Preparations are under way for this year's Land Rover Horse of the Year, despite a soggy start predicted.

MetService meteorologist Andy Best said it would be an improving trend this week, with conditions looking up from Wednesday onwards.

"There will be a burst of quite nasty weather coming [today] and then clearing up [tomorrow], so there is an improving trend for the beginning and middle of the week."

Event manager Dave Mee said it was "looking really good" ahead of tomorrow's start.


The campsites are already filling up and more than 1000 horses are already on site at the Hawke's Bay A&P showgrounds.

"Despite the rain, it is absolutely amazing, so the ground probably couldn't be in any better condition and there are no real wet patches or anything.

"The forecast actually only looks like rain [today] and then the rest of the week is pretty good so it is only really downpours that would upset us a bit but we have got a whole lot of contingency back-up plans."

No vehicles went on the grounds on Saturday to ensure the condition of the turf was protected and kept in top condition.

A strong wind watch is in place for the region, from Hastings northwards and is valid from 1pm today until 12pm tomorrow.

Distanced gale-force southeasterlies developing this afternoon may increase to severe gale-force strength in exposed places then turn southerly this evening before gradually easing.

Similarly, a heavy rain watch has been issued from 12pm today to 1am tomorrow.

"The rain is expected to develop late Monday morning with some heavy falls then ease Monday evening. Rainfall accumulation may reach short duration warning amounts that's 60mm in 9 hours so there is no actual warning there is watches for the area.


"Tuesday is an improving day. This low which is causing all these problems is heading out to the southeast quite quickly," Mr Best said.

Thursday is looking fine with high cloud and northwesterlies and on Friday cloud will gradually clear.

Horse of the Year board chairwoman Cynthia Bowers agreed with Mr Mee, stating that the wet weather last week was "in some ways helpful because it softens the ground".

She said normally in the lead-up to the show they irrigated all of the arenas to make sure the ground was not too hard, but this year's rain meant they had not needed to.

"We are watching the weather forecast closely though for [today] and [tomorrow]. I don't think it is going to be too much of a problem for us. We will be keeping our fingers crossed for later in the week that we don't get anymore."

"I think it is shaping up to be hopefully our best show yet so absolutely, fingers crossed for the weather. We can't manage it but we can sort of do our best to mitigate the affects of it."

Mr Best said the Cyclone Hola was expected to transition into an ordinary low last night and this morning.

"By the time it reaches the northeastern parts of New Zealand it seems to remain offshore of the country but its effects will be felt on the land, so the actual low itself is slightly north of the country and then it moves rapidly southeast and away during the course of [tomorrow]."

A Napier Port spokeswoman said the Sun Princess, which was meant to dock at Napier Port made the call to go up the west coast rather than the east coast because of the oncoming weather.

The Noordam Cruise Ship, which was in Tauranga, was supposed to be going to Auckland but decided to come back to Napier yesterday.

"Everything is trying to avoid Auckland because the weather is hitting there first and it is going to go direct to Sydney from here."

Mr Mee said they were expecting a ton of people to come through this week and looking forward to a good show.

"It is probably the best show we have got in terms of the line-up of competitors.