Alec Lochore: 2 weeks to go

With just a couple of weeks to go until the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship we are in the final countdown. The team and I have a full on few weeks before we welcome you all to the beautiful Blair Castle on 10-13 September. 

The team at the Horse Trials office at Blair Castle have been beavering away and working very hard on all aspects of the event. The first contractors arrived at Blair Atholl last Monday and we can now see the first set of marquees and some trade stands already positioned on site. After all these months of preparations it’s great to see the site coming alive.

The cross country course is covered in lush green grass, which in itself is a challenge.  The summer has as those up here will know been indifferent and is actually the wettest on record.  The conditions however have been excellent for grass growing and we literally mow the course and Arena every other day with the strimmer burning through cord at an alarming rate.  It is on these occasions that I wonder how we would ever have coped and certainly kept the grass at a sensible length without the wonderful Toro mower – not only a pleasure to drive but also extremely efficient!

Our Course Builder Peter Wilson and his team have been sanding and painting the wooden carvings to decorate the fences which are now starting to be placed on the course – a further relief to have our Lely tractor with huge wide turf tyres which don’t damage the ground and which has made this job so much easier and tidier.

As Event Director I have been conducting on-going budget reviews and working with all of the organisations and teams involved to confirm final areas of the event.  As usual budgeting is high on my agenda to ensure we are heading in the right direction, which includes lots of excel sheets!

This week we hosted our Media gathering at Blair Castle to promote the Championship which gave our local media the chance to find out more information about the event and Ian Stark’s cross country course.

I have also just returned from Rio, Brazil as part of my role as Technical Delegate for the Rio 2016 Olympics, where we held the test event over the first week in August.  The event went well and the venue looked good – there is still much to do (as there was one year before London!) but the venue is a beautiful location and the facilities are shaping up well.  There were many familiar faces there in an observers capacity and largely everyone went away happy and confident that the equestrian venue for Rio is going to be a great venue for the equestrian sport at the 2016 Olympics.

On another note, I had a special delivery of a pallet of Pol Roger champagne, unfortunately the only place they could fit it was in my office! Delivering a pallet of the finest champagne to any Horse Trials office 6 weeks before an event sit firmly on at one end of the spectrum between Generous and Optimistic!

The Official Joules collection also arrived in the office and the shirts and jackets etc for Blair 2015 has been launched online; take a look at the new Blair collection here

Dust down your 2012 flags and bunting, grab your friends, and prepare to roar, show some of the unrestrained patriotic fever we had in London – let the athletes know you are there….  Head for the hills, all roads lead to Blair – where will you be?!