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Big surprises at HOY Hall of Fame Gala Dinner

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Sir Mark Todd. Photo credit: Libby Law PhotographyThe man who prides himself in knowing everything that goes on at the New Zealand Horse of the Year Show had the tables turned on him last night.

Show director Kevin Hansen thought he was just another guest at the sell-out gala dinner, but found himself being inducted into the very prestigious Hall of Fame.

It was an emotional Kevin and Sue Hansen who took the stage to receive the award from Hastings District Council mayor Lawrence Yule.
This couple are amazingly special to this city and region,” he said. “They are truly deserving of this award.”
Kevin Hansen was simply floored.
Horse of the Year has been our life for a number of years . . . it is a shock and privilege to get this award tonight. I thought it was for people who won the big titles.”

A former top showjumper, the Olympic Cup was one that had eluded him – much to his chagrin.
It takes our life to run this show, and we still want to drive it to bigger and better things.”

He thanked his wife Sue - “the greatest person alive” - and his family for their support.

Sue also paid tribute to the many volunteers who helped to make HOY the success it was.

Waverley race horse trainers Harvey and Ann Wilson were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The couple have won all the big awards at the Horse of the Year Show over the years, ridden at top level and remain hugely admired in the sport.

They were the first husband and wife to both win the Olympic Cup, for Showjumper of the Year.

Both were humble in accepting the honour, and paid tribute to the many “fantastic” people they had met over the years, and underlined just how much they appreciate the life that horses have brought them.

The arm chair chat between veteran broadcaster Mark Sainsbury and Sir Mark Todd was light-hearted, entertaining and covered everything from the Los Angeles Olympics, to London, medals, the queen, the New Zealand team, Rio, and even a dash of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Hall of Fame dinner is always a very popular event, and the 350 tickets sold out well in advance. It is always a very closely-guarded secret just who is going to be honoured.

Long time dressage supporter Chris Paston – the co-conveynor of dressage at HOY – was awarded the David Ross Memorial Trophy as volunteer of the year.

For more information, contact -
Diana Dobson
021 222 0145
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