Whether it’s sailing over cross-country jumps at Bromont or drunkenly smashing into them at Luhmühlen, you never know what’s going to happen next when you lead an opinionated stuffed animal into the start box.
Such was the case this afternoon at Richland Park. While Chinch’s reputation for being a schmoozy, outgoing sort of fellow precedes him, today he demonstrated that he also possesses stealthy ninja skills. See if you can find him lurking in each course walk photo — heaps of EN karma to anyone who can spot them all!
As for this year’s CIC3* course, it’s precisely the track riders will be looking for in advance of their autumn CCIs. In classic Ian Stark fashion, it’s a big, open, galloping gauntlet that will reward the riders who are coordinated enough to think and kick at the same time. Those who get the job done will be rewarded with horses who come off course feeling confident and ready to grab the rest of their season by the horns.
The reward for NOT getting the job done, on the other hand:
A few spots to watch:
The first combination, a brush down a slope to the turtle pictured above, shows up at #4 and should be a nice introduction to the more technical combinations on course. There’s a job-well-done oxer at #5, then the first water at #6 which should prove influential. The B-element vertical three strides in doesn’t invite a forward ride but riders will want to be positive to it to ensure a good jump at the C-element corner.
The sunken road at #9ABC is the next serious question, with a bounce down, a stride across, and the #10 corner coming up fast on the other side. A few galloping fences later, Ian has dug out the takeoff of the keyhole for a fun ditch-and-wall twist.
The double of corners at #15AB will require an accurate ride, of course, while riders should be able to gallop on to the offset ditch/rails at #18AB thanks to the combination’s well-defined ground lines. The final two combinations, the #20ABC water complex and #22AB offset cabins, will ensure that nobody lets their guard down at the end of the course.
The going is super and should (knock-on-wood) remain so until the FEI and Advanced divisions run on Sunday. There’s no rain in the forecast for tomorrow and even with a 60% chance of thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon the ground is ripe to handle it. With the stratospheric number of horses running at this year’s event, cross-country began today with the Training divisions and will continue tomorrow with Novice, Prelim and the CIC1* and CCI2*.
Alright, you furry figment of EN’s collective imagination, let’s play some CIC3* hide-and-go seek:
Note to riders: Chinch got distracted before the last jump by a butterfly or something so fence #23 is not pictured. Hopefully you guys walk your courses and don’t just piece it together in your hotel room the night before by looking at photos posted on EN, but just in case.
Until next time…
A video posted by Eventing Nation (@goeventing) on