Lauren Watson has never had anything to do with horses - until now, and she is growing keener by the day to get on one herself.

Second-in-charge to event manager Dave Mee, working for SMC Events, the 28-year-old was thrust into the world of horses when they took on the 2016 Farmlands Horse of the Year.

It was the first year SMC Events had run the six-day premier equestrian event.

Six days immersed in a world of horses had rubbed off on Miss Watson who said she had a newfound passion for riding.


She said she was "really sporty" with surfing, cycling and snowboarding being just a few of the many things she turned a hand to.

Now riding was going to be added to that list.

"When there are so many people getting excited about it and are really passionate you start to get a bit of that too. You really do feed off of that excitement."

She said she first started working with the company eight years ago, "kind of like a minion", and had continued to climb the ladder ever since.

A few changes had been made to this year's event, from a colour-coded system for competitors and parking to the much-needed cleaning out of the stables.

"We've also introduced an inside bar this year which has been really popular."

With 1800 horses competing over the six days, 1400 riders and a support crew of at least two people for each of those riders, it would be hard not to catch onto the HOY frenzy.

She said one of the sponsors had offered a horse up for her to have "a play on" as well as a little lesson or two.

"I'm really enjoying learning, the whole space."