London 2012: Making It “As Good As It Gets”

NZB Land Vision | London 2012 Aim

With the eventing season drawing to a close, and the curtains firmly drawn on the World Equestrian Games stage, the next ‘really big’ competition to look forward is the London 2012 Olympics, so I thought I’d start a series of posts about the event. In particular I wanted to talk about the cross country course and the venue. So first of all, the cross country course.

Now, we’re constantly reminded that this is a sport built on the foundations of the volunteer workforce, after all our big 3-Day Events just wouldn’t run without the thousands of volunteers who sacrifice their time to man everything from the car parks to the media centre. With this in mind I have decided to volunteer to design the cross country course – what a good samaritan I am, and Sue Benson (the official course designer) is of course welcome to have some input, and borrow my ideas.

Every cross country course needs a theme, and there are of course two obvious themes; London itself and GBR – spiritual home of the 3 day event, so these will be my inspiration for my London 2012 Olympic Course. To begin with I will share fence, and fence combination ideas, and then once I’ve discussed the venue in more detail I’ll start to layout the course a little more. The reason for this will become apparent as I reveal more about the venue.

It’s understandable, with so few course designers working at this level, that ideas get recirculated, and we see the same designs (and “questions”) appear over and over again, but as this is ‘my first 4 star’ as a course designer, I’m hoping to inject something new, at least in terms of design, if not always ‘question’. The first and last fences on a course are almost always the same, year on year, and I find can become very dull, the last fence at burghley for instance. The fence is often photographed, in part because of the house in the house as a backdrop, but let’s see if we can make the fence, instead of the backdrop, the centre piece.

Tower Bridge:

The Final Fence For London 2012

To get us started here’s my last fence for the London 2012 course, Tower Bridge, the one the Americans thought they bought to rebuild in the middle of a desert. And this would be a wet fence, a water splash, and as the course unfolds you’ll hopefully begin to see more reasoning behind this, quite apart from the photogenic qualities. Using it as the last fence provides greater opportunity for photographs to be used of it as part of ‘over the last’ stories. The other thing to note here is that the finish would be almost directly after the fence to discourage flogging a tired horse over the last 100 metres, and encourage riders to ride the entire course with the time in mind (you’d be hard pushed to get a flog a horse towards this fence).

Ebbsfleet Station:

Possibly The First “Question” On Course

This next fence design would appear early on
the course (no jokes about the graphics please). Ebbsfleet, for those of you unaware is the new Eurostar station just outside London. I chose this station as there is a new 164ft statue of a white horse by this station, so we have both a London theme and a horsey theme in one. The two trains would be numbered A&B whilst the station awning would be separately numbered. There is one stride between the trains and 2 strides between train and station. The green circle is a dense tree that obscures sight of the last element until you are within the last stride, so a fence to be ‘in control’ at. A time consuming black flag alternative is provided for those that do overshoot. The statue of the horse, which in this case ,would be life size is not insignificant, and could spook some horses.

Over coming weeks and months I will share more of the fence designs, as well as a fair bit of discussion about the venue.

“We’re all volunteers and we’re all experts” [Author Unknown]

click ‘Volunteer Course Designer’ (below) for list of all related posts.

Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.

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