Olympians will headline the show jumping, eventing, and the dressage at this year's Horse of the Year in Hastings.

Entries are up across the board at the annual show. Event director Dave Mee said it was looking to be one of the most competitive shows yet.

With bumper dressage numbers, HOY organisers had to consider capping some classes to keep numbers within capability for the first time.

Mr Mee said these record numbers may have been spurred on by the success of Kiwi rider Julie Brougham, who scored the highest percentage by a New Zealand combination at the Rio Olympics.


Other successful riders competing in the dressage include John Thompson on JHT Antonello, recent national champion Wendi Williamson on Dejavu MH and professional rider Vanessa Way on NRM Arawn.

The crown jewel of HOY, the Olympic Cup, will also be hotly contested by world class riders from around the country including reigning Olympic Cup champion Helen McNaught on Carnutelabryere.

Mr Mee said there was a clear representation of both experienced combinations and young riders stepping up.

World Cup round winners from the season will be present, with young talent Samantha Morrison on Biarritz, Natasha Brooks on Kapattack and Lucy Fell on Tinapai all competing.

Lily Tootill, in her first season at this level, will be starting the class on Ulysses NZPH with whom she won the Dannevirke World Cup round in January.

Former Olympian Katie Laurie is riding Dunstan On The Point Eve and the winner of the Waitemata World Cup round, Dunstan Casebrooke Lomond, and Olympian Maurice Beatson will be contesting on both Schimmel Warrior and Mandalay Cove.

Also planning on lining up is Rio eventer Clarke Johnstone with showjumping mount Quainton Labyrinth.

Mr Mee said the eventing side of things was another exciting area, with a massive 24 entries in the big three-star class.

Johnstone was one of those who would be back to defend his 2016 title, but this time on Wolf Whistle II.

Current Super League series leader Donna Edwards-Smith, riding DSE Mr Hokey Pokey, and second-placed Virginia Thompson on Star Nouveau, will be hoping to give him a run for his money.

Also vying for the title is young rider Jackson Bovill, who has had some impressive placings with Visionnaire this season, and Samantha Felton.

Mr Mee said this promising growth was not only at the top but also down to the other classes, showing that HOY is an event for both elite and up-and-coming riders.

"It gives them the opportunity to test themselves against the best and compete for that coveted national title."

He said it showed the popularity of the event and the high regard in which it was held by riders throughout the country.

"Horse of the Year is the show that everyone looks forward to all season and wants to do their best at.

"It's fantastic to see such a strong field with so many elite and young up-and-coming riders entering, it is going to make for an exciting competition and a great show overall."

HOY runs from Tuesday March 7 to Sunday March 12 at the Hawke's Bay A and P Showgrounds in Hastings.