With three Americans in the top five and one Canadian in the top 10 at Tattersalls International Horse Trials & Country Fair, we have a lot of cheering to do as the CCI3* riders take on Ian Stark’s cross country course tomorrow.
Ian has reversed the direction of the track for the first time in the history of the event, and EN caught up with him yesterday to chat about why he decided to mix things up and what riders can expect when they set out of the start box.
“It’s the 12th year Tattersalls has been running and it’s my seventh year here, and I thought it was time for a change. We decided to give it a go,” Ian said. “I had to think about how much it would cost, but we were able to do it quite easily. I like the flow better. It’s a bit nicer and gives the horses plenty of time to get into the course. Then the questions come.”
OH do the questions come. The CCI3* track is classic Stark — big, bold and beckoning for a forward ride. The first five fences get horses and riders settled into a rhythm before the first combination at fence 6, the Dubarry Splash. Riders then go on to tackle questions ranging from a sunken road to a mound complex and four total waters. Did we mention there are a slew of ditches?
“We’re in County Meath hunting country, so it’s full of ditches,” Ian said. “Every now and then people who haven’t been here in awhile will come back and say, ‘There are a lot of ditches!’ Word’s got out.”
While it doesn’t feature a ditch, the penultimate combination at fence 26, the Tattersalls UK Water Cannon, has been causing quite a bit of chatter amongst the riders. Horses will first jump the cannon table at the A element and go on to the B element, an angled brush set two strides away.
“I think there are quite a lot of places you can runout all throughout the course, and I think the second last fence will catch a few. They’re nearly home and then there’s a sharply angled brush as the second element on two strides. I think one or two will glance off there, and I think we could have trouble everywhere,” Ian said.
“It’s a big track. I don’t think it’s in any way trappy. It’s all very obvious for the horses. I think it takes a big jumping, bold horse.”
Buck Davidson pointed out yesterday that while the terrain here at Tattersalls is fairly flat, Ian has used the land very strategically, with nearly every fence set on a mound or bump of some kind. There is little room for error, and the stage is set for an exciting day tomorrow.
CCI3* cross country will stream live tomorrow at 3 p.m./10 a.m. EST. You can watch for free at this link. Scroll down to preview each fence on the CCI3* course courtesy of CrossCountry App and Lucy Latta from the amazing Tattersalls team.View in full screen mode below to scroll through all the fences. Click here to view on CrossCountry App’s website.