Sydney couple Jamie Winning and Jamie Kermond are among 24 equestrians from across the Tasman who are competing at this year's International Horse of the Year Show.
The top riders are part of a 24-strong contingent of Australians competing at this year's event, who have in turn attracted a crowd of about 2000 supporting countrymen,
"It's word of mouth," said Winning, 25.
"Every year you get some Aussies over here and they get home and just rave about the show, so that just plants the seed in everyone's mind.
"Then you get people like us that come every year and then there's some riders here this year that have been over as spectators for the last few years and then made the leap to come and give it a go."
Winning is close friends with Kiwi hotshot Katie McVean and this is her fifth year attending the world class event. Her partner Kermond, 27, came second to McVean two years ago in a nail-biting finish.
The Hastings event was a big drawcard, said Kermond.
"The competition is getting stronger," he said.
"Australians and New Zealanders have been working quite hard over the last 10 years with riders and breeding so they are definitely bridging the gap between here and Europe.
"New Zealand is much smaller than us, but has got just as good riders.
"Katie McVean seems to grow each a new leg each year, her horses go faster and jump higher - the Kiwis are definitely hard to beat."
The trans-Tasman trip is a commitment for riders, who are sponsored for the sport that can cost around $20,000 to transport horses and gear.
More than 75,000 people are expected to attend HOY at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds before gates close on Sunday, as more than 2600 horses and riders battle for top honours in 18 disciplines in 28 arenas.