John Nicholson, international FEI 3*/4* course designer and brother to event rider Andrew Nicholson, will make his designing debut in the U.S. as the new course designer at Virginia Horse Trials. John joins fellow Kiwi Andy Bowles, who took over as the new organizer of the horse trials this year, in this latest exciting development for VHT.
“It is always a great opportunity to design a course in a new country, at a top class facility, to test and better yourself,” John said in a press release. “I am looking forward to offering U.S. 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.”
John has a wealth of design experience, having laid out the courses at the New Zealand National Three-Day Event Championships, Horse of the Year show, his home course at Kihikihi, the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea, as well as events in Thailand and Western Australia. He has also instructed other course designers at FEI clinics around the world.
“We cannot wait to see what John creates at VHT,” Andy said. “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 U.S. be at our event and are confident riders will enjoy his design style and knowledge.”
Andy remains committed to carrying on the legacy of longtime VHT organizers Brian and Penny Ross, who created a destination event where riders were excited to come back year after year. Brian and Penny stepped down from the role last fall and handed over the reins to Andy, who is also an FEI technical delegate.
“We want riders to always love coming to our shows,” Andy said. “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.”
Giuseppe della Chiesa, chairman of the FEI Eventing Technical Committee and course designer at Badminton Horse Trials, said he is pleased John has been given the opportunity to design courses in the U.S., where he can bring his talent and creativity to yet another country.
“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,” Guiseppe said. “I praise Virginia Horse Trial’s organizer for this visionary choice and wish John the best of luck for his new appointment.”
John’s new course will be unveiled at this fall’s Virginia Horse Trials, which will be held Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2015, at the Virginia Horse Center. Be sure to visit VHT’s new website to follow along with other exciting news from the horse trials.