Eric Winter’s Galway Downs CIC3* Cross Country Course Preview

7ab. Triple Crown Brush Corners. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Hello from sunny California! There wasn’t a cloud in the sky this afternoon at the sprawling Galway Downs Equestrian Center in Temecula, California, and after last weekend’s freeze-out at Carolina, this is quite nice!

Eric Winter came on board as course designer at Galway Downs last autumn, taking the reins over from Ian Stark who served the venue for a decade, and now he’s begun to give the course a bit of his flavor.

“I’ve been quite excited about the spring track. A CIC course comes up a bit more rapidly, a little bit more in your face,” Eric said. “This is the first time I’ve really started to put my stamp on it.”

A clever way to say, “don’t be a chicken at the last water!” Photo by Shelby Allen.

While the direction and flow remains the same from November’s CCI, many new elements have changed the feel throughout the track. He’s introduced new kinds of questions, like the angled tables out of the water at 15abc, and breathed life into obstacles that have stood long unused, like the “dropping off the face of the earth” Devoucoux drop at 13abc.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Duffy.

Eric says his goal for this venue is to always keep things fresh. “I would like to get to a situation where we develop enough work on it that you couldn’t come to Galway and say, ‘I’ve jumped that track before.’ Where there’s a feel to every track, there’s a different level of education to every track and that there is a process that runs through all the courses that educate competitors and prep them for higher levels.”

The action kicks off tomorrow in the sandbox for the CIC divisions. They will then show jump in the afternoon. Stay tuned for much more from Galway Downs!

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