Farmlands Horse of the Year preparations on track

By Kaysha Brownlie

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SMC Events manager Dave Mee adjusts Farmlands advertising in the main ring.
SMC Events manager Dave Mee adjusts Farmlands advertising in the main ring.

The finishing touches are underway for the 2016 Farmlands Horse of the Year with competitions set to ride out tomorrow morning.

Owners could be seen leading their horses around Hawke's Bay A&P Showgrounds as competitors flocked from all over New Zealand to settle in for the six-day premier equestrian event.

Event manager David Mee, said about one third of the competitors had already arrived and were settling in with their motor homes and horse floats creating a "mini city".

"We're expecting a great event this year," he said.

Mr Mee said the organisers had been shaping up the grounds for some weeks with crowds numbering around 50,000 expected to attend.

Ticket sales were reportedly up on last year's event with Friday, Saturday and Sunday proving to be popular show days.

A HOY spokeswoman said couple of changes had been made to this year's show, including a colour coded system which organised where different competitors could camp according to the events they were entering.

Another change welcomed by many competitors this year were the freshly mucked out stables.

The spokeswoman said it was the first time in years they had been attended to and riders were "more than pleased".

Emily Hayward-Morgan, 16, had arrived with her parents and three horses just this morning.

They had made the journey from Waikato for what would be her eighth year competing.
Standing with one of her horses, AP Ninja, Emily said she was entering the show jumping as well as the Olympic Cup.

"I'm the youngest to enter the Olympic Cup,' she said.

She would also be riding Yandoo Lady Gold as well as Wasabi throughout the week.

This year's event will see 14 different disciplines staged across the week.

According to figures put out by Farmlands Horse of the Year, the event injects about $12.5 million into the region's economy each year.

This is the 64th year of the premier equestrian event, with Hawke's Bay hosting 21 of those years and organisers promising it would stay in the region for the next 11 years.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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