This year's Farmlands Horse of the Year made a financial loss, HOY chairwoman Cynthia Bowers says.

However, Ms Bowers would not disclose the extent of that loss.

A few changes were made to this year's week-long premier equestrian event, including new event management company SMC Events taking over from previous event manager Kevin Hansen. The stables were also mucked out for the first time in years and while it was well received by the riders it had racked up a hefty bill.

HOY will make a public submission at next Thursday's council meeting as part of their annual plan and will present an audited financial statement by August 31.


Ms Bowers said she had not yet reported its magnitude to other shareholders, Show Jumping Hawke's Bay (Incorporated) and Equestrian Sports New Zealand Incorporated and would not reveal more until public submissions were made next week.

The chairwoman said the show's cost was higher than envisaged but she was satisfied there was a good future show model.

Ratepayer activist Jessica Maxwell claimed various sources told her it was a six-figure deficit.

Ms Bowers said: "Apart from the fact that we have made a loss and that is disappointing, the show is really well placed for the future," Mrs Bowers said.

Ms Maxwell penned a letter to Lawrence Yule and councillors demanding clarification of the loss and unpaid bill she had heard A&P Society and HOY were now facing.

She said she was not accusing anyone, simply wanted clarification.

Ms Bowers said how to pay the bill for mucking out the stables was "a conversation between HOY and A&P Society".

Ms Maxwell raised questions over the future of main sponsorship being in jeopardy which Ms Bowers clarified by saying several sponsorship contracts had ended, including Farmlands, which had the naming rights for the past three years. These contracts were being renegotiated.

"My understanding is they are happy to be involved. I'm pretty confident that most of them will be renewed."

Ms Maxwell was still upset Mr Hansen was replaced by SMC Events and said it was sad Ms Bowers had to "fix something that wasn't broken".

Mr Yule said it wasn't good that the show made a loss. "But, in reality, it was difficult for these types of events to make a profit and a main priority was to minimise cost." He added they were hugely reliant on gaming trust money which was declining, adding more pressure.

In previous years, the council injected $35,000 into the event, this year they upped that to $75,000. Mr Yule said the show had previously fluctuated between making losses and profits and it was not attributable to management.

Ms Bowers said she hoped the community continued to support the event which brought $12 million into the local economy.

The mayor agreed and questioned whether ratepayers were putting enough into it.

"Everybody's just got to work together to make it succeed."

SMC Events could not be reached for comment.