#AEC17 Advanced Course Walk: Déjà Vu & Crystal Balls

#9AB. Table to Corner #9AB. Table to Corner

Heading into cross country tomorrow, one would be forgiven for experiencing a touch of déjà vu from The Fork earlier this year. Not only are Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, who clinched a wire-to-wire win at The Fork CIC3* earlier this year, in the lead here once again, the cross country tracks are quite similar. Will history repeat itself this week?

The Fork CIC3* XC Course (left); AEC Advanced XC Course (right).

Regarding future course design at TIEC (AKA the 2018 World Equestrian Games, looming just one year away), the crystal ball is giving nothing away. The course will be built on neighboring land that was once the Arnold Palmer-designed White Oak golf course, and only about half of the holes have been developed thus far. The Fork/AEC Advanced course is an enticing preview, but much more still is left to the imagination.

“Dirt will be moved,” says TIEC press officer Carly Weilminster, gesturing east toward the tall ridge where a Land Rover test drive course sits this week. “Lots of dirt.”

Indeed, the WEG is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. “Right now everything is looking forward to the WEG,” Tremain Cooper, co-designer of the course with Capt. Mark Phillips, says. The Fork next spring will be a much more developed test event for the WEG, as permanent features of the course are still being developed. As for the AEC, he says, “There weren’t a ton of changes from The Fork. Some complexes may have the same jumps but different questions, different striding, to keep people on their toes a little bit, but everything is trying to work backward from the Worlds.”

Excavation details are vague but word on the street is that the WEG track won’t be “dumbing down” the area’s legit terrain. If that’s the case, we can look forward to a serious fitness test befitting of the world’s most prestigious eventing championship. Which would be pretty cool, because as much fun as it may be to gallop on an emerald green golf course every now and again — “Hasn’t every eventer dreamed about galloping down a fairway without being shot?” Tremaine, speaker of eventing truth, says —  the heart and soul of eventing is a li’l bit more rugged than that. Do you smell what I’m stepping in, EN?

Can’t wait to see that play doh take shape. For now, though, let’s live in the moment. Here’s a glimpse at the 36-effort #AEC17 Advanced cross country track, built by ETB Construction, Eric Bull, Dylan Barry, Jake Wilson, Chris Iezzoni and Jim Troppman, and expertly decorated by Megan Murfey, who kindly snapped photos of the course before the rain started. Thank you and job well done, Megan!

The Advanced course roams furthest afield; other divisions stick closer to the Derby field, which is pretty and shiny bright-green and super spectator friendly but I HOPE Y’ALL PACKED YOUR BIG STUDS.

What am I even talking about? You people got this!

#readyforit #horsesofinstagram #AEC17

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Godspeed. Yeehaw. Go Eventing!