Kate and I went on a dirt bike tour of the Carolina International CIC3* course during the lunch break while Sally madly typed away on her lunchtime update, which you should check out here. I snapped all the preview photos of the course from the back of the bike while trying not to punch Kate in the face. As we hinted this morning, Kate wore her helmet cam for the first ever EN helmet cam cross-country course preview video. We have to give a big shout out to the organizers here at Southern Pines, who were totally on board with the idea to strap a helmet cam on Kate and send her around the course. Thanks for being #fabulous, SoPo organizers! The chinchillas applaud your awesomeness.
Hugh Lochore has been a busy guy, designing the brand new course at Red Hills that debuted just two weeks ago before coming to Southern Pines to put his finishing touches on the three-star course here. There are several new elements on course this year, including the much anticipated Stonehenge complex — which looks fantastic — and Zoe’s Bank Complex, built in memory of eventer Zoe Di Giovanni. I have to apologize to Pam, as it seems I missed fence 16 — Pam’s Pole Spread — while snapping photos from the back of the bike. The good news is Pam will be making an appearance in Kate’s helmet cam tour of the course, which we’ll have uploaded for your viewing pleasure later today.
There are 26 jumping efforts in all, with two water complex and no ditches — much to Nyls’ delight. He’s not exactly a fan of the ditches since, you know, monsters live in there. The first real question comes at the Fox Lake Trellis Turn at fences 5ab, which requires an accurate line to two skinny tables, which are quite large. Lizzie’s Leap once again makes an appearance on course this year at fence 11, and it’s a spooky, big uphill ask that might surprise some of the first-time three-star horses. The Cloud Eleven Tidal Pool is a good question at this point in the season as many horses prepare for Rolex, and the big corner in the water at 21c will require a committed ride. And Tallwoods Tobacco Barn at 25a is a fun throwback to the golden days of eventing.
It’s a very fair course with some great questions, and it looks like we’ll have beautiful weather over the next few days, meaning good galloping come cross-country day. It’s an absolutely gorgeous day today, with temperatures climbing into the mid-60s and the sun shining brightly, and it’s great to see a lot of spectators out enjoying the dressage. If you’re here at Southern Pines throughout the weekend, be sure to snap photos and tag us via our brand new Instagram account — goeventing. Or tag us anyways no matter where you are in the world. Go Eventing.