Hosting rights for New Zealand’s Horse of the Year show will remain in Hawke’s Bay until at least 2027, according to shareholders of HOY Ltd.
The show has been run in Hastings for the past 17 years. Following a meeting on Tuesday, it was proposed that the 2016 show would have an earlier date, possibly starting on March 1.
“Horse of the Year has a significant impact on our Hawke’s Bay economy and it’s wonderful to be able to confirm our long-term hosting rights,” says Cynthia Bowers, chair of HOY Ltd.
It was also revealed that several parties had tendered for the event, and an announcement was expected on June 1.
It was announced before the latest show, which finished at the weekend, that long-time organisers Kevin and Sue Hansen would be leaving the role.
Management of the show has changed in recent years, with Horse of the Year (Hawke’s Bay) Ltd taking control of the show in 2012 from Showjumping Hawke’s Bay, with Hastings District Council, Equestrian Sports New Zealand and Showjumping Hawke’s Bay as equal shareholders. In 2012 HOY Ltd’s business plan had a further two-year contract with Hansen’s management company Event-Pro, and intending to request tenders for the event’s management from 2016.
In a statement this week, the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) said Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) indicated that the RAS Showing Section would remain part of the show. “However they are consulting with several different parties, the RAS being one of them, over a proposed date change to March 1 to 6.
“A driving force behind the date change is apparently the request from equestrian competitors; however ESNZ would also like to have a team of Australian riders compete at HOY before they go on to the Sydney Royal Show.”
The RAS said the date change posed some challenges in terms of HoY qualification, “but more importantly it may affect a small proportion of shows that run within this week”.
However, the RAS said it would continue to support HoY “if that is the wish of the competitors and the members”.