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WoSJ Exclusive; Spruce Meadows - collectors of championship fences

Tuesday, 07 October 2014

Jon Garner - Competition Manager at Spruce Meadows. All photos by Jenny Abrahamsson.Spruce Meadows has a big collection of fences from different championships and Olympic Games - all the way back to the Olympic Games in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Jon Garner is Competitions Manager at Spruce Meadows and thus responsible for all the fences.

"We decide during the championships which fences we would like. Sometimes the designer and the organizers donate the fences - which is really nice! Now a lot of the designers and organizers know we have a collection. They like the idea of something they designed to stay here and going to keep getting used. Sometimes we can chose what fences we like and sometimes the organizer wants to keep some fences. For example in London we asked about the double decker bus but they really wanted to keep it. We are really thrilled with the ones we got though, they are iconic of London. And we want the fences to be obvious from where it came from."

The bike is from the World Equestrian Games in Den Haag in 1994. 

Spruce Meadows has seven grass rings and every ring has its own inventory and own storage of fences. In total there are about 5 000 rails.

The coins are from the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004.

"We are constantly painting. As soon as the jumps comes out from the Masters we will start to get them refurnished, painted and fixed before the winter hits and the indoor season starts. The championships jumps are the tricky one because you really want to keep the integrity of them."

Beezie Madden and Simon jumping the Rushmore fence from the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.

"What I found really cool is when you have riders that have ridden in a particular championship it is almost like they see an old friend again when they see the jumps. It is nice, they carry a story. What I hope and I think we are getting close too, is that we one day can build a course out on the international ring purely on championships jumps - that would be pretty neat!"

The wall from the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

"The older fences are very heavy so mostly we use the wings and the fillings. With the international ring being so big most of the modern material don't fit in here, they get lost. That is the biggest reason why we stick with the 5 m poles."

This fence from the World Equestrian Games in Normandy arrived during the Masters at Spruce Meadows.

"The championship fences is one of many things that make Spruce Meadows unique. I understand that other organizers want to keep their look but I  think that Spruce Meadows is  international and it is about the globe as much as it is about Calgary and Canada. You want to embrace that and I think it shows our local fans how well spread this sport is."

Another fence from the recent World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

The tower bridge from the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

These beautiful butterflies are from the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm back in 1990.

Sydney's Opera house has also found its way to Spruce Meadows.

Big Ben stands in the storage waiting for it's turn to challenge the riders in the arena.

The storage room for the international ring is a walk down memory lane.

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