Top riders in action
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE cream of Austalia's equestrian riders are in Coffs Harbour this weekend.
Well known riders such as Shane Rose, Sam Lyle, Nikki Chapman and Rebel Morrow will combine with their horses for the Saddleworld Coffs Harbour International One Day Event and Country Fair.
The Nana Glen Sportsground has undergone a transformation with the Cross Country course becoming one of the most demanding in the country.
Festival convener Mandy Baston couldn't hide her excitement about the the event which starts today.
"It's going to be a huge weekend, and the grounds look terrific," she said.
"I'm standing on top of the hill looking over the cross country course at jumps like the picnic table and the water jumps and it just looks amazing."
One of the more unusual jumps on the course is the Holden Utes.
Supplied by Geoff King Holden, the jump is actually two utes backed up to each other creating a challenge for the teams of man and beast. The cross country will be held tomorrow starting at 10am, followed by the showjumping.
Today the dressage discipline starts at 8am.
Baston believes spectators should get to the event not just because it's internationally classed, but because the grounds create a great vantage point.
"They're quite unique the grounds because all three phases are close together," she said. "Couple that with the terrific Country Fair we're holding and you've got a great weekend."
The equestrian equivalent of a triathlon is the biggest test in the sport and it will be interesting to see if the cream can rise to the top over the weekend.