Virginia Horse Trials, a long time destination event for East Coast Eventers, announced today that International Course Designer John Nicholson will take over as the new FEI cross country course designer, beginning with the events staple FEI competition set to take place October 30th- November 1st, 2015. This event will mark Nicholson’s first course in the United States, an exciting addition to US Eventing as a whole, adding another highly accredited International FEI 3*/4* course designer to competition in the US.
Known for his beautiful presentation, design creativity, and unique flair, Nicholson has designed events, which include The New Zealand National 3-Day Event Championships, Horse of the Year, his home course at Kihikihi, and the 2014 Asian Games, as well as events in Thailand and Western Australia. In addition to designing many top courses, John has also been regularly invited to instruct others at FEI clinics for international course-designers across the globe.
Virginia Horse Trials Organizer and fellow New Zealander Andy Bowles is thrilled to welcome an individual with such a great deal of expertise to his event team saying, “We can not wait to see what John creates at VHT. His design style is very unique, and brings an aspect of creativity which tests horses and riders accuracy, while being safe and fair at the same time. We are honored to have his first courses in the US be at our event, and are confidant riders will enjoy his design style and knowledge.”
Bowles who recently took over the long time event from Brian and Penny Ross, is committed to continuing on it’s past tradition of creating a place riders can be excited to come back to year after year. “We want riders to always love coming to our shows. The addition of Nicholson will help us offer courses unlike any other in the United States, while we continue to dedicate funds to improving footing, offering pre event clinics, and establishing an atmosphere where spectators, riders and sponsors can enjoy their experience time and time again,” said Bowles.
Nicholson looks forward to his flagship course in the United States taking form this year saying, “It is always a great opportunity to design a course in a new country, at a top class facility, to test and better yourself. I am looking forward to offering US riders a new challenge, and consider it a privilege to work in a country that has produced world-class riders such as Bruce Davidson and David O'Connor. Having worked with Andy in the past, I am sure we can create something very special."
Notable individuals have praised Nicholson’s design talents, among them riders such as Mark Todd, his brother Andrew Nicolson, and Giuseppe della Chiesa, chairman of the FEI Eventing Technical Committee and course designer of Badminton. Giuseppe noted, “I am very pleased to hear that John has been given the opportunity to work in the United States where he can show his great talent as course designer. His ability to understand how horses "work" and "think" is second to none, and combined with his natural creativity and taste, place him amongst the best designers in the world. I praise Virginia Horse Trial’s Organizer for this visionary choice, and wish John the best of luck for his new appointment”.
The Virginia Horse Trials looks forward to unveiling Nicholson’s new courses along with other continued additions later this season. For information about Virginia Horse Trials, please visit http://www.vahorsetrials.com.
This story first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Sidelines Magazine.
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