It’s cross country day at Aachen! Without further ado, here’s your preview of the 25 efforts on the course, which begins in a large field across the road from the main stadium and loops through the picturesque Aachen countryside before ending back in the main stadium. The ground soaked up a lot of rain overnight, and the footing was pretty saturated when I walked fences 22 through 25 in the main stadium this morning.
As is typical of European events, the footing at fences 1 through 21 felt excellent when I walked it yesterday, and I imagine it’s still faring pretty well even after the steady rain that fell last night. Riders will need to navigate the final four elements very carefully, as the footing in the main stadium is already slippery and will likely have deterioriated quite a bit by the time overnight leaders Sandra Auffarth and Opgun Louvo start out as the last on course at 12:48 p.m. local time (6:48 a.m. EST).
If any of you are up bright and early, be sure to watch cross country on the live stream. I saw a lot of cameras staged around the course when I walked it yesterday, so the viewing experience should be very good. Clark Montgomery and Universe are first on course for Team USA at 10 a.m. local time, followed by Marilyn Little and RF Smoke on the Water at 11:20, Will Faudree and Pawlow at 11:44, and Tiana Coudray and Ringwood Magister at 12:16.
The top 20 are running in reverse order of standing, and it’s sure to be a very exciting day of cross country here at Aachen. The team standings are very close, and the U.S. has a chance to finish in the top three should we have solid rides. All four horses on Team USA have excellent cross country records, so it’s just a matter of getting around safely. I’ll be back with a full report around 1:30 p.m. local time, followed by a press conference report with the top placed riders and more interviews with Team USA. Go Aachen!