After six days of prestigious events, world-class competition, and equestrian shopping, the 2018 Land Rover Horse of the Year was reined in yesterday.
Held at Tomoana Hawke's Bay Showgrounds in Hastings, thousands have enjoyed the annual show with about 1350 riders and 1850 horses participating in myriad events since Tuesday.
Horse of the Year event manager Dave Mee said organisers were very pleased with how the event had gone, with "good solid numbers" attending.
Read more: New features set to raise the bar for Hawke's Bay's Horse of the Year
Veteran showjumper Maurice Beatson bounces back from HOY tumble
All hands on deck for Horse of the Year show in Hawke's Bay
Crowds had grown as the week progressed, with the grandstand full for the weekend's main events, he said.
Some alterations to existing events had gone down well- such as having their biggest-ever freestyle field, and holding the cross country in the morning, with new jumps.
"We've seen a little bit of a lifting of the bar in a number of areas," Mr Mee said.
"We've seen a lot more international engagement this year. At last count there were 30 internationals involved in the event, and we've got significant TV coverage - we haven't had that for seven or eight years."
While retailers reported a good show, it had been soured by reports of break-ins to several stalls overnight on Saturday.
One affected stall owner - who did not want himself or his business named - said he arrived yesterday morning to find the stall's drinks fridge mostly emptied, and most the firm's pre-cooked food stolen.
"It really put us behind in the morning. It had been a slow week anyway, so it just added to that," he said. "It's a shame, but a lot of people came by to show their support."
Mr Mee said this was an isolated incident involving two retailers, which security responded to very quickly.
He said he understood the culprits were "kids doing dumb stuff".
"We'll certainly take action against that, it's absolutely unacceptable. We know who it is and we'll certainly follow up with action against them," he said.
"This event relies on everyone behaving themselves and not getting out of control. Even a small group out of 3000, if they get out of control it's got to be stopped straight away."
Yesterday hundreds made the most of their last chance to enjoy a family day out, and witness the last events - rounded out with the grand finale, the Olympic Cup.
Among them were friends and horse riders Kate Nelson and Bayley Coster, who travelled up from the Wairarapa on Friday just for the show.
Ms Coster said she'd enjoyed her first show. Ms Nelson has been coming to the event for about seven years because "it's just such a prestigious show, you get to watch some really good riders, and there's great shopping".
Locals such as Havelock North's Paulina Wilhelm and her two children also enjoyed a day out.
"It's my first time here, but its been a really nice event. I used to ride horses when I was young, and I wanted to show the kids the show jumping, and dressage," she said.
"It's brilliant for Hawke's Bay, just to showcase the area."
Daughter Bianca, 9, said: "I really like horses, and I like that it's a great event for families to go to."
Hastings' Hannah Vercoe, who had been helping at her cousin's stall, said even though she wasn't very interested in horses, "it's been really cool, even for a non-horse person to come to. I've been amazed by some of the events".