After some fast-paced negotiations during the past three months, Horse of the Year (HOY) organisers have announced they have a new naming sponsor for the event — Land Rover.
The event was without a naming sponsor last year after Farmlands decided not to renew its three-year contract.
At the time the HOY board and event managers said they would not replace the major sponsor until they found someone with the right level of commitment, and were pleased to report that, after approaching the company in October, they had found exactly the right fit with Land Rover, event director Dave Mee said.
Since the 1990s the company has sponsored the famous Burghley Horse Trials in England, and more recently the Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event. Those international connections meant there were exciting opportunities for HOY, Mr Mee said.
"Land Rover has been involved with HOY for a long time as the show's vehicle sponsor, and with international equestrian for much longer.
"From their perspective they want to leverage off their international profile and position HOY alongside these other events.
"The eventing discipline will finish on Sunday this year and there are some exciting things in the works for the next few years. We're looking forward to collaborating with Land Rover to take the event to new heights."
Land Rover general manager Stephen Kenchington said HOY was a great fit for the brand.
"Land Rover is the title sponsor of the biggest equestrian events in the world, and we're looking forward to adding HOY to that list.
"We see in HOY an event that shares many of our core values and we've got a great journey ahead of us."
HOY board chairwoman Cynthia Bowers said the board was thrilled to have Land Rover on board.
"We have been anticipating finding the right sponsor and we are really pleased Land Rover has taken up the offer.
"They have exciting plans on how they are going to leverage it for them and likewise make it work for us — this gives further credibility and an important international linkage for HOY."
Mr Mee said Land Rover had committed to three years, with a renewal option, and work with other sponsors was progressing well in the lead-up to the Horse of the Year event at the Hawke's Bay A&P Showgrounds on March 13 to 18.
During the week more than 1500 riders and 1800 horses would compete in 15 different disciplines.