London 2012: Cross Country Course – The Olympic Cascade

As this is the Olympics and I’m a volunteer, I have no budgetary restraints, and this fence will require a fair bit of ground work but will provide a legacy feature for the park post games. The majority of water complexes used on 3 day event courses tend to be still ponds or lakes, and most jumping elements are reworked themes, with slight variations. One of the interesting uses of water I have seen, was at the Punchestown 2003 Europeans, where aqueducts were used, sadly only for decoration, the other water fences were quite spectacular as well and did cause one or two problems.

Riders Descend A Series of Cascading Pools

This water complex is 5 pools over lapping like the olympic rings, each pool is about 4 horse strides across (excluding overlaps). “A” is a solid stone and timber fence dropping in to the highest pond. “B” is an open rail dropping into the next pond. C,D & E are straightforward steps down, dropping in height as you descend through the pools. As the name suggests there is water cascading down through the pools. Each pool is relatively shallow, with clear running water and a coloured stone bed, different colours for each pool. The lower pool is the maximum depth and there is a biggish step out onto rising ground.

The circular shape of these ponds, and the shallow water, should allow riders to ride this complex with some gusto, adjusting strides easily by the line they take through the pools. Two things that riders will need to appreciate from the horses’ prospective are; clear water is a completely different experience for horses, particularly flowing water and with brightly coloured stone in the bottom. Cascading water is rarely seen else where, particularly when you’re jumping down it. The lowest pool will be deeper than the rest, they’ll need to have the horse properly balanced going in or it may just assume it’s the same depth as the others and could stumble. A line towards the outside of the pools should allow plenty of speed through the complex. and this should provide a great spectator spot, and there should be plenty of scope to decorate this complex in a variety of ways. I might be tempted to put this in the first third of the course.

More fences to come…..
If you’re wondering what this post is all about see:
Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.


  1. Yes, I will be volunteering, but I very much doubt I'll have any involvement in the cross country course. I just thought I'd add my 'tuppence worth' as I spend a lot of time walking some of the big tracks these days, and I have a few opinions!

  2. This reminded of the "champagne" fence at Aton Park Horse Trials a long time ago run by Tony Cuthbert, also of the Lucy House fame, for Lucy Thompson when her horse woudn't jump the last fence at Badminton with the roof on top, so he built her one on course specially. Does anyone else have fond memories of this, or other events like that? The event was sponsored by Piper champagne,

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