I went along for a few hours on Saturday for the cross country for a little camera practice, and would definitely be very pleased to run round the CCI* course here with my next horse. The going and the fences were great, but most impressive was the cool down/wash down facilities they had laid on, which included an open sided tent complete with cooling mist fans, plus an endless supply of water and ice.
Have a good look through the results for the three classes (link below) and you’ll notice that each class had it’s far share of retirements, eliminations, and faults. The one star caused the biggest disruption with an hour’s delay when the first horse fell, and various fence repairs and safety pin replacements slowed progress throughout the day. These were not easy courses to navigate cleanly.
The 2 star course I thought was particularly strong, but at this time of year are very interesting to watch as you start to spot up and coming horses with potential. I particularly liked Dirk Schrade’s grey horse (above), which had the unenviable task of restarting after a hold on course from the very tricky water fence (left) that stopped quite a few in their tracks, and had many others ‘hailing cabs’ on the way over. The class was eventually won by Vittoria Panizzon on the popular grey mare, Borough Pennyz with Lucinda Fredericks & The Navigator a close second.
As you’d expect the CIC*** was full of the big names in the sport, many of them warming up their rides for Autumn’s bigger events or the European Championships in a few weeks time. This CIC was technical and twisty, winding up and down the sloping hill that forms the centre piece of the track, but with one of two galloping stretches. The first combination fence (right) was two triple brush fences which looked easy enough, and they rode pretty well, but their position perched up on a narrow ridge of raised ground with a final landing on a downward bank meant that if your horse didn’t lock onto that second element it was very costly in time and energy to represent, and I spotted Irishman, Michael Ryan fall foul of this. As a course designer, if you were feeling generous you might have put an alternative B element down on the flat round, as it was almost impossible to retake the B element.
The early water at fence six spooked a few of the greener advanced horses too, with it’s built-in water cascade that glistened in the sunshine. Overall I think this fence faired well and the two following elements in the water complex provided some great photos.
The class was eventually won by Chris Burton on Tempranillo, who were the only pair to finish on their dressage score. I didn’t see them go round, as I had to dash, but I was very pleased to see my favourite 4 star grey, Mr. Cruise Control, sail round, to eventually take 4th place.
All in all this is a great event held at an outstanding venue, and I would definitely recommend a visit. Sadly this year’s event was marred by a serious incident where Tom Rowland collided with car at a road crossing. Thankfully early reports are both horse and rider are fine. I didn’t see the incident, so can’t comment.
I’ll leave you with a few other favourite photos of the day: