The preview video for the cross country course at the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is here! Four-star eventer Lisa Barry, who recently relocated to Lexington, joins course designer Derek di Grazia to discuss the track, which runs in a reverse direction this year.
After three galloping fences to get the horses into a rhythm, horses and riders will come to the Water Park at fence 4 as the first combination on course. Riders will jump in over an imposing set of rails, turn to jump a boat in the water, then jump out over a second boat.
“It will be very important for the horses and riders to have a good confident ride here,” Derek said, “because there are other combinations which will be coming soon on the course, so they’re going to want to have their horses ready for those.”
The next major question on course comes at the coffin, the Park Question, which riders will tackle after jumping a big table at the top of the hill.
“After they come off the table at the top of the hill, they are going to have to switch gears and get the horses back in more of a power canter so that they have them a little more underneath themselves,” Derek said.
The direct route at the coffin will have riders jump in over a set of rails, then jump the ditch at an angle to get on the correct line to the cabin at the C element, before turning left to jump a right-pointed open corner as the D element.
Then riders will have a long uphill gallop to the mounds, called Pete’s Hollow this year. The hollow usually comes just past the 7-minute mark on course but will be earlier this year with the track running in a reverse direction.
Horses and riders will come down into the hollow, jump a sizable table at the bottom, then keep galloping up to a narrow stump on the mound, then down to a big brush at the bottom of the hollow.
Then it’s on to the iconic Head of the Lake, which comes later on course than usual, just after the 7 minute mark this year. Horses and riders will come down the hill to the Head of the Lake, “which keeps a lot of momentum, and maintaining control will be key,” Derek noted.
Horses and riders will drop into the Head of the Lake over a big brush, then turn right to a brush corner, keep turning to a big brush oxer, then jump out over a narrow triple brush as the D element.
The next major question on course comes at the Normandy Bank. This year horses and riders will jump up the bank and bounce over a beautifully carved goose, then jump down to an angled line of brushes, “which will make sure that the riders not only maintain a line but also keep their position,” Derek said.
The Normandy Bank typically comes a bit past 8 minutes on the course. “The riders have to be thinking about how their horses feel at this point in the course, and really at this time they have to think about how to maintain that clear round if that is how it’s going for them.”
Are you getting excited yet, EN? We will be bringing you a fence-by-fence preview of the course one week from tomorrow. The countdown is on to the Best Weekend All Year! Go Eventing.