Now in his third year of designing the CIC3* course at Carolina International, Ian Stark has upped the ante for the 2018 running of the event. In reversing the direction of the track to allow for better use of the terrain and footing at the Carolina Horse Park, Ian has also created new questions to keep horses and riders on their toes.
The course starts with three galloping fences to get horses and riders into a rhythm before the first question on course at the hollow at fence 4. In years past this combination has only contained an A-B element, and Ian has added a C element for 2018. The direct route has riders jumping an angled log at fence 4A, then over a narrow log at B and down into the hollow before emerging over a narrow brush at C. Ian intends his courses to be ridden in a bold, open stride, and this first combination demands a forward ride.
Riders will then kick on to another combination at fence 5, two angled rolltops, before taking a tour through the woods to the coffin at fence 7, which features a narrow brush as the C element. The next combination comes at fence 10, with riders jumping uphill through a keyhole set over a ditch for the A element, then kicking on up the hill to a white gate at B, which is pinned with frangible technology.
A beefy ditch and wall at fence 11 brings horses and riders to the first water complex. Riders have jumped in over the trakehner at this water complex over the past two years, and this year the imposing trakehner serves as the final element. On the direct route, horses and riders will jump in over a hanging log, then kick on in a forward three strides to a right-pointed brush corner, before making their way up the hill to the trakehner.
From there riders go back through the woods, with the next combination of a log pile to an open oxer coming at fence 15. Ditchy horses will almost certainly take a look at fence 17A, an airy angled brush set over a ditch, with three strides set on a slight uphill incline to a brush as the B element. In this new reversed direction, the vast majority of the track is un uphill pull, making it a fantastic opportunity for a fitness run early in the season.
The second and final water complex comes at fence 19, where horses and riders will jump in over birch rails at A, then jump up the bank at B with one stride to an angled brush at C. It’s then on to the Tobacco Barn and the final question on course: a set of right-pointed open corners on a left-hand bending line. This is set to ride well on a forward four strides, but as a challenging question set as the penultimate fence on course, the open corners will almost certainly catch out some combinations.
The CIC3* course is 3,900 meters in length with an optimum time of 6 minutes, 51 seconds. Click here to view the course map. Cross country will stream live on Saturday on EQSportsNet. Read all about the cross country powerhouses in the field in EN’s CIC3* analysis. Click here for all the details on how to watch live. Go Eventing.