Dressage is now completed and we get to the real meat of eventing, the cross-country! When I am asked what is the best part of eventing, my reply usually goes something like this, “I like dressage, but if that was my favorite, I would be a dressage rider and I like show jumping, but if that was my favorite, I would be a show jumper. The reason we really do eventing is for the cross-country!!!”
The course has been drying out by the minute thanks to some light winds and sunshine today and actually looks to be better going than I expected. There is still quite a bit of water in both the coffin and the sunken road. I hope that that those jumps stay on the course without too much modification, because they both contribute to the “meat” of the course. Of course, the safety of the horse and rider are always first concern and I am sure any precautions necessary will be taken. This year the course is not particularly big or overly technical but there is still plenty to do. Great places to watch will be the first two water jumps and the signature Rolex fence, the head of the lake. The head of the lake will have large crowds of spectators around it and this alone can be a huge influence on the less experienced horses reaction to the fence. The jump in and across to the frog is mild, but is followed by a sharp left turn where the horses my lose momentum to a very large set of rails back into the water. From here, the riders will need to organize to an angled line of ducks in the water. The Land Rover hollow is another typically influential fence situated about 3/4 of the way around the course where some horses may be beginning to tire. The huge drop in is followed by 4 strides to an arrowhead and up the hill to another narrow cabin. Riders will want to be sure to get their horses organized quickly from the drop to ride the lines coming out.
Spectators should be sure to walk around the entire course and see at least one horse jump each fence. You can really appreciate the size of the jumps and speed and power of the horses by being up close. After going around the course, I like to park near one of the jumbotrons in the infield where you can see a lot of what is going on plus see the jumps near you live.
After the cross-country action, be sure to check out the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup at the Alltech arena. I just watched some of it tonight and it looks really exciting! Myself, along with David and Karen O’Connor will be participating in the celebrity reining! Woohoo, cant wait!!!