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Working With Nicholson a Treat

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Chris Lever (right) works with course designer John Nicholson on the cross country course. Photography: Kerry Marshall/KAMPIC



It may be more than a couple of weeks until the first horses gallop over the Land Rover CIC3* cross country course, but Chris Lever and Donna Harley have already moved to the Showgrounds.

It’s the second year the Masterton couple have helped designer John Nicholson prepare the course, and they wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Both are aspiring course designers and say they love the challenge that the HOY courses present . . . but working with Nicholson beats it all.

He is cutting edge,” says Lever. “John is one of the best in the world.”

Their relationship with Nicholson started when Lever was introduced to him through his mentor Tinks Pottinger.

I was just starting out. Meeting John was a big eye-opener for us – we went from seeing cross country jumps that were just logs and four-by-twos to this. It opened our eyes. He is so unique. I have, what I call, the John Nicholson curse now!”

It has changed how they design and build courses in the Wairarapa too.

Lever and Harley arrived in Hastings at the weekend and are now “rejuvenating” the course.

We’re just making sure everything is good, and then next week we will be doing a few new things, with all the dressing and decorating that last week. There is lots of tweaking going on, and John has a few things he is bringing out too.”

The retired eventers say they are bringing through lessons learnt during last year’s very successful cross country, to improve anything they can this time round.

It was amazing last year,” says Lever, a supermarket storeman. “Those huge numbers of spectators were just incredible.”

Lever and Harley, who works for Kiwi Rail, have also assisted Nicholson at Taupo and Kihikihi.



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