EXTREME heat through January and February has sparked a smaller-than-expected field for the South West Horse Trials this weekend.
Organisers have received about 100 entries for the two-day dressage, showjumping and cross country event at the Lakes and Craters complex at Camperdown.
South West Horse Trials vice-president Pat Ryan said the figure was down on previous years, a direct consequence of the heatwave which has gripped Victoria.
Ryan said riders had been unable to work their horses in the heat and were reluctant to risk them on the challenging cross country terrain.
“All events in the lead-up to this weekend have been cancelled due to the hot weather. We’re virtually the first event of the season,” he said.
“We’ve got a good contingent coming across from South Australia — Megan Jones, Sarah Clark, Dale Flynn, they’re the big riders from over there.
“And then locally we’ve got Lucy Kolomanski from Geelong and we’ve got Rebecca Barling from Curdievale, she’s riding in the one-star class.”
Ryan said the trials featured introduction, preliminary, pre-novice and one-star classes, aimed at younger horses rising through the ranks.
The experienced Michael Creber has designed the cross country course while Mortlake’s Tim Howarth has put together the showjumping course.
“Megan Jones is bringing four young horses over. The experienced riders are bringing the younger horses,” Ryan said.
“That’s why these events have a place on the calendar. In the scheme of things they have an important role.”