Logistics are as much of a problem as the sport for four-in-hand drivers competing at the World Equestrian Games, especially when they are father and three sons like the team for the Czech Republic. Packing is a headache for Jiri Nesvacil and his boys, living 200 kilometres apart. “When we travel it looks like a small circus – well, not so small, in fact”, says the 55-year old farmer who influenced his three boys with his ambitions.
At his second World Equestrian Games the head of the family has two sons, Jiri junior and Radek, competing with him. The third son joins in as the groom for his own team. Travelling light is not the way to go for any four-in-hand-driver. The Nesvacil family takes fifteen horses for three teams and seven carriages, one each for dressage and cones, another much sturdier one for the marathon. “We share the one for training,” they decided to save much needed space. Add 24 harnesses, taking up approximately ten cubic metres, 30 rugs, boots, bell boots to protect the horses’ legs, grooming equipment and you have a big picture of what needs to be fitted into three trucks for five horses each and three large trailers, each 18 metres long. “The packing took a while”, says the patriarch who obviously enjoys being with his three boys. “They are all very good and listen to my advice.” Thirty-three year old Radek is quick to translate his father’s words: “That means he doesn’t know which one to spank first.”
The trip from home at the two locations of Kladruby stud where Jiri junior and Radek work and took their horses from and the family farm was interrupted in Holland at coach and con-competitor Theo Timmerman’s place where the Nesvacil family had one week of final preparation and training. Therefore two tons of horse feed and five large bales of hay had to be packed as well to last for a while.
The family and their entourage of 18 people – six grooms per team - are travelling camping style, taking provisions and tents plus mobile furniture to establish their homa away from home in the living quarters of the driver’s village at La Prarie Racecourse. “In the end this is what’s important: it all needs to fit into the trucks.”
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