Land Rover Horse of the Year ‘Home’ Wasn’t Built In a Day

7 Mar

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Behind every great event there’s a hard-working ground crew and that’s certainly the case with New Zealand’s largest equestrian showpiece, the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show.

By the end of the week, Hastings will become Horse Truck Central and home to an eye widening number of horses who are about to roll into town for the country’s annual equine-fuelled pilgrimage.

Over 1800 horses and 1400 competitors camping in the space of 42 hectares creates logistical and messy challenges, like the 140,000 tonnes of horse manure that has to be trucked out daily to local organic recycling business Biorich.

Proudly in its 21styear in Hawke’s Bay, event organisers have the event’s construction down to a fine art thanks to the woman behind the colossal scale build,  Operations Manager Trish Webb.

“It’s massive logistically. In my 14 years in events, it’s by far the biggest logistical build I’ve ever been involved with – purely due to the size of the area and the amount of gear we have to transport in.”

With over three kilometres of temporary fencing, 1 thousand yards and 215 stables to physically erect, Trish and her team have their work cut out for them.

“Most of the yards we transport in from the Wairarapa and Cambridge, then my staff of nine physically have to put them up, one by one.  My team is awesome, I spend a lot of time in my office ‘conducting’ while they do all the physical work.

“It’s exhausting and they’re absolutely shattered – how they keep going I don’t know to be honest!”

With over 200 retail trade sites and a village of wine, food and entertainment precincts, event-goers find Land Rover Horse of the Year an experience like no other.  And that’s just the sidelines.

This year the Showground’s Discovery Gardens will be transformed into a cross country course that will mimic the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials for the event’s new flagship event Land Rover Burghley Day Presented by Höpt Soda.

For Trish and her team, ensuring all competitors including headline acts Tim and Jonelle Price and Blyth Tait have the best surface to ride on, is a key focus.

“The grounds are in the best conditions I’ve seen in the four years I’ve been doing this job.  Sally Jackson and her team at the A&P Showgrounds have been fantastic and a real joy to work with.”

While planning is year round, physical construction of Land Rover Horse of the Year takes two weeks and just one week to dismantle.

“It really feels like a mini city but it comes down a lot quicker thank goodness,” jokes Trish.

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