German course designer Werner Deeg made his first visit to this country for the 2016 Horse of the Year. At the end of the show he said he not only loved New Zealand but also loved our red wine – and was hoping he would get to sample another bottle of it that night. We think he deserved it!
Werner was the designer in the main arena. He has been building courses since 1982 and went on to design international courses ten years later. As well as creating challenging tracks for Aachen, Spruce Meadows and many other international arenas, he is sought-after for course design seminars. After he finished his HoY duties, he was going straight into taking a seminar for our New Zealand course builders.
We asked Werner before the Olympic Cup started how many clear rounds he thought there would be and he was right on the money, saying there may be five but he hoped for seven. There were seven clear in the first round.
His comments after the cup were very interesting:
“I have learned that the New Zealand thoroughbred can jump and they are careful. Tomorrow morning we have a seminar for course designers. I have showed them today what I am doing. Not to destroy the horse, make them happy, let them go and show the beauty of the sport. I want to make a good competition.
“The first round was not huge. I didn’t have to kill the horse and rider to get the result. There were no eliminations, no one fell down, we had a good presentation. I hope we could show the spectators the beauty of the sport. What it is for me, this is my main function. On the other hand, sport needs drama and we had drama. We had the drama in the jump-off.
“The level in New Zealand is amazing. There is no difference between the European or New Zealand horses at that level, except there are more entries in Europe. I was asking the same questions at that level as I do in Europe.
“It was a fantastic show and a fantastic competition.”