Thanks to Erin Gilmore Photography for this awesome video of the 4*-L course at this year’s Morven Park Fall International Horse Trials & CCI! And thanks to our Course Designer Derek Digrazia for narrating!
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Posted by Morven Park International Equestrian Center on Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Riders are raving about the Derek di Grazia track they’ll be tackling today at Morven Park in Leesburg, Va. The event is hosting its much-anticipated CCI4*-L this weekend featuring a host of star riders and horses as well as some rising stars getting an early taste of a tougher level. This course had long been designed by the late and dearly missed Tremaine Cooper, whose influence can still be felt throughout. A memorial dedication plaque has been erected at the famous Morven Park Leaf Pit, question 9 on this year’s course, as well.
It’s a big track that will test the 4*-L riders, fully up to specs and beautifully dressed for a true example of a modern cross country course. After three straightforward gallop fences, Derek gets down to business, quickly testing riders’ steering, efficiency at selecting and sticking to a line, and management of their horses’ energy as he introduces the more technical questions.
A master of using the terrain he’s given on a property, Derek makes note of the places on course where riders will want to take particular care to really feel what is happening beneath them as their horses navigate the ground’s undulations. Some questions, such as the Hollow at fence 6 and the Morven Park Leaf Pit at 9, take riders on a veritable roller coaster, asking them to turn on varied ground while navigating to a narrow out fence.
As is signature on Derek’s courses, nothing on this track should come as a huge rider frightener or a horse confuser, but the nuances of the course are to be respected as one mismanaged step or a missed line will prove to be costly.
You can also check out a fence-by-fence guide and photos of each question on the USEA website here.
There is no live stream of the cross country action today, but you can follow along with live scores here — and stay tuned here on EN for more from Morven! Go Eventing.