Few muck heaps are as mountainous as the one left behind by the 1,500 horses competing at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
Over 180 tonnes of equine waste made up of excess hay, bedding and muck is piled up in the NEC car park over the course of the week (3-7th October).
The massive clean-up operation begins after the last horse leaves at 8am on the Monday after the show finishes.
The stables were booked for a total of 1,905 nights this year creating a lot of muck to collect, as everything has to be taken out and the site left spick and span for the next exhibitor by Wednesday 10 October.
An army of workers and convoy of specialist vehicles move in for the 24-hour frantic operation.
HOYS takes over more than 50 acres of the complex during the week with 800 temporary stables erected in the car parks and three equestrian arenas built.
This year the vast amount of rubbish left behind by the 60,000 spectators is being taken away by a team from Go Plant Fleet Services for the first time.
The Leicestershire-based company also sweeps the roads and horse walk during the event.
“Holding a horse show of this magnitude at the NEC, which is not purpose-built for equestrian events, presents a number of challenges,” said Grandstand Media event director Emma Williams.
Another 250 trade stands are also put up, temporary offices created and more parking spaces added.
“All this area has to be cleared in a matter of days and left without a trace so it’s ready for the next event,” added Mrs Williams.
She said with nearly 200 tonnes of equine waste to be removed from the site, Go Plant Fleet Services “will have their work cut out, but we are confident they’re up to the challenge”.
Who would have thought a well-built muck heap could hold the key to building roads and railways?
This perfectionist bunch has taken equestrian standards to another level...
The annual manure output from 14 horses is needed to power 100% of the electricity needed for the top international
Ben Gilmore, regional manager for the company, said keeping the site clean and tidy throughout the event “will be quite a task”.
“While the show is one of the biggest in the world, we hope to ensure spectators – and certainly those using the arena immediately afterwards – see very little evidence it ever happened,” he added.
For the full report from HOYS, don’t miss next week’s H&H magazine, out 11 October.