In the wake of the biggest NRM Horse of the Year show yet, event director Kevin Hansen promised to "come back with a bang" in 2015.
The show had "well exceeded" last years' figure of 74,000 attendees, Mr Hansen said.
"Our aim is to make the show truly international. We don't want to be just the biggest show in Australasia; we want to be the biggest show in the world."
Highlights of this year's show included the Cross Country event on Saturday. Mr Hansen described the Showgrounds Hawke's Bay's unprecedented hosting of the Cross Country course as "a logistical nightmare."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"I was very proud that it happened. People said we couldn't do it, but we did." More than 19,000 spectators gathered around the course, which wound around the showgrounds, through the Land Rover Marquee, the Premier Arena, and the picturesque Waikoko Lake. The Cross Country would stay at the Hawke's Bay Show Grounds, Mr Hansen said.
Mr Hansen was especially excited to host world-ranked Belgian Champion Philippe Le Jeune, who has expressed a desire to return in 2015. A 23-weeks-pregnant Katie McVean, considered by many the golden girl of New Zealand showjumping, beat Le Jeune to win the JB Olympic cup for the fifth time on Sunday afternoon.
The cancellation of a preamble to this year's show, the Full Throttle competition, due to adverse weather conditions, had sparked fears that the event would be imitated overseas before Horse of the Year 2015. The brainchild of Mr Hansen and son Andrew would have seen New Zealand and Australian riders face off at Church Road Winery in a wholly original speed and power competition. Tipped by Mr Hansen to "revolutionise the sport", Full Throttle had been likened to other abbreviated sporting codes such as sevens rugby.
"I think some cheeky Aussies are looking at the concept right as we speak. But watch out, 2015. We're coming with a bang if we can keep the Aussies tied to the ground and not let them get away with it," Mr Hansen said.
The organisation of a vast and hiccup-free show has left himdeserving of rest. "I fight fires for 6 days. At times you wonder how you're going to see the day through, but looking back, they're all small things."
Police were urging traffic to be extra careful yesterday as 700 horse trucks vacated the show grounds. SH5 and SH2 North and South of Hawke's Bay were congested with horse traffic in the afternoon. A crash involving a car and a horse truck occurred on SH5, 20 minutes from Napier. The crash left one man trapped in his car before he was rescued by ambulance and fire service staff. The man sustained minor injuries.