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A briefing is about to start at the Farmlands Horse of the Year Show to ensure all people and horses at the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds are safe as Cyclone Pam bears down on the region.

HOY show director Kevin Hansen says he has been advised of 100mm of rain and 120km winds likely to hit between 1am and 2pm on Monday.

Already trucks filled with horses and people have converged on the showgrounds in readiness for the biggest equestrian event in New Zealand, which is set to officially start on Tuesday, and run through to Sunday, March 22. Classes scheduled for Monday have been postponed until further notice.

We are advising people not to travel today if they can avoid it,” says Hansen.

But with horses and riders coming from all over New Zealand for the prestigious show, most are already on the road.

He and his teams are working to get every horse already at the grounds, under cover.

Those who arrive today, will be directed to the Hawke’s Bay Racing Stables in Wall Road. The registration area will stay open, manned by volunteers, while a team of 20 other volunteers will be at the showgrounds throughout the night to make sure people and horses are safe.

Those at the grounds in trucks are being advised to hunker down for what is expected to be a very stormy night, while any in tents are being offered space in the exhibition hall and Waikoko Room at the grounds.

There are also 8000 square metres of marquees up at the grounds. Those will be locked down at 6pm this evening and will not be allowed to open until 2pm on Monday.

We are advising people not to put goods in the marquees. I am very worried about the prognosis of the storm,” says Hansen, “however, I am confident we have robust systems in place that will ensure safety to all.”

The forecast for the rest of the show week is “brilliant”, so Hansen is expecting another epic show.

More than 2600 horses and riders are expected to compete over the week, battling it out for the most prestigious titles in New Zealand equestrian. The diamond in the tiara is the $200,000 Bostock International Olympic Cup, which will be awarded to the Showjumper of the Year on Sunday (March 22) afternoon.

For more information, head to www.hoy.co.nz .





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