All three phases of the Melbourne International Horse Trials are to be held outdoor for the first time this year, mirroring the format of the hallmark equestrian events of Europe.
Both dressage and showjumping at this year’s event, held on the Queen’s Birthday weekend (6 – 9 June, 2014) at the Werribee Park precinct, will be conducted in a purpose-built amphitheatre on the grassed polo fields of Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre.
The cross-country course, designed by Ewan Kellet, will start and finish in the amphitheatre as eventgoers fill the purpose built spectator stands to cheer on Australia’s best horse and rider combinations. Big screen televisions will also broadcast the action on course across all days of competition.
Kellett, who became the youngest FEI international cross country course designer in the world in 2009 at the age of 32, started off course building after he finished competing. He has been a course builder at the Melbourne event since 2000 when he assisted Mick Pineo, and was assistant designer to Wayne Roycroft (2002, 2005, 2006) and Michael Creber (2003,2004).
The 57-year-old event, formerly known as the Melbourne International Three Day Event (MI3DE), relaunched as the Melbourne International Horse Trials (MIHT) in January.
Event Director Michael Hands said the shift to the outdoors is an exciting one for competitors and spectators alike.
“This year’s Melbourne International Horse Trials will provide a showcase of equestrian excellence in the beautiful grounds of the Werribee Park precinct.
“We are excited to offer eventgoers a new viewing experience and for horses and riders, at an atmosphere similar to the world’s best equestrian competitions,” Hands said.
Despite being a winter weekend, June is the second driest month of the year in Werribee and the spectator stands will be built with the weather in mind.