I woke up this morning to Tilly Berendt’s dressage headline from Burghley, “Guess Who’s Back, Back Again – Townend’s Back, to Defend,” and while I don’t even know how to compete with that, I see it and raise her this 1992 Kriss Kross lyric reference. Your move, Tillz.
kross kountry cross country kicks off here today at the American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena, with Training level underway to be followed by Prelim, Intermediate and Advanced this afternoon.
We had a stroll around the courses, all designed by Tremaine Cooper with assistance from builder Travers Schick. The first thing that jumps off the page is the terrain, which is quite rolling and thus a significant change from the last two years at Tryon. Upper and lower level horses alike will need to be fit, as even the Festival Introductory division horses must negotiate legit hills.
The event crew has been working day and night on the footing, and their effort has paid off. Tamie Smith, who leads Adequan USEA Gold Cup Advanced dressage with Mai Baum and is 3rd with Fleeceworks Royal, remarked yesterday, “I just got done from walking the course and they’ve aerated it and gone over it again and now they’re watering it and it feels great. The track is very good. It’s not overly technical, but technical enough, and it’s big. I think Tremaine Cooper did a super job. The design and the fences are beautiful.”
Each division gets off to a galloping start before encountering their first combinations, which arrive at #4 for Prelim through Advanced, #5 for Beginner Novice through Training, and the Adequan Water is about halfway around each course. There’s plenty to do out there but it looks horse-friendly and the wide open track is prime real estate for kicking on.
The coolest jump award goes to fence #18A on the Prelim course, which is followed by a drop on a bending line to a rolltop C element. We’ll let Training Amateur competitor Marina Bynum model it:
A set of real live antlers were spotted on course by Prelim Amateur competitor Jeanine Allred:
Nature! Pretty cool.
You can take a virtual course walk of all the AEC courses at CrossCountryCourse App here, or check ’em out below!
Get on out there and jump, jump! Go Eventing.