In 2016 the weather conditions caused problems with the Novice show jumping arena. As a result the arena has been relocated down near to the Kidney Pool. There will be a separate arena each day which should produce good going for everyone. We also have a new SJ course designer this year, Martin Cox, who has a great deal of experience and has built some fabulous courses. I am sure you will give him a warm welcome to the team.

lesley-auckland-640x480Thank goodness for internet entries, Lesley and Paul Hagerty our entry secretaries spend the winter in New Zealand but when Paul had Chicken pox he was not fit for his return flight so they found themselves a week later opening entries on the return flight stopover in Auckland airport, now that's dedication.

With only a week to go before ballot day entries for all sections are coming in and the office is very busy dealing with sponsors, volunteers and trade stands. Looking at the 2016 map of where our competitors originate we continue to be impressed with their dedication, and early starts, as they travel from as far as Scotland, South Wales, the South Coast, Northumberland and Suffolk.

We have been very lucky with the weather and, between wet days, have put out Weston's courses. The team is really enthusiastic about the April Event and we have had such fun putting 59 portable fences out. It is a real buzz and privilege to design on such a fabulous estate. Just as a competitor has a setback in their training so do designers and builders. I had budgeted to build 2 new Advanced fences for 2017 but one old Advanced fence, the Flower Box, just fell apart as James lifted it and another has suffered damage over the winter. Looking on the bright side the Advanced will now get 4 new fences. Intermediate and Advanced courses will run in the same direction as 2016. However the use of portable fences has given us the opportunity to change many of the combinations giving the courses a fresh feel and challenge.

Once again the Novice course will run on the central park without road crossings, as it did last spring. This gives wonderful views of most of the course from a couple of vantage points which I know is much appreciated by the owners. Once again the Novice course will welcome the Charles Owen Pony Trial which we have produced for many years. The good news is that there has been a big influx of Ponies registering for these trials so make sure your Pony entries are in before ballot day.

Competitors please note that you need to allow time to get up to dressage for all sections as dressage will be at the top of the park on very good going.

We look forward to welcoming competitors into the park this April, don't forget to send in your entries so that you're not disappointed.

Janet Plant – Joint Organiser

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