Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Newsletter 143 and Pikarere ride-flyer published

While we're wrapping up the calendar year, the WATRC season continues full speed ahead. our last newsletter for 2010 is available to download and we have ride fliers for the next ride at Pikarere, and the rescheduled Maymorn ride at the end of January.

We hope you get lots of fine days to go riding over the festive season, and hope to see you fit and well and ready to ride at our first event in 2011.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Battle Hill photos uploading over-night

You'll find a link to the last ride before Xmas on the photos page as usual. The upload will complete in the small hours of Tuesday and sometime during the day I'll apply the tags, select the cover shot, and remove the progress image.

That's it now until Pikarere in January - we're expecting a newsletter and ride flyer in the next few days, so check back on the website or watch your email.

Have a safe and happy Xmas and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Foxton Photos published

I didn't think I was going to make it before Battle Hill, but I did - Foxton photos are now on-line and I've cleared my back-log, at least for a day!!

Along with others from WATRC, I attended the funeral of Gabrielle Deuss on Thursday. On our behalf, Eunice Tyler paid tribute to Gabrielle's contribution to equestrian sport, along with representatives from other organisations with whom Gabrielle has been associated.

The most moving tributes were given by her family and I'm sure all of us who know the Deuss's will support them through this time.

Battle Hill tomorrow has a new extension for the Intermediate and Open riders. The shorter distance remains much as it was, traversing the farm and the extended Puketiro Loop, while the longer distance covers a new section of private land stretching along the tops towards Flighty's Road. This should help take some of the sting out of what's always been a challenging ride as past extensions have often involved additional steep hill-climbs.

This is the last ride of the calendar year and is always popular despite the challenging terrain.

Hope to see you there, somewhere on the trail.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Gabrielle Deuss

With sadness we learned over the weekend of the passing of Gabrielle Deuss after a long illness.

Gabrielle and the Deuss family are long time members of WATRC and supporters of CTR and Endurance riding in the Wellington and Wairarapa areas.

WATRC has sent condolences on behalf of members to the Deuss family, husband Eberhard and children Kirstin, Felix and Tessa.

A celebration of Gabrielle's life will be held on Thursday 9 December at 2 pm

Cornwall Manor
Cnr Knights Road and Cornwall St
Lower Hutt

IMG_EOS 400D DIGITAL2008096922

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Wainuiomata Photos on-line

The Wainuiomata set is smaller than usual, reflecting on the one hand the smaller size of the field, and on the other the shorter time your photographer was out on the course. I haven't worked out whether I got shots of everyone or not - the course layout and my limited time meant I got only as far as the second loop start point for the Open and Intermediate riders, but at least that was a point that every rider had to pass at least once, so the chances are if you saw me, I saw you.

A challenging ride and whatever else you may have thought of it, you have to admire the locals and their horses for whom this terrain and similar is their normal training and recreation venue. Magnificent views as promised, and a handy location for the more southerly based competitors.

I've now started on the Foxton set - I doubt it will be complete before the Battle Hill ride, but I'm hopeful that both will be available before Xmas - Foxton is another big set, and I expect Battle Hill will be too as it's the last ride of the calendar year and hosts our Rhona Fraser Challenge event.

While Battle Hill is another challenging ride with the long climb and descent of the Puketiro Loop track, we're hoping this year to use trails on neighbouring private land to provide the extensions to the course. Having seen some of the trails that are likely to be used, I'm hopeful that these will enhance this course and encourage more competitors to try the longer classes.

Hope to see you there.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Pukemarama Photos published - Last minute Foxton course update

Photos from Pukemarama were uploaded overnight and the finishing touches applied this morning. Still backlogged on Wainuiomata and about to compound my problems with Foxton tomorow, but we're getting there slowly.

A technical hitch while out and about on the Pukemarama trail has resulted in shots of a couple of pairs of competitors being of much poorer quality than I aim for, but I was able to salvage at least a record of their appearance - we'll aim to do better for them at Foxton.

We're passing on last minute advice of further revision to the Foxton course, dropping the distance a couple of kilometers per loop (so now 36 km for Open and Intermediate, and 18 km for other classes) and times have been adjusted accordingly. This is just one of those things that can happen - our rides are often on private land and the needs of a working farm take precedence. We owe a vote of thanks to Aimee and Sandy for their long hours spent scouting, marking, measuring, and then modifying and re-measuring this course - it will be an excellent ride and to judge by the pre-entries received (69) you all think so too.

Please remember to confirm your finalised ride times and distances when you register your entries at the desk - the times and distances published on the website and in the newsletter are only a guide, and the ground jury may alter a course after publication for safety reasons or to accommodate the wishes of the land owner.

See you there.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Foxton Course update

With measurment and marking of the Foxton course now compelete we have revised distances and times posted in the calendar and emailed to members and pre-entered competitors.

For completeness, we include the information here for the benefit of our readers.

Novice - 20 km (2 hrs 30)
MBT and Junior - 20 km (2 hrs)
Intermediate - 40 km (4 hrs)
Open - 40 km (3 hrs 20)

Hope to see you all there

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Newsletter 141 and Wainuiomata results published

Hard on the heels of last night's release of photos, results, and ride flyers we have the latest news and results from Sunday's ride at the new Wainuiomata venue.


Monday, 15 November 2010

Waikawa photos, Pukemarama results, Battle Hill ride flyer

It's taken a while to get through the Waikawa Beach set, but finally the photos are online and linked.

The Pukemarama ride results have been checked and confirmed and posted tonight.

A ride flyer for Battle Hill (12 December) has been received and posted on the site.

Details for the up-coming Foxton ride are also posted. Check the Calendar for details.

It's all happening at last.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Season started - Waikawa Beach results - Wainuiomata ride flyer

At last - things were looking a bit bleak for a few weeks there, but finally we're under way and I can stop talking about the "first ride of the season", referring to a different venue each time !!

As usual, the Waikawa Beach venue has proven very popular - a large field and lots of folks taking advantage of the flat, fast terrain to try the next level up - 8 entries in Open is a very good turn-out - well done those who took the plunge.

We're now off to a good start, with Newsletter 140 published along with Waikawa results, and a ride flyer for the new Wainuiomata venue.

Pukemarama, also a new venue is reportedly a wonderful location and the trail has been marked and measured and checked. This will be another fast flat ride, but conditions underfoot will be much firmer as the ground has dried after the early season flooding.

If you're intending to take advantage of the camping facilities at the venue, please note that our hosts have requested that you arrive after 4:00 pm on Saturday.

Also, take a moment or two to programme the new club cellphone number 022 023 4914 into your phones - we'll use this number to post messages giving advance notice of any cancellations, as well as a using it as a ride-base contact number for emergencies during our events, but do note that this is subject to network coverage.

Oh - photos - I'm battling through them but with rides 3 weekends in a row, I am definitely going to have a backlog and there will be some delay in getting them posted - as soon as they're available they'll be posted and I'll set up the usual link from the club site.

See you at Pukemarama

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Waikawa Beach pre-entries close 8 p.m. Friday 29 October

Through an oversight, the pre-entries closure date for the postponed Maymorn ride was not updated when the Calendar page was updated for Waikawa Beach this Sunday. My apologies for this. If you know anyone who thought they couldn't enter because of this, please let them know that pre-entries are still open and we're keen to have them join us.

Meanwhile, we await favourable weather for Sunday with bated breath - while it's not unheard of for our rides to be postponed or cancelled due to the weather or the ground conditions at a venue, it's always a great disappointment to us. Rest assured, the decision to cancel a ride is not taken lightly.

We're investigating the feasibility of setting up a club phone with voicemail greeting so that if the weather's a bit suspect, you can check the status of the ride before committing to the journey. Of course, if you're leaving early the day before for one of our more distant venues, you may need to check while on the road - while we'll update the status as early as possible you still need to use your own judgement when conditions are marginal.

At this stage, the MetService 10 day forecast is looking quite favourable for Sunday - it's just a matter of timing - if the predicted southerly clears on Saturday, we're in for a wonderful beach ride on Sunday.

Hope to see you there.


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Maymorn postponed due to MetService Severe Weather Warning

With considerable regret, our organisers have decided to postpone the Maymorn ride that was scheduled for Sunday 17 October. A severe weather warning issued at 11:13 am on Saturday describes the deteriorating conditions as likely to be hazardous for driving, and we really don't want you towing your horses under those conditions.

At this stage we're uncertain when the ride will be rescheduled - availability of venue and organisers is yet to be determined. We'll keep you posted.

You can keep abreast of the severe weather updates on the Met Service website.
MetService Severe Weather Warning

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Newsletter 139 published - rescheduled Pukemarama confirmed for 7 November

Here we are again - after one false start (hopefully the only one for the year, fingers crossed) the WATRC competition year is about to get under way with the always popular Maymorn ride. No doubt you've all made what use you could of the dry spells in the last 2 weeks to further hone your horse's training. The weather this spring has certainly been a challenge, unless you're a duck !

Ride flyers are now available for Waikawa Beach (31 October) and the re-scheduled Pukemarama (7 November). This year we've adopted the practice of including these in the calendar as a link from the ride so that you can find them easily. Of course, they're also included in preceding newsletters.

Our latest Newsletter reminds you to pre-enter for Intermediate and Open classes, and encourages you to introduce someone new to CTR.

So, we hope to see you and your mount at Maymorn, with a friend.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

First newsletter of the new season published

Our new editor, Nicky, has done a great job of compiling her first club newsletter of the 2010-11 season - sure to be the first of many.

It's membership renewal time again. The club's membership year runs from 1 August to 31 July. For rider and support combinations, the family membership rate is a great deal at $35. You can find a renewal form on our resources page.

If you've ever wondered how the club's awards are assessed, this newletter takes the mystery out of it, and if you've a hankering to get yourself in the running, this information will help you plan your competitive year, just as soon as we have the calendar finalised, of course.

On that topic, while the ride calendar still looks a little sparse, it's mainly because we have still to finalise available dates with our venue owners and event organisers. We expect to firm things up at the next committee meeting in early August.

However, the first ride of the season is now booked in. Pukemarama is another new venue for the club, but easy terrain similar to Waitarere (and probably similar to our Foxton champs venue, Bulls, and Manakau Farm) - fast and flat - just what's needed for a start of season ride as you're still working up to competitive fitness.

So, if you haven't started already, perhaps it's time to get a few winter training rides in whenever you can find a gap in the weather - just over 10 weeks to go ;-)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Greetings from Budapest

We're in an hotel with broadband internet for a couple of days so I've started to upload some more of the Waitohu photos while we have the opportunity. Unfortunately the ISP appears to be throttling my obviously excessive bandwidth usage, so things are proceeding rather slowly and it's unlikely the uploads will complete before we have to move on to our next destination, Munich.

It's been very hot through Austria and Hungary (30+) and we've mercifully had a thunderstorm this morning to cool things off - now the sun's come out again and it's hot and steamy! Hungarian beers are up to the challenge of dealing with this.

We've been watching the weather back home and noted the very cold temperatures - you have our sympathies - be consoled by the thought that we will be arriving back from a super-heated Europe via tropical Hong Kong just a day or two after NZ mid-winter - it's going to be a very rude shock ;-)

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that the photos have not been forgotten and will be delivered at the latest when we get home just prior to AGM.


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Greetings from Europe

Having made it safely from America to Europe without intervention by Icelandic volcanoes, I can report I've also made progress on the Waitohu set, at least in terms of selection. However, our current internet connection as we cruise on the Rhine does not have the bandwidth to upload the images (and I suspect the Flickr website is filtered as I can't access it at this time) so completion of the set will have to wait until we return home in the last week of June.

The weather here has so far been a little so-so - the locals tell us it's usually warmer this time of year (we were getting the same story in America) so it looks like being a long spring with a late start to summer here "up-over".

Saturday, 8 May 2010

News and Results following Waitohu: and greetings from America

It's an extraordinarily civilised country that recognises broadband access as a human right - no, not America, but France - the Americans I doubt ever expected to have to declare it - they just did it. Hence, we sit here in our RV (recreational vehicle - think "campervan") and check our email, note the latest news and results from Catherine, and what-the-hey update the website - after all it's most likely hosted on an American server anyway, and I guess we're closest ;-)

We're a couple of hundred miles (it's hard thinking in miles again after all these years of metric system) south of San Franciso on the coast at Morro Bay - about halfway to Los Angeles, although we're not necessarily headed there. The main thing bringing us this way (don't laugh) is the quest for a saddle!! About 20 miles inland from here is San Luis Obispo, seat of the county of the same name, and base for Longriders, with whom we've had some past dealings. And yes, again don't laugh, shopping has been on the agenda.

Longriders is in fact mainly an Internet business with only a small display stock, but enough to get those acquisatorial juices flowing - still no saddle, but chances are that will be our next direction setter - there's a saddlery a wee way south of LA that's been getting favourable murmurings ;-) Tonight will be spent planning our hops and stops for the remaining 2 weeks so that we get to see a few non-equestrian sights in amongst the other missions.

No progress to report on the balance of the Waitohu photos, sorry - they'll arrive in due course but probably not for a good while now.

Anyway - enough for now - we're on holiday ;-)

See you at AGM

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Part set of Waitohu Photos uploading

I'm running out of time before heading overseas, so I'll only get about half of the Waitohu photos uploaded before departing these shores for a couple of months. And while I'll have a laptop with me so might get time to do some more, realistically it's more likely that not a lot more will happen until I get home.

Sorry about this, but there's just too much to do before we go and not enough time to do it all. I'm hoping that I've at least got a shot of everyone who was on the ride, and when I finish the set there will be some more.

See you at the AGM

Monday, 26 April 2010

Waitarere photos uploading

The usual story - upload will proceed through the night. With luck it won't break down, and in the morning I can put the finishing touches to the set. Otherwise, sometime later tomorrow should see it done.

Just Waitohu to go now - I'll try to get that done before Leslie and I go overseas, but no promises - we've got a lot to do between now and then.

We'll be back in time for AGM - see you there.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Where's the photos of Waitarere ?

Er... yep... sorry... They are coming (as is Xmas) but I've had a hectic couple of weeks at work trying to wrap up some projects before Leslie and I take off overseas for a couple of months, and it's been hard to find time to do the edits. Even when I've had time I've been so knackered that I've made little headway.

However, progress is being made - not sure if I'll have the set up before Waitohu, but certainly before we leave.

Apologies for the delay but don't panic - it will happen ;-)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Photos from Foxton available online

Seems that some of you have already discovered this, but I thought I should probably blog it in case there are some of you who wait for the announcement (yeah, right ;-)

The large upload proceeded last night and worked without interuption (which is rare I have to say) and I was able to put the finishing touches to the set this morning and get the site links updated, but an early work engagement meant I had to leave the blog 'til later. It's a big set as predicted as the trail design allowed multiple opportunities to shoot each competitor - if I didn't get very many shots one time, I usually got more another. Also managed to get a few nice sequences of shots for some of you showing phases through your mount's pace.

You may have noticed the new filename prefix on the images - this indicates yet another camera upgrade - the "original" images are now 18 megapixels - the compressed JPG files are generally somewhere between 6 - 10 megabytes (average in the set is about 7.5MB) so just be aware of the size if you want to download for printing.

This is a grainier set than usual due to the overcast day and the high proportion of shots in forest. The 3200 ISO setting is pushing the sensor fairly hard, and I probably should have dropped it down whenever the opportunity presented. The smaller number of images shot at 800 and 1600 have turned out better (in open and sunlit conditions I usually shoot at 400 ISO). However, at screen resolution or for small prints, the effects should not be so noticeable - it's mainly when blown up to full size the graininess and fuzziness becomes obvious.

Anyway, enough of me wittering on about cameras and ISO and image qualities - I hope you enjoy the photos, and look forward to seeing you at Waitarere this coming weekend.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Championships results and Newsleter 134 published

Out today are the results from the Champs ride at Foxton. A great new venue and one we hope we can use again in future.

The latest newsletter was published today also, and in it the flyer for the next ride at Waitarere, and ever popular venue with flat terrain over farm and forest trails.

So, taking advantage of a site update opportunity, we've taken the next step in migrating to our new website host, placing notice of closure and an alternative link in our most prominent landing pages, and updating the navigation sidebar so that all sidebar links should now direct you to the equivalant page on the new website.

In fact, the migration of content is complete, and the remaining steps are all about moving you from the old site to the new one. If you have bookmarks or "Favourites" to the old site or pages in it, you'll need to update these before the end of June.

We haven't gone through the entire old website and updated every internal link to point it to the new site. If you've kept deep links to pages in our website you may still have some limited ability to navigate within the old site (until it dies), but once you land on the new site, its links should keep you there.

Still working on the photos from Foxton - the overcast day and lots of forest shooting means the images are often grainier, the focus softer, and the dynamic range lower due to the compromises one must make to get the shot. On the up-side however, the course layout was such that I covered all of it except for the loop over the sand hill, and I saw most competitors more than once, so there's lots of shots to choose from.

No ETA for the set, sorry, but I'm aiming to deliver before the next ride.

See you at Waitarere.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

"Hoofin' It Online", our website, is hoofin' it over to Google Sites

Over the past few weeks, we've been moving our website to Google sites. If you're a blog user, you already know this and the sidebar links in the blog already take you to the new site.

Now we think it's time to start everyone else moving, and our WCN hosted Home page is being updated to advise our regular users. Our other pages will be updated next, and our website navigation sidebar not long after.

While our old site will continue to exist up until 30 June, updates are likely to cease before then to encourage folk to make the move.

If you find broken or misleading links on the new site, please contact the webmaster so that we can get it fixed.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Turakina photos now uploaded

A bit of a false start when the computer rebooted in the middle of the night (shortly after I went to bed, of course), followed by curses in the morning and restarting the balance of the upload, followed by the finishing touches this evening - but it's done now.

Of course some of you haven't waited (good-on-ya) and will have found yourselves already (or not). If you were one of the folk who got in before the job was finished, take another look at the set - you may find yourself later on the trail.

We're now on weather watch for the coming weekend, hoping that early indications of rain are un-founded, or that things will change between now and then. Looking forward to it and hoping to see you all there.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Photos from Turakina uploading

Upload is in progress now and will run over-night. It's taken me so long to complete the first pass-through of the photos that I've chosen to upload now rather than delay further for a second pass - kind of a quality control and trimming exercise that we'll just have to forego this time. This means the set is quite large.

It was always going to be a fairly big set as I've included shots taken around the farm on the evening before the event, and the layout of the course meant many competitors passed me twice. There were also some great opportunities for getting a long sequence of shots on the more open parts of the course, so I've kept a larger number of shots where I had plenty to chose from.

On the website migration front (one reason for the delay in getting this set done) progress has been good, with the new site now running in parallel and the blog re-homed. The remaining tasks now are to update the club's email addresses published on both sites, and to review the blog for links to the old website and update these to the new site.

At some time in the near future now, the old site will start to carry notices of the move and the sidebar links will be updated to point to the new site. Once that is done, there will be very little incentive to continue to maintain the old site, and it will be left pending the closure of WCN hosting.

Anyway, next ride is the Club Champs at Foxton - a new venue for everyone, and we hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
If you're looking at this version of this blog entry, then that's where you are now.

Sidebar links will take you to our new site hosted by Google Sites.
Links embedded in the posts and archives will take you to our site hosted by WCN until such time as we either update those links or the WCN site is closed down.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

While our website is still in a transitional state from WCN to Google Sites, our blog is now where it ought to be, and where it will remain for the foreseeable future.

Blog migration tonight

There doesn't seem any point putting this task off any longer - it has to happen and now's good, so tonight's the night.

The old blog will continue to be hosted on the WCN site, but all updates and new posts will go to the version hosted on Once the migration has completed successfully, I'll update the sidebar links on both sites to point to the new location.

The way this all works, you should not notice any disruption to your access to the blog, but to get future updates you will need to resubscribe once to the new location. I'll signal when you should do this.

Fingers crossed we all make it to the other side ;-)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Change of dates for Waitohu and Waitarere events

We've just been advised that the Waitarere and Waitohu events will swap dates.

The calendars on WCN and on Google Sites have both been updated.

Waitarere will now be held on 11 April, and Waitohu on 25 April.

We trust this change will not disrupt your plans for those weekends and hope to see you at both rides.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Newsletter 133 and Turakina results online

The latest newsletter and results from the Turakina ride have been posted to the website. Photos from Turakina are still some days away as we navigate our way through a few more social events than we're normally accustomed.

What a fabulous venue is Cluny Farm - we missed it last year and it's really great to see it brought into the main calendar this year. A well designed course, well marked, and terrain varied enough to be interesting and a challenge, but not so tough as to be off-putting. Well done, Aimee and Brenda and helpers.

Some time before the end of March, I aim to have this blog moved off the WCN host and onto the host. That move will be followed fairly rapidly by the migration of the entire website onto Google sites.

There are a couple of drivers for this aggressive time table. First, as advised previously, is withdrawing suport for FTP publishing as of 1 May. Second, Wellington Community Network is ceasing to provide free hosting for community websites from 1 July. And third, Leslie and I will be travelling overseas for some weeks from early May. The hope is that by completing the migration by the end of March, it still leaves us April to iron out any glitches and get our back-up webmasters up to speed.

The Blog migration is expected to go fairly easily as have provided a migration tool to help with updating the blog and the hosting site. I anticipate having to change the main links from sidebars, and there may be a few embedded links that will break until I can track them down, but disruption will (I hope) be minimal.

The migration of the website will be a bigger exercise and may be a little more disruptive. Much of the new site has been built already in Google Sites, but there is still some work to be done. You're welcome to take an early peek at the new site. It's not that much different to look at than the old site in fact, but some links still take you back to content on the old site until the migration is complete.

Aside from the website URL changing (I suggest you bookmark the new site and the old one in the interim), the demise of WCN also means our email addresses for club officers will have to change. I'll be setting up the new addresses and placing them on both sites for the transition, but the old addresses will continue to work up until the day WCN pulls the plug. When you see the new addresses, I suggest you update the contact details in your personal address books.

For the time being we are maintaining the two sites, but a tipping point will be reached at which the main pages of the old site will carry advice that you should start to use the new site, and a link to take you there.

Please bear with us as we make the transition, and by all means let us know if something appears to be "broken" so that we can fix it.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Belmont Photos on Flickr

Belmont attracted only a small field of competitors, which was a pity really, as it's an excellent venue with well marked trails and fine views over the Wellington, Hutt and Porirua cities and surrounds.

It's a challenging ride with a few more than the usual number of climbs and descents, and this was compensated by allowing all classes additional time to complete the distance. The course layout was in the reverse of last year's and covered some of the same ground, dropping out parts and adding in a few new sections.

Despite the patchy and uncertain weather we've been having this summer, it was a very good day if a little breezy on the exposed tops.

The photo set was uploaded overnight last night and is now available through the photos page as usual, or direct via this link.

We do hope as many of you as possible will make it to the Turakina ride. This venue was a late addition to the season last year and got excellent reviews from those who were able to attend. This year it's been brought forward into the main season and promises to be a "not-to-be-missed" event.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Changes to WATRC website and Blog hosting coming soon

We've recently received notification of changes at that will affect us slightly. As you may have noticed, when you open our WATRC blog, you are still on the WATRC website. That's because, when we set up the blog, we've chosen an option to publish the website to our own web server rather than using a server. have announced the withdrawal of support for that option (FTP publishing) and will shortly be offering a tool to help existing FTP publishers to migrate to the servers. While we could do so pretty much any time now, we've decided to wait for the tool to see if it offers any benefits to us before making the move.

When we make the move, we'll make sure the links from our site are updated. If you have bookmarked the Blog you'll need to update your saved URL. If you subscribe to the RSS feed, you'll probably need to update that too. Aside from opening at a new URL, nothing much else about the blog should change, and it will deliver the same irregular and quirky updates as ever.

Of far more significance to us is the recently confirmed withdrawal of funding for the Wellington Community Network (WCN) by the Wellington City Council. The effect of this is that WCN will cease to operate, and we are now in the process of looking at alternative website hosting services that fit within our budget.

One alternative is free hosting on Google Sites, where you may stumble across an in-progress build of a "look-alike" WATRC site. This is not a done deal - more part of a "learn-by-doing" exercise for me as I work out what's involved in moving the site from it's current off-line site editor style maintenance to an on-line site editing basis.

So, this note is simply a "heads-up" to let you know that some site changes are coming and we're working to ensure that our website remains functional and serves our club through the transition - nothing to worry about here ;-)

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Brights Farm photo set uploaded

A smaller field than we've been accustomed to lately. Doubtless a few folk put off by the venue's reputation, and others by the undecided weather. Brights is certainly a tough ride with a lot of climbing and decending, and for the longer distances there's the psychological hurdle of doing it twice. Nonetheless it's a wonderful venue, and a worthy test of horse and rider.

With time at a premium, I headed out on the trail with riders initially catching me up, and then headed back against the flow and up the final hill. That way I could be assured of seeing everyone at least once, but still within easy distance of the base for when I had to get back. Of course, I tarried a while at the top after Leslie and Sharon had gone past so that I could catch a few more competitors, and then had to run down the hill and take a rather steep shortcut to get back in time, at the cost of one slip and painfully stiff muscles for the rest of the week - the things we do!

So now we watch and wait on the weather to see the outlook for Belmont. In the meantime, enjoy the photos from Brights.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Pikarere Photos on Flickr

Pikarere photos were uploaded earlier on Saturday, and I've just now completed the finishing to the set and update of the photos page. I have mixed feelings about the set. Although the day was comfortably cool, the major challenge was again low light, but this time compounded by fog and at times a very light drizzle (fog with lumps, you might say).

So, on the one hand I'm disappointed that the number of shots is well down, and I've had to compromise the standard yet again, while on the other hand pleased that I got as many as I did in spite of the conditions. So, mostly grainy and fuzzy shots, but a fair indication of the conditions.

I missed some of the later starters, sorry - in the hope that conditions might be better at sea level (they were not) I got to the beach, but then had to make my way back to base via the long intermediate trail, so if you hadn't made it to Liz's checkpoint by 10:40-ish, it was too late.

Anyway, as of today it's beginning to look like we might get a summer - let's hope it holds until Bright's Farm next Sunday. We're still waiting on final details for this event, but it shouldn't be long now.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Photos from Manakau Farm available on Flickr

Well, it all happened a bit faster than I'd expected (you have 2 days of liquid "sunshine" to thank for that) but after a delayed start I managed to complete the selection and get the Manakau selection uploaded last night. The set is now available to view on Flickr as usual.

Yet again, the conditions were a challenge with the overcast conditions dictating higher ISO, wider aperture, and slower shutter speeds. Consequently some images are again a little grainy and soft at the edges, or the depth of field may be quite shallow and the "in focus" area won't cover the whole subject, so if you're contemplating prints, do look closely at the "original" sized image and decide whether it will give you the results you want. While most look OK at normal screen resolution, enlarging to A4 might not always work out so well. It seems to be the story of the season.

The field was quite large, so with the main loop being extended and the number of loops reduced compared with last season, along with a tighter timeframe for me to get back to base for strapping, I chose an out-and-back strategy to maximise the likelihood of catching everyone at least once. An unfortunate injury for one of our competitors interrupted my return, and I think I definitely missed some folk at that point, but I was able to catch most of those at the end after our vetting was complete. If I did miss you, very sorry - luck of the draw.

We were very lucky with the weather - a few shots show some speckling from the light drizzel that fell around 10:30, but otherwise the rain gods smiled kindly on us for the day. At least the conditions were good for keeping the horses cool.

Looking forward to Pikarere, always a favourite venue not least because of its proximity to Wellington for many of us. It seems unlikely that the trail will be as dry and hard packed as it sometimes has been, but I'm guessing there may be a lot of long grass in some of the back paddocks, so that may slow folk down a bit on some of those untracked farm sections.

Hope to see you all out on the trail then.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Newsletter 129 posted

The latest newsletter has details of the Pikarere ride coming up on 24 January. This is a lovely venue and handily placed for Wellington riders. It is quite a testing trail with a long tough climb towards the end of the main loop. The long Intermediate is spared a 2nd climb of this hill, which rises from near sea level to about 200 meters, by doing a one-and-a-half loop trail.

There has been a venue change for 7 March - now Turakina, a new venue introduced at the end of the last season. This replaces Bulls, and while it may be a little further to travel, it's reputedly well worth the trip. The Calendar has been updated.

I've delayed posting the results from Manakau to the website - a minor formatting glitch has turned what could probably be 4 pages sheet into 8, with the placings disconnected from their results - a waste of trees if you intend to print. As soon as I have a reformatted version I'll upload it.

Photos are still a little way off - I'm working through the selection but have had a few diversions to contend with. They should be out before the next ride at the latest.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Funeral arrangements - Helen Bain

Published in Friday's Dominion Post, a celebration of Helen's life will be held in Cornwall Manor, corner of Knight's Road and Cornwall Street, Lower Hutt at 11:00 am on Monday January 4. The notice suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations to the Forest and Bird Society will be appreciated and can be posted to PO Box 631 Wellington or left at the service.