In 1998, a group of Hawke's Bay Equestrian
enthusiasts approached Equestrian Sports
New Zealand, the owner of the Horse of the
Year Show, for permission to run the event
in Hawke's Bay. For a number of years prior
to this, the show had been held in Auckland,
resulting in accumulated financial loses.
By March 1999, the resulting successful
application saw the first show run under
the new format, this being organized by
the Northern Hawke's Bay Showjumping Group.
With a budget of under $100,000, this show
was run completely be volunteers and was
a resounding success. The subsequent years
have seen a tremendous growth in all aspects
of the event.
It is now eight years since those dreams
turned to reality and in that time we have
watched with pride as the Kelt Capital Horse
of the Year show has become the biggest
international event of its type in the country.
We have seen further equestrian disciplines
join this celebration each year and the
event has continued to capture the hearts
and minds of the equestrian world and the
Hawke's Bay people alike. The growth forced
the formation of Showjumping Hawke's Bay
Inc, which has become the organizing body,
assisted by a paid event manager. However,
the show is still heavily reliant on its
300 member volunteer force, whom assist
with the day to day running of the five
days of the event. Since 1999, the numbers
of horses, arenas, competitors, spectators,
trade sites and disciplines have more
than tripled. Now every square inch of the
Showgrounds is used. As the show grew, so
did the budget, with the 2007 show expenditure
in excess of $1,100,000. A large part of
this expenditure is covered by the $600,000
of sponsorship received from numerous businesses
and organizations, both locally and nationally.
The 2007 show saw the continued support
of Kelt Capital as a naming rights sponsor
and as such has taken the show to yet another
level from both a financial and a professional
point of view.