LAKES and Craters three-day event officials say they are rapt with new rider records for two of their classes.
About 270 riders from across Victoria and interstate have converged on Camperdown for the dressage, showjumping and cross-country event.
The figure includes more than 140 in the preliminary class and more than 110 in the pre-novice — both new records, courtesy of strong junior numbers.
But the elite CCI three-star class is again low on entries, with only two combinations putting their names forward.
Victorian Adam Benson aboard Enthusiast will go up against teenage South Australian Jaimie Stitchel on Image Blue Ice for the top honour.
Event secretary Jen Best said the event began yesterday with horse inspections and dressage.
Dressage and low-level showjumping is on today, cross-country is tomorrow and the high-level showjumping is on Sunday.
“It’s pretty much the same as last year — record entries again in the lower classes but our star classes, the FEI classes, they’re again low in numbers,” Best said.
“We’ve all been talking about it and discussing it. It’s not a qualifying year for World Equestrian Games or the Olympics, people aren’t chasing qualifiers.
“That’s the only thing we can put it down to. There’s a bit of a lull in the top-level riders and there are several top riders who are injured at the moment.
“Will Enzinger has a broken leg, Amanda Ross, who has a couple of very strong two-star horses, has a broken wrist.”
Best said she was confident the weekend would be a success.
“It’s still a very competitive field, just lacking at the top,” she said.
She said designer Michael Creber had put together a challenging cross-country course, although conditions for riding were good.
“We’ve been helped by Mother Nature because our course looks amazing,” Best said. “It’s beautiful and green, the going is perfect, the ground is soft and forgiving.
“We’re expecting everyone to come home happy from the cross-country.”