Hundreds of people descended on the Tomoana Hawke's Bay Showgrounds today for the first day of the Land Rover Horse of the Year.
Ahead of the main events starting on Friday night, competitors and trade exhibitors were still arriving and setting up, while some initial showjumping, dressage and show hunter competitions got underway.
Although early in the piece, the trade stall area was already abuzz with activity, and judging was under way of the exhibitors' sites with awards on offer for the first time this year.
Fourteen-year-old Alice Naish and her family made the journey today from Auckland - waking up at 4.30 this morning.
Alice and her sister Holly Naish, who is not competing at the event, were dutifully grooming their horse, Hunter.
It is Alice's first time at HOY, and she will be taking part in the dressage events.
"It is so exciting to be here, and I am looking forward to competing," she said.
Event manager Dave Mee said the first day had gone pretty smoothly, helped with a fine day and a high of 27C.
"The grounds have been fantastic, the competition is running well, we have had some people in through the gates and everything is stacking up really well."
He said typically people trickled through the gates in the first days for the smaller classes - before the crowds picked up further towards the end of the event.
"The weather is looking fantastic for the rest of the week, so we are really pleased about that."
Tomorrow it is expected to be fine apart from morning cloud, with southwesterlies dying out and a high of 24C.
Similarly, Thursday will be fine, with high cloud and northwesterlies developing.
The Land Rover Horse of the Year will continue throughout the week, finishing with the grand finale, the Olympic Cup, on Sunday.