Richard Nicoll, driving course designer for the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), was recently on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park for several days to work with the course builder, meet with various decorators, and generally check on the progress of the marathon obstacles.
According to Nicoll, construction is now about 95% percent complete on the marathon obstacles. Once everything is finished, all that will remain is the decorating. Some of this will need to be completed at the last minute because two obstacles contain portable elements that will be moved into place after the eventing cross-country phase (on the first Saturday during the WEG).
After his meeting with the decorators, Nicoll was pleased to note how enthusiastic and, with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event having been at the Kentucky Horse Park for so many years, how experienced they are. He expects that spectators familiar with driving, and those new to the sport, will be wowed by the beauty of the course.
The drivers themselves may not appreciate the beauty of the obstacles to the same degree that the spectators will, but they will have their own beautiful views earlier in the day. While he was here, Nicoll inspected the course he had laid out for Sections A and D of the marathon. The track does not just go “round and round a field,” as he said, but follows roads, pathways, and pastures through several working farms adjoining the Kentucky Horse Park. So the drivers will get a unique view of some truly beautiful Kentucky countryside and farmland.
Nicoll says that he’s “very encouraged and excited about all the progress that’s been made at the Horse Park.” He encourages everyone to come out on Saturday, October 9, to watch the driving marathon, if for no other reason than this is probably the only time in our lifetimes that we’ll be able to see so many FEI-level four-in-hand drivers in one North American location. Nicoll recalled how, after the 1993 World Pairs Championship in New Jersey, a number of people said they had heard how wonderful the championship was and how much they regretted having missed it.
“This time around, don’t be someone who regrets not having come to see the driving championship. This is going to be too good to miss!”
Photo by Jennifer Singleton: One of the driving marathon elements for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.