Final preparations are taking place at the Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre for the weekend’s NRM National Three-day Event, with course decorators doing a great job enhancing the cross-country fences, and sponsor signs going up all round the course.
But the big impact is the newly surfaced area at the east end of the course, where John Nicholson’s 2* and 3* tracks run over new terrain, with exciting fences built on the good galloping ground, all very visible from the bank along the Department of Conservation Reserve.
Nicholson is pleased with the developments. “Everyone said it couldn’t be done, but if it can’t be done, it’s worth doing!” he said.
Neil Clinton (AUS), Technical Delegate for the 2* & 3* classes, said: “The ground preparation is really well done, it will be good for the horses to gallop on. The design and layout, as well as the decoration, is first class.
“The first three fences will get them up in the air and jumping. It is a very good course, testing and challenging.”
Nicholson has introduced some new timber fences, less solid than the large logs which have gone out of favour worldwide, as well as some “skinny” stump obstacles which will test rider accuracy and horse honesty.
Andrew Scott’s 1* and Pre-novice tracks were still being flagged and decorated yesterday afternoon, but they also have a new look with the fresh ideas of a different designer. The two courses have been built adjacent to each other so they can be jumped concurrently, allowing organizers to accept the maximum number of entries that can be put through in the restricted daylight hours.
Most of the South Islanders have arrived, travelling a day earlier than originally planned to avoid the rough weather forecast for Cook Strait. Six trucks of horses have made the most of the Interislander discount on offer for ESNZ members, and are installed at the “Centre” with the usual camaraderie that emanates from their camp, despite the cold wet weather.