Date: 24th March 2017
Running order of Divisions: CIC 2*, 3*, 1* in a different arena
Arena: 2* and 3* on grass, 1* on all weather footing
CIC3* – 52/22 (42%)
CIC2* – 60/20 plus I with a time fault (35%)
CIC1* – 49/14 plus 3 with time faults (35%)
This arena has quite a substantial cross-country jump in it, known as ‘Stonehenge’. This can be a distraction to both the horses and the show jumping course designer. However, the latter can take advantage of it in offering some options around it, as part of their track.
This course designer has a trademark of creating a number of very successful ‘alternatives’ within his show jumping courses. Riders, after jumping fence 8, a liverpool oxer, in both the Two and Three Star could turn right and go around a car and then jump another liverpool, or turn left and jump a plain vertical, but this way had the distraction of the cross-country jump. There was very little difference in the distance of either track. In the end, approximately 75% in the Three Star and 60% in the Two Star took the left option.
The use of ‘Alternatives’ in the show jumping track is the prerogative of the course designer and they can chose to make the distance much the same but offer other distractions, as here. Otherwise, a shorter route, which should always be the measured track, to a more difficult fence can be offered, with the option of a longer, but safer route, which has the chance of obtaining time faults, in the same way as ‘black flag’ fences on a cross-country course.
It is interesting to note that there were no time faults in the Three Star. There was a long gallop to fence 7 and numerous changes of direction which could be ridden quite efficiently. This may have had a contribution to the lack of time faults. The Two Star’s time allowed was shortened by 6 seconds after the third competitor, which could indicate that the tracks were measured a little generously in the first place. However, this was a grass arena which does not always have the same traction as an ‘all weather’, so quite rightly the course may have been measured with this in mind.
The use of the Triple Bar as the first fence in the Two Star makes for a different approach to the start of the course than normal. Changing fence 3, from an oxer to a triple bar for the Three Star, would have made the line to fence 4 ride a little differently than in the Two Star Division. This shows a good use of this type of fence.
Although the first two fences were different in the Two and Three Star, and an additional last fence was added in the Three Star, the main part of the course was the same. This did not really change the technicality of the tracks. The Two Star, as stated by the course designer on his Evaluation sheet, would have benefited by reducing some of the changes of direction in the centre of the course, which in turn would have reduced the similarity.
The One Star was held in a different arena, which allowed for a completely different course. However, there were only 5 oxers compared to 8 verticals, which was not a good balance. Changing the last fence to an oxer would have improved this course.
USEF Eventing Show Jumping Course Advisor
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