Hundreds of Horse of the Year spectators have made their own mark on the history of the big event in Hastings in a painting commissioned by promoters and presented to the Showgrounds Hawke's Bay Tomoana hosts.
The first of an expected annual series of paintings connecting the show and the Hawke's Bay region, the 4 metres wide, 2m high artwork was painted square-by-square into a sketch horse show organisers commissioned from Auckland designer and artist Nick Beel.
Horse of the Year Show promotion and marketing executive Lauren Watkins said it became effectively a paint-by-numbers exercise as showgoers added their Resene paint touches over the six days of the event.
Ultimately it met the target of a being a "100 per cent" by-the-people painting to be left with the Hawke's Bay A and P Society as part of the growing legacy of the show, which has now been at the showgrounds for 18 years consecutively since 2001, with a contract in place to keep it there at least another nine years.
The foundation artwork handed-over yesterday depicts the merged scenes of Te Mata Peak and showjumping action, and Ms Watkins said future efforts will show similar connections between the show and its now home-region.
New A and P Society and showgrounds general manager Sally Jackson said sites for the mural-like paintings are yet to be decided, as she was told only on Monday what the horse show organisers planned to do.
She said they will be displayed prominently at the showgrounds which has annual foot traffic of about 240,000 people through its own October A and P Show, which has been a Hawke's Bay institution for over 150 years, the Horse of the Year show, the weekly Farmers Market, and other events.
The society is hoping to build on the inventory of events, with long-term redevelopment of the site planned.