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X-Country Design Notes

Course Designer: Mike E.S.Programme Notes by: Michael Etherington-Smith (GBR), Cross-Country Designer CCI4-S Getting older has its advantages and disadvantages, probably more of the latter to be honest, but there is no question that time seems to go quicker the older we get and last year’s Red Hills doesn’t seem like 12 months ago. There is no question that the sport, especially organisers, have been hit hard by the covid situation and so it will be fun and good to see people back enjoying the sport that we are all lucky enough to be involved in. The course follows the same route as last year, which worked well, although there are some changes and some new fences. The key fences are in the usual places but the questions are different. The aim of the course remains the same as usual namely to give everyone a ‘fun run’ with a good variety of questions all up to height and appropriate for the level yet planned to give confidence as an early season run and the chance to get back in to the competition groove. The World Equestrian Games will be held in Italy in September this year and even though it seems a long way ahead those who have the ambition and the horse power will already be looking to put a marker down with USA High Performance this spring. My ambition as course designer is that horses and riders have a beneficial run, jump well, and come home feeling as though they have benefitted from their cross country. It is all about giving horse and rider the opportunity to show what they can do and are ready for rather than trying to catch them out, it needs to be a positive (not necessarily easy) experience to help set them up for the season ahead. The team from the City Parks have continued their good work on the ground and it seems to get better each year due to their efforts. As always my thanks to everyone involved in putting the courses together: Tyson and Levi plus Corinne and her excellent team of hard working volunteers.

Program Notes by: David O’ Connor (USA), Cross-Country Designer
Assist CCI4-S, A / CCI3-S / CCI2-S / Intermediate / Preliminary

It is always a pleasure every year to come back to Red Hills, a place where I have many memories as a competitor as well in my role as one of the course designers. This year’s courses have the horses in mind as they gallop through this amazing park. It is still early in the year and we are aware that many of these horses are on the road to future championships either nationally of having the ability to represent the USA at the Pan American Games next year or the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.

Both the CCI2-S course and the CCI3-S follow a similar track as last year with different placings for the combinations. The first water is the number one spectator place and this year the out of the waters present the riders with a more technical line to successfully tackle the question. A difference in the two levels is the two star has more time to see the question as the horses are relatively less experienced so more time is given for them to understand the questions. The speed required for the two star is therefore less 520mpm as the thee star is at 550mpm. Both courses take about six minutes to complete. The distances are less for the two star but they are galloping at a slower rate.

The goal is for happy horses to finish the course and for competitors to know that they have learned something for the future.