RIVER GLEN SUMMER HORSE TRIALS
Date: August 4th 2018
Running order of Divisions:
See Course Designers Evaluation sheet below
Intermediate – 16/2 (12.5%)
Preliminary A– 12/9 (75%)
Preliminary B– 11/6 (55%)
Open Training – 15/10 (66%)
Preliminary/Training – 5/0 (0%)
Training – 15/5 (33%)
My first reaction when I received the draft course plan for the Intermediate Division, for this Event, was how quick, on paper, fences 3/4/5ab and 6 came up. Unless you have a very wide arena, fences on the end can have short approaches, especially when the previous, and the next fence, are at right angles to that end fence.
I like to allow a minimum of at least three strides after landing before the horse starts to turn. Another 60 feet should be allowed in the turn, and then give the horses at least another three or four strides to a straight approach to the next jump. Then horses need another three to four strides to get balanced after landing, another 60ft in the turn and further three or four strides to approach the next jump. All of this providing the fence on the end of the arena is a vertical and the following fence it is just a single fence. In this case the end fence was a vertical but the fence after it was an oxer/vertical double.
It also meant that both combinations were to be jumped off the same lead. While there is no rule to say that you should jump combinations off different leads, you do end up asking the same question. In addition, it also meant that only three jumps were jumped off the left lead.
The Course Designer followed my suggestion of moving the double up to fence 6 and approaching it off a slight left bending line. This answered all the above concerns as it now made the turn from the end fence a little easier. Two more efforts were now jumped off the left lead and the combinations were approached on different leads, giving a much better balance to the course.
Fence 4 was removed for the lower Divisions so this made this section of the course less technical.
The other slight un-balance of the course was that it was planned to have eight vertical efforts compared to only five spread fences. On the day fence 8 became an oxer so that balance was rectified.
For the Training Divisions one part of the double was removed, with competitors only jumping a triple combination as is required when you use a triple in this Division. Appendix 1 in the Rule Book for the Training Division states: “The show jumping course must include either (i) two doubles; or (ii) simple triple combination in the second part of the course with only one oxer. If the oxer is at the “b” or “c” parts of any combination it should be set on two strides” I have often been asked what constitutes ‘simple’. Basically, it means that there should be no related fences before or after it, preferably it should be going home. I would also ramp any oxer and use normal distances. It is advisable not to include a triple until later in the season. However, this is all very subjective and each Course Designer will put its own interpretation on this, which can create confusion and controversy.
At the moment Appendix 1 requires the doubles in the Novice Divisions to be set on two strides. This is to accommodate any ponies or short striding school master horses in these Divisions. There has been discussion that a triple combination in the Training Division is a big ‘move up’ for novice horses that have only jumped a two stride double in competition. Now we have the Modified Division, this would be a better place to introduce the triple combination in competition and I would have to agree.
It was interesting to read on the Evaluation Sheet sent in by the Course Designer (below) the following: ‘Although the rails down were spread among several jumps, I would try and change the #3 either in placement or design as it seemed to be the nemesis for its fair share of riders’. Occasionally we will get what is often called a ‘bogey’ jump. However, the actual ‘bogey’ fence is not always the one that keeps coming down as it could be caused by the previous jump (triple bar?) or the distance from it. Riders can also get concerned about the fence if it is faulted by earlier competitors in a Division and then they end up ‘overriding’ it and therefore causing it to become more difficult than it necessarily is.
It is important that the Course Designer observes how the course is riding, as in this case, and not be afraid to make adjustments to the track between Divisions if they think it would improve it.
USEF Eventing Show Jumping Course Advisor