One year after Tryon International Equestrian Center unveiled their new cross country course built on the former White Oak golf course, we were eager to take a look at further changes and developments made for The Fork Horse Trials this year. With the CIC3* serving as the test event for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, we were especially interested at progress made on the footing.
Capt. Mark Phillips’ CIC3* cross country course is very similar to the track used for The Fork last year. While several combinations have changed, the course follows the same path. (Click here to view photos of the 2017 course.) Very few hints are offered as to what we might be able to expect on his WEG course come September.
We did get a sneak peek at a new water complex that is being built for WEG, as well as the lengthy uphill climb that will punctuate the end of the course with a serious fitness test. Following the uphill pull, the WEG cross country course will end in the new main stadium, which has not yet been built.
As for the CIC3*/WEG Test Event this weekend, the course contains 25 numbered obstacles with an optimum time of 6 minutes, 16 seconds. Last year’s CIC3* course at The Fork did not cause a single jumping penalty or elimination on cross country, with all pairs jumping clear rounds. Instead, time proved to be the key factor, with only two of 17 pairs (12% of the field) making the optimum time.
However, the course is also very similar to the track used at last year’s American Eventing Championships, which firmly shook up the leaderboard. Case in point: Marilyn Little, who leads the CIC3* after the first day of dressage, won The Fork wire-to-wire with RF Scandalous last year, but then fell at the American Eventing Championships.
Last year heavy rains made for muddy going on parts of the course. This year creates a stark juxtaposition. While Mill Spring, North Carolina has seen heavy rains over much of the winter, the last two weeks have seen little precipitation, with strong winds drying the course to create much firmer footing.
Stay tuned for a full report on Tryon’s turf management plan as we count down to WEG. Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage from The Fork CIC3*/WEG Test Event. Go Eventing.