will enjoy at the 2016 Farmlands Horse of the Year Show.

The SMC Events team is "not an equestrian team, not an events team" but a merger of the two and it had been working for the past nine months to improve the show.

"There were some teething months as we went through understanding how things were done differently in the past," Mr Mee said.


"We don't want to change those things, we want to build on them."

Mr Mee said he and his team did not want to lose sight of what made HoY the premier equestrian experience.

Organisers said the showgrounds would become a small city as thousands of riders and their support crews "pack in" for the competition.

The event brings about $12.5 million to the Hawke's Bay economy and has garnered praise from top equestrians all over the world. Mr Mee said they would also address the "public imbalance" with what the public wanted to see.

There would be a wine village in Trinity Hill, and a cafe bar where people could access both arenas.

"There'll be a bit of everything for everyone, but it is still an equestrian competition," he said.

The new team had also improved practical and fundamental elements of the show. This year would feature a fully online system, which would cut down waiting times.

They had also made improvements to structural elements as "the most important thing is for equestrians to have a good experience when they arrive at the show".

About 1800 horses and 1300 riders will be taking in the week-long show, competing in 14 disciplines.

Hastings District Council deputy mayor and HoY board chairwoman Cynthia Bowers said she was excited to see the changes, and the response from those involved in the show.

"David's previous event management experience shows a focus on making sure people are looked after well... he and his team know what they're doing."

She said there had been challenges in the lead-up to the show, now just three weeks away. "Now it's a matter of getting ready, making it all happen and then getting prepared for next year."

The Farmlands Horse of the Year show is at Hawke's Bay Showgrounds, March 1 to 6. Tickets from