We may be in Florida, but a fine Irish mist has settled over Ocala Jockey Club this morning as 31 horse-rider combinations prepare to take on Clayton Fredericks’ CCI4*-L track in his second year designing the course. With around 30 new or rebuilt fences, there will be plenty of new questions for horses and riders to answer.
Mike Etherington-Smith, Clayton’s predecessor, served as an advisor. In this Horse Capital TV preview, he says, “It is a designer’s dream to be able to design at a venue like this. We both have been involved in eventing all over the world for many, many years. This features one of the best venues around. It really is spectacular. There is mature parkland, there are mature trees. Over the last few years, there has been a huge amount of work on the ground, to upgrade the footing, and that’s the most important thing. It’s just a fantastic place to do it.”
Regarding the course design changes for this year’s course, Clayton explains, “We’re into our fourth year of the event. I had the idea to change the direction that we’re going in some of the places, so that is going to mix it up a bit and make it different for the riders when they come. We are turning some of the combinations around and giving it just a different feel.”
While Ocala is notoriously flat, the Ocala Jockey Club boasts the highest elevation in Marion County — in fact, the OJC Clubhouse overlooking the competition arenas and water complex, sits 200 feet above sea level, the second highest point in Central Florida. Clayton has maximized every possible bit of terrain to design a course that will test fitness. The turf, developed by Dan Millstead of Equine Turf, feels fabulous after yesterday’s light rain and the course, built by the one and only Tyson Rementer, is beautifully presented.
The CCI4*-L course has 40 total jumping efforts and 26 numbered fences set across 5,940 meters. The optimum time is 10 minutes 26 seconds. You can view the official course maps for all levels here.
- 8 – 1:54 a.m. ET – CCI2*-L
- 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. ET – CCI4*-L (update: pushed back to 11:55 a.m.)
- 2:10 – 3:31 p.m. ET – CCI3*-L
Saturday will be a busy day with tailgating, ringside beer garden, Handsome Hat Day Competition (win $650 in cash prizes and more!), Kids Outdoor Fall Festival, and demonstrations in the OJC Main Arena.
- 9:30 a.m. – Celtic Dancers
- 11:30 a.m. — Dance Alive National Ballet
- 11:50 a.m. – Elisa Wallace and her Mustang Hwin
- 12:10 p.m. – Tik Maynard Horsemanship Demonstration
- 12:30 p.m. – Dance Alive National Ballet
- 12:50 p.m. – Herding Dog Demonstration by Billy Bishop
- 1:10 p.m.- “Highway” – the I-75 Miracle Horse
- 1:30 p.m. – Mary Phelps – Driving her 2019 World Champion Pony Pair, “the Gangsters”
- 1:50 p.m. — Celtic Dancers
- 2:10 p.m. – Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horse Demonstration
- 2:30 p.m. – Elisa Wallace and her Mustangs Fledge & Rune
General admission is $10 per day, or $25 for weekend admission and the event program. Parking is free. Cross country tailgating is available for $95. VIP access in the picturesque Fireside Room of the OJC Clubhouse starts at $250.