|WEG Cross Country | Expect Lots of These!|
Pictures have started appearing all over the web now of the World Equestrian Games cross country course for the eventing discipline, and at first glance of Horse & Hound’s pictures, which must have been taken some time ago, you think “ahh, this isn’t right up there with the trickiest”, but these photos were taken before ponds were filled and brush fences finished!
Then you hunt around and find a few more pictures from the last few days and you start to see that this course really is up there with Badminton and Burghley, as a true championship test, in particular the main water complex (part 1, part 2). I’m little disappointed to see a lot of ideas from those two course in here, but it still looks like big step up for many of the field so should be a corker to watch.
Now, I haven’t walked the course so can’t really provide a blow by blow, fence by fence account of how it might ride, and it may just be that the pictures don’t really demonstrate it very well, but the course looks pretty level, not too many hills to climb. Corners would seem to be a recurring theme throughout the course, with varying degrees of difficulty; under trees, on related lines, and the open corners that are proving popular since they caused so many errors at Badminton earlier this year. Lots of big table/spread fences are being used to break up the technical elements, and my least favourite; a whole string of animals to jump. I really don’t get why we have so many over-sized ducks, geese, pigeons, fish, and now frogs to jump on a cross country course, do you?
The main lake complex (see links above) has an angled brush into the water, very reminiscent of Burghley. There is also an almost 4ft climb out of the water, on to an island, to bounce over some rails. Apart from being a personal frightener, these ‘up the bank and bounce’ fences require precision striding, get it wrong and the horse stops dead, like this year’s dressage leader did at Badminton, or worse still, leaves a leg. I hope there’s frangible pins on the rails, and an alternative to this. For this reason it is also very important to get your approach and striding right to the fence, which considering it is in water, isn’t at all easy, so this whole complex needs to be ridden very carefully (but boldly) indeed. Phew! that’ll be exciting to watch…..
I’ll post more on the cross country course as I see, hear, and learn more about it…….
Here’s some great photos of the course from Eventing Nation
I’m very excited, can you tell?