Jersey Fresh CCI3* Cross Country Course Walk

The Jersey Shore complex got a facelift this year. Photo by Shelby Allen.

In its 15th year, the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event has welcomed new cross country course designer Captain Mark Phillips. He takes the reins over from John Williams who has served as the facility’s course designer for the past 14 years since the event’s inception.

“It’s very different,” Mark said of the CCI3*, CIC3*, CCI2* and CIC2* courses. “I think every designer has their own sort of thoughts and processes. John Williams did a great job here for 14 years, and I think I’ve probably come from slightly a different place and now I’ve put my stamp on it. I’ve tried to make the course flow as much as possible. I’ve tried to make the questions really clear to the horses, and perhaps gotten the riders to think and to ride.”

He joins forces with Morgan Rowsell who has been the cross country course builder since the event began in 2002. 

Phillip Dutton, who lead quite a large course walk yesterday, had a few moments to share his thoughts with the EN team as well: “My first walk out there was a little sad knowing it was a year ago that Philippa passed away here.,” Phillip lamented. “Mark has done a good job to incorporate more flow into the course. It walks reasonably straightforward, which I think is pretty appropriate for this year. It’s not as congested at the water complex. Overall it’s a little more forward-riding and horse-friendly.”

In addition to a new course designer, the track was also expanded to include a new piece of the New Jersey Horse Park. The new field, which was previously available to competitors for hacking, compliments Mark’s plan for a more open track. Only the CCI3* competitors get the chance to venture into this area to take on fences two through five.

“It’s new, therefore with the rain forecast that’s not going to be very good. Obviously, there’s not so much grass come up there,” Mark commented with the weekend’s wet forecast in mind. “It’s within the first two minutes of the course, so that’s a bit of a worry. The fences are quite straightforward, but with the rain it could be quite a tiring minute early on.”

So far, the new tracks have been well received by the riders, and many, including Buck Davidson, remain confident despite the looming forecast. “We’re supposed to have a lot of rain and that will be good because the ground is quite hard. I hear we are getting a lot of rain, but this place can handle it. It’s very sandy here and it will only help,” Buck said confidently.  

4AB – Your Choice Complex in the new area of the course. Photo by Shelby Allen.

“It’s very gallopy and open,” CCI3* dressage leader Tamie Smith said. “There are some technical questions, which I think with all the galloping might get the horses a little surprised because they’re just going along gallop fence after gallop fence. Phil (Dutton) thought the course would definitely be a fitness test. There’s a lot of turning and switching back. Mark has done a great job with keeping the course as open as possible, and it looks really great. I’m excited that I brought Wembley here for his first three-star.”

The CCI3* course includes 40 jumping efforts over 5700 meters, and riders will be aiming to finish on the optimum time of 10 minutes exactly.

Saturday might be a super-soaked cross country day, but EN will be there catching all the action for you. And if you are willing to do an anti-rain dance, I will love you forever!

Jersey Fresh Course Maps: CCI3*, CIC3*, CCI2*, CIC2*

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