A new cross-country course in Cromwell for the Central Otago Pony Club will be the culmination of more than 45 years’ work for Robbie McLean, of Taranaki.
As an International Federation for Equestrian Sports course designer, Mr McLean has designed courses across the country, from Ninety Mile Beach in the far north to Oreti Beach in the deep south.
This will be his last job, and he is working hard to ensure it will be a fitting end to a long career.
The course will have 30 jumps and follows a standard format within strict parameters but he was free to design a unique course that would challenge both experienced and beginner riders.
The timber-based course included simple post and rail jumps, spread jumps, jumping up/jumping down, two water jumps, ditches, narrow jumps and two or three close jumps, Mr McLean said.
The top class would traverse the whole course of about 2800m, then each class down would have a little less distance and one or two less jumps to complete, he said.
This meant creating alternative options, so if one jump was too difficult there was a more accessible way to complete the course.
The course would be completed in time for the New Zealand Pony Club Eventing Championships, taking place in Cromwell from April 16 to
Mr McLean was looking forward to being back for the opening of the course for the championships.
His aim was to make the design difficult but accessible, so most riders would be able to complete the course.
‘‘It’s a championship, it will be a big test, but there will be ways for the competitors who are having a little bit of a bad day to compete and get to do the show jumping on the final day.’’