The Cloud 11 ~ Gavilan North Carolina International is always one of the most highly anticipated events of the U.S. spring season, and Ian Stark’s cross country course never disappoints. Time is extremely difficult to catch in the CCI4*-S, with only one pair managing it in each of the last two runnings of the event. Caroline Martin and The Apprentice beat the clock when they won in 2017, as did Doug Payne and Vandiver when they won last year.
The CCI4*-S course follows much of the same route as last year and is beautifully decorated by Janine McClain and her top notch team. The first three fences — Knowlbrook Farms Welcome to Carolina International at fence 1, The Kingfisher Park Guard House at fence 2, and CDP Stables Home of the Brave at fence 3 — settle horses and riders into a rhythm before the first combination at fence 4, The Attwood Mounds. Riders will tackle an angled hanging log at A before jumping a narrow log at B and a triple brush at C.
Fence 5, The Spindletop Farm Hurdles, is a combination of two rolltops. Then it’s on to fence 6, The Winter Book Farm Kennel, before the coffin at fence 7. Called the Breezeway and Friendship Complex, the coffin has a hanging log as the A element, one stride to the ditch and then out over a triple brush. Fence 8, the The Osphos Table, is a beautiful new table built by course builders Tyson Rementer and Levi Ryckewart.
Fence 9, Horsepower Technologies’ Roll Tops, is a turning question with two narrow rolltops. The cabin at fence 10, DGS Group of Southeby’s 10 International Realty Cabin, bring riders to the next combination at fence 11, Cordelia’s White Gates, which features two white gates on an uphill approach. Then it’s on the imposing Hylofit Ditch and Brush at fence 12 before the first water complex at Cloud 11 Montrose Pool Aquarium. Riders drop in over a log at A, jump a wedge in the water as B, then kick up the hill to the trakehner at C, and finally on to the open oxer at D, which was separately numbered last year.
Fence 14 is a beautifully carved narrow fence called Seminole Feed Farmyard, and leads to the next combination at fence 15, Setters’ Run. Riders will jump an open oxer as the A element, followed by a narrow brush at B. The next three fences, The MLB table at fence 16, The Pyne Family Trakehner at fence 17, and the The Emerald Valley Cordwood pile at fence 18, lead to the next water complex.
The new brush built for the The Lumbee River Chincoteague Pegasus water complex at fence 19 is quite a site to behold. The direct route takes horses and riders over the brush and into the water as the AB element, then a left-hand turn out of the water and up to a narrow hanging log as the C element. Fence 20, The Land Rover Tobacco Barn Complex, features the same open corner combination as last year, and then it’s on to the last at fence 21, Southeast Farm Finale.
The CCI4*-S is 3,800 meters with an optimum time of 6 minutes, 40 seconds. CCI3*-S cross country will stream live tomorrow, March 23, on EQTV Network from 10-11:54 a.m. EST, followed by CCI4*S cross country from 12:30-2:48 p.m. EST and Advanced cross country from 3-4:15 p.m. EST. You can view maps of all the courses here, and scroll down for a fence-by-fence preview of the CCI4*-S course. Go Eventing.