YOU HAVE TO BE THERE
Eventing in the pure form enters the Kelt Capital Horse of the Year for the first time in 2009, with the dressage phase on Friday 20th March at the Hawkes Bay Showgrounds, the cross-country on Saturday 21th March at the Hawkes Bay Equestrian Park, and the showjumping phase on Sunday 22nd at the Hawkes Bay Showgrounds.
New Zealand eventers are well performed on the international stage, having stamped their mark on the three-day event at the Olympic Games and World Equestrian Games since 1984, when Mark Todd won his first gold medal with Charisma.
The cross-country course at the Equestrian Park (approximately 15 minutes from the Showgrounds) is being designed by international course designer John Nicholson (brother of Olympian Andrew Nicholson), and will run over the adjoining golf course, courtesy of the Hawkes Bay Golf Course at Flaxmere.
John Nicholson has made a name for himself designing the NZ qualifier for the FEI Eventing World Cup at Kihikihi, where his courses are hailed as not only highly imaginative but technically sound and of world class calibre. The Hastings track will be the first time he has been persuaded to apply his talent away from his local venue.
The eventing competitors will be the cream of the country’s elite eventers, competing at three levels, CIC*** (Advanced), CIC** (Intermediate), and Novice, depending on the experience of their horses. Nicholson will be responsible for the *** track, and will work with John Holmes, the Equestrian Park course designer, who will design ** and Novice tracks.
Holmes, who now lives at Bulls, but returns twice a year to design the tracks for the spring and autumn trials at the Equestrian Park, is excited at the prospect of working with Nicholson on this special project, and says, “It will look like the Olympics, the golf course provides aesthetic features which will be amazing on a cross-country course.”
Spectators can expect the obstacles to be grouped to facilitate viewing, with the track winding back through the main oval so the competitors will appear several times for those who elect not to walk the course as it is being ridden. Full facilities will be available on course at the Equestrian Park, so an exciting occasion is assured.
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For Newsletter to Riders and Notice to All Riders using the Oval please click on the respective pages.