|German Coach, Chris Bartle | Walking The Lines|
Day 2 of eventing dressage at the World Equestrian Games is over, a few surprises in the scores, and I honestly didn’t think so many would score well into the 30s, but not really that surprised at those in the top 5, except perhaps the number two, just a little disappointed the British didn’t get a little higher up. The team competition though is all about a good solid allround performance, which the Brits have achieved and are currently in 2nd going into the cross country, but the Germans have a good lead on us, and the Swedes and Australians are only a few points behind (see team scores).
Karin Dockers is one of the best riders we’ve had in Europe in recent years, and I have to say I completely over looked her as I hadn’t bothered looking up this horse’s form, but she’s currently lying in fourth on 38.8, a decent improvement in dressage over the last year.
So the gaping chasm between the Germans (they have all 6 riders in the top 15!) and the British is why I said this is the most important phase, in an earlier post. This 14pt lead provides both a good physiological boost, and allows Chris Bartle and the Germans to look at riding the best lines tomorrow, not necessarily the riskiest and fastest lines. Jumping cleanly over these cross country fences will become vital by Sunday, as clear rounds on Sunday will secure the medals. Just watch the Australians and New Zealanders, they’ll be be riding a slightly risker line throughout the course, particularly if the time looks unachievable.
|The Cross Country Course Is Well Watered But….|
I’ve only ever been to Kentucky for Keenland Sales, and working on a stud, so never walked the Rolex course, and whilst I understand it is a little undulating, I don’t think misreading the terrain is going to be the issue for medal contending nations that causes time faults and tiredness. It will be how the lines are ridden, as this, I believe, will be the key to conserving energy and making the time.
|The XC Warm-up | Watering Over Looked!|
Fences like number 13 will be the ones that sap energy, if not ridden with rhythm. What’s really clever about this course is the use of water to slow the horses down, and then just adding a ‘vicarage vee’ two fences from home! This [fence 26] I think will be the fence that a few just say “I’m out!” For me, fence 12, will be the one that catches a few unexpected riders out. As you will probably have seen, the organisers have gone to great lengths to keep the course well watered in these extremely dry conditions, but I know that a fair number of riders have been particularly disappointed to see the XC Warm-up area has been over-looked, and is rock hard. I hope for the organiser’s sake, the riders don’t send Andrew Nicholson forward to express their disappointment!
There are just 10 points separating the top 15, that’s about 4 seconds on the cross country, so expect some adventurous rounds. There really are too many ‘one’s to watch’ to list, so just watch the lot.
Time to ditch the stove pipes, and don the ridiculous bibs…..let’s off road!
(I’ll hunt around for some links to others’ thoughts on cross country to add here)