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Humbling Support for Organisers at HOY

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Many of the 8000-plus square metres of marquees that cross the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds have had extra strapping added to hold them down. Photo: www.takethemoment.co.nz


The skies opened but it was goodwill that flowed at the Farmlands Horse of the Year Show in Hastings today.

Organisers were pushed to their limits yesterday by the impending arrival of Cyclone Pam, with huge amounts of rain and 120km per hour winds forecast. Horses were halted in Taupo, with around 250 spending the night at the National Equestrian Centre there, with others moved from the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds to the race course.

“It has been horrendous,” says show director Kevin Hansen, “but it has also brought out the best side of human nature. The support we have received, and the understanding from riders, supporters and volunteers has just been incredible. We are hugely appreciative of that support.”

He's hoping to get a helicopter in tomorrow evening to dry out the Land Rover Premier Arena, in readiness for the first “biggie” of the show – Wednesday's Norwood Gold Cup.

Hansen estimates by this evening, the showgrounds will be full, with around 8000 people and 1800 horses.

“Once we get everything in here, we'll be fine. By Sunday, this will be a distant memory.”

Tractors with chains are on standby to help stuck trucks.

But some of the biggest impact from the weather has been on the tradespeople. Last year, more than $10 million was spent in the trade section.

“We've probably got 20-30 tonne of freight under the grandstand waiting to be moved into marquees,” says Hansen. “It is a colossal job getting that to all the trade sites. Some of the marquees are full of water, and we've been digging drains to try and clear it.”

Many of the sites can only be accessed by foot at present, while organisers work to reduce the footprint of all machinery at the grounds.

Warm-up and training areas for horses were also in short supply, but Hansen said they were working to clear areas for them.

“The show will go on – everyone is here and ready to go. This is the event they all work towards all season . . . it is where they want to win the big titles.”

Competition was canned today (Monday) but gets underway tomorrow morning.

The show is worth in excess of $12.5 million to the Hawke's Bay economy each year, with more than 80,000 spectators set to flow through the gates over the six days.

The show culminates on Sunday (March 22) with the presentation of the Bostock International Olympic Cup to the Showjumper of the Year.


What: Farmlands Horse of the Year Show

Where: Hawke's Bay Showgrounds

When: Tuesday, March 17 – Sunday, March 22

For more information, head to www.hoy.co.nz or find us on Facebook.




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