The highlights of Farmlands Horse of the Year ventured into the central city this afternoon, with equestrian delights showcased in Hastings' Civic Square.

Music from Headlock, and Mia Sohnge filled the air as families enjoyed face painting, a bouncy castle, and a chance to get up close and personal with some petting horses.

Events manager Dave Mee said HOY in the City was a pre-event promotion to give people a taste of what was on offer at next weeks event.

Still two days away from the event, Mr Mee said the public response so far had been fantastic.
After speeches from Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule and deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers, the action started at 3pm.


The square was transformed into an arena, with children peering through a fenced off enclosure to watch the performances.

A presentation from the Leg Up Trust, who use horses to help at risk youth, was followed by a procession of miniatures, and a showcase by the Mounted Games Team.

The crowd cheered as Tumanako "Tui" Teka brought his horse Kingston into the arena. Although Kingston had been a wild colt 26 months ago, he been tamed and trained, and was now able to sit, lie down, and twirl at Mr Teka's command.

To show the trust between horse and rider, Mr Teka was able to crack a whip above Kingston's head without him flinching, and had even trained the horse to sit on a couch.

As the last act, free riders Alycia Burton on Goldrush, and Talia Allison on Mustang Shelby gave the crowd something to remember as they performed tricks while riding bareback .

Having arrived in Hastings yesterday afternoon the horses were a little tired, but they still wowed the crowd by leaping over a jump, and a couch without displacing their riders.

Tineka Ferguson brought her four-year-old son Jamie to get up close with the animals.
"He's loving it', she said.

"We came to find out about the other events on, and I'm really impressed with the whole event so far."