Sue Benson returns to Military Boekelo CCIO3* in 2017 as the cross country course designer for the 17th year. The first part of the course this year looks quite different than in the past because the event has been relocated back to the part of the venue where it all began back in 1971 in Eschede, Netherlands.
The entire venue has received a facelift, with a beautiful new arena with all-weather footing serving as a stunning centerpiece. Two fences from the course are set in the new arena at fences 3 and 4 to give spectators in the many restaurants and bars surrounding the arena a thrill as horses and riders gallop by.
“I think that giving the course a fresh look and getting the first six fences in a different place has totally changed the feel of the course,” Sue said, noting that the open corner at fence 6 is new this year.
The direct route follows the left line at the first water complex at fence 10 10 starts with a narrow brush jump at A before horses and riders jump into the water over a blue wave fence and go on to a narrow angled log at C. Riders then jump a more narrow brush wedge as both the D and E elements of the water complex.
“The horses burst through the green track into this area for the water complex,” Sue said. “Always the crowds have an effect, particularly on the younger horses. It does have an electric atmosphere here. This year I’ve tried to be quite kind.”
Fences 12, 13 and 14 are separately numbered, but to take the direct route riders will need to angle their line over the brush parallel at fence 13 to make the related distance work for the brush corner at fence 14.
The optimum time on Sue’s 5,720 meter course is 10 minutes, 3 seconds. While six in 10 starters at Boekelo have jumped clear on cross country this decade, only 6.2% have made the optimum time, according to EquiRatings. We can expect time penalties to be very influential come Saturday.
You can hear Sue’s excellent commentary on the course by clicking through the fences below. View in full screen mode below to scroll through all the fences. Click here to view the photos on CrossCountry App’s website. Many thanks to Willy Leysen for recording the course preview! Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage of Boekelo. Go Eventing.