Take a First Look at Pierre Michelet’s Cross Country Track at Pau

A very large-looking fence 13, the Hale des courses. Photo via CrossCountryApp/Gillian Lyle.

Cross country at the final 5* event of the season approaches tomorrow, and we’ve got a first look at Pierre Michelet’s work thanks to CrossCountryApp.

The 2022 iteration harkens back to the 2019/2020 tracks, which ran in the same direction and finished in the main arena. In 2021, the course was run in the opposite direction, though the main arena question still came at the finish.

Click/tap the image to go to the interactive map on CrossCountryApp.

While Pierre would be known for his affinity for technicality (and, yes, skinnies), one element that stands out on this year’s track is the number of big, bold questions followed immediately by sharp asks of control and rideability. Basically? You can always expect a corner to come up fast. Fence 12AB, the Hale & Brush Lockexpo is one example, with a big brush over that will invite a strong, open ride but is immediately followed by a very narrow B element — though not, in this case, a ‘pointe’.

Fence 12A, Hale & Brush Lockexpo. Photo via CrossCountryApp/Gillian Lyle.

Fence 12B, Hale & Brush Lockexpo. Photo via CrossCountryApp/Gillian Lyle.

That question is followed up, and built upon, further on at fence 19, the Bull Finch & Hales, which follows up the big, rolling Bull Fish with two narrow offset brushes.

The course this year features an 11 minute optimum time (for comparison, 2021’s track had an 11 minute, 50 second optimum time). There are 45 jumping efforts set on 30 numbered fences.

A unique painter’s palette comes at fence 26. Photo via CrossCountryApp/Gillian Lyle.

Tilly will have more detail on the course ahead of tomorrow, but for now you can click through the fence-by-fence tour over on CrossCountryApp. You can also take a virtual walk around with Irish Eventing below or here:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Irish Eventing Times (@irisheventing)

This week’s coverage of Pau on EN is brought to you with the support of Kentucky Performance Products. We couldn’t do much of what we’ve done these last few years without the support of sponsors such as KPP — which, by the way, is a horses-first, women owned and operated company based in, you guessed it, Kentucky — and without you, our readers! So as we head into this final hurrah of our season, too, we thank each and every one of you.

Les 5 Etoiles de Pau: [Website] [Entries] [Schedule] [Timing & Scoring] [H&C+ Live Stream *Use code PAU2022 for 15% of H&C+ Annual!*] [EN’s Coverage] [EN’s Ultimate Guide to Pau] [EN’s Instagram]