CAMPERDOWN will stage the latest edition of its annual Northern Horse Parks Lakes and Craters International Horse Trials this weekend.
The trials will be held this Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a change to the norm for the event, which has previously started on the Friday and wrapped up on the Sunday.
The change has been made to allow the two day or short course competitors the chance to compete over the weekend without sacrificing a day off work.
Committee member Barry Roycroft said the three-day showpiece consists of dressage, showjumping and cross country events in classes ranging from four star to EvA 80 level.
“We’ve got 250 entries and have been well supported in the lower grades but we’re a little disappointed with the numbers in the higher levels,” he said.
“There’s a few reasons for that being the distance from Melbourne and cost of travel and there is quite a choice of events (at this time of year).
“Some of them are easier events and in some areas it is perceived to be a really tough course.”
Among the leading contenders is Olympian Amanda Ross, who is eager to put together a strong performance this weekend.
“She rode in Sydney in 2000 and was a reserve for our world games team last year,” Roycroft said.
“She wants to have a strong performance to enhance her chances of going to Tokyo in 2020 and she is bringing four horses to our event.”
Several officials will also be out to impress, with a number of them also hoping to find themselves working at Tokyo.
“We’ve got international officials from Japan and India coming to our event,” Roycroft said.
“Sumiko Suzuki has been coming to our event for a number of years and is on the organising committee for Tokyo.
“There’s also a number officials working up there that will also be attending Tokyo as volunteers and I’ll be attending Tokyo for my second time.”
There have been a number of changes made this year, headlined by a course overhaul conducted by Mick Pineo.
“There are a few innovations this year in that we’re changing the direction of the course,” Roycroft said.
“And we’re also working in association with the cricket club, they run our barbecue and because it’s a multi-sporting precinct it’s important to have good relationships with your neighbours.”
Eventing aside, there are plenty of other highlights to keep everyone entertained, including an idea Roycroft said was “left field” with a horse blessing will be held between 5.30pm and 6pm on Saturday.
“Andrew Crompton who is one of our newer committee members has organised a blessing of the horse for Saturday evening,” he said.
“It’ll be interesting to see how many participate.”
With the last minute preparations still in full swing, Roycroft said he is hopeful of having an accident free weekend and encouraged those interested to come along.
“There is no admittance fee and if people would like to see a spectacle, the jumping will be held on Sunday,” he said.
“There will be also a variety of food vans (at the event) and according to the forecast the weather should be ideal.”