Behind every big event there's an army of volunteers and Land Rover Horse of the Year held at Showgrounds Hawke's Bay Tomoana in Hastings attracts a swarm of special helpers from all corners of the country, every year.
Maree Scott has made the two-day pilgrimage with her husband from Otago for the Mounted Games Nationals. They've arrived not only to watch their son compete but to muck in with the plethora of jobs that come with camping onsite with horses for the week.
Scott has been volunteering at Horse of the Year for eight years, helping with all manner of tasks from assistant refereeing, to bringing gear for the riders, to handing out the lollies.
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She admits she's her son Ashley's biggest fan and has been transporting him to Mounted Games competitions around New Zealand for 20 years, but Horse of the Year remains a firm favourite.
"It's great to be here, camping right beside the arena is always fun," Scott said.
"Everybody's together and we all socialise and cheer each other on, even if we don't win, the riders are very supportive of one another. It's a wonderful atmosphere."
For the uninitiated, Mounted Games is a branch of equestrian involving fast games played by people of all ages on nimble-footed ponies where mounting and dismounting at speed is not for the faint hearted.
"It's a faster more exciting discipline to watch, you need to have guts and bravery… and be able to ride a bit," Maree said.
This year 16 Mounted Games riders have converged on Horse of the Year from Otago, along with teams from all around New Zealand, Australia and for the first time, a team from the UK.
Friendly rival Brenda Cross is here from Northland, to cheer on Mounted Games World Champ winning son Dee Cherrington and her other son Gaarryn.
She's been volunteering at Horse of the Year since 2003.
"It's a high energy sport that attracts riders as young as four to the veteran over 60s, you've got to have a good pony and if you're not agile, you soon become agile," Cross said.
"Even if things don't go right, we're all like one big family, and always leave as friends."
Originally from the UK now residing in South Africa, course designer and premier ring crew assistant Bob Lacey has made the trip to Land Rover Horse of the Year for the eleventh year, at his own expense.
"It's a lovely country, I love the people. It's very friendly and people are always helpful," Lacey said.
"Horse of the Year is so unique, because of the size of it and the number of horses which come to the show. It amazes me the distance that they all travel."
The week at Horse of the Year for Lacey is physical, involving constructing jumps and picking up dozens of rails, along with early starts and late nights but his focus is more on the horses than his own fatigue.
"We're looking for the welfare firstly of the horse and of the rider."
Over 500 volunteers will help to keep this year's Land Rover Horse of the Year show running smoothly, Hawke's Bay local Jean Edney just one of those leading the charge.
At 67, Edney's been volunteering for 16 years - on hand to help with anything that needs doing, from organising judges, setting up, to assisting technical delegates.
"HOY needs a lot of volunteers. Like most horse people, I come because people are needed," she said.
"It's really neat and an exciting time. For most people it is the pinnacle of their competitive year."
By the end of a long and sometimes stressful week at Horse of the Year, you'll still find Edney smiling.
"I just make sure everyone's happy, that's my job."