Minus all the crummy rain, but it was definitely a lighter rain and less chilly day than last year so Ill take it! Regardless, even with the rain, it is still the most exciting and exhilarating to watch.
First combination on course...boy were these huge. It was cool to see the sharpness
of the horses here compared to the final combination later and how riders managed each situation.
|Head of the lake|
|Boyd introducing himself|
Boyd talked about the head of the lake riding in and the landing actually being a nice bit of time before the skinny to get a horse balanced again (All I could think of was holy moly that drop wouldnt ever allow me enough time to rebalance). He really dove into talking about the bounce to the brush/skinny out of the water.
|The head of the lake|
He said this was the main question here most horses would have to read and be tested on. It was after a turn from the jump in the water so it was really important to make sure the horse was paying attention and turned, but also was presented a decent approach to tell that it was a bounce. '
Boyd told us his plan was to aim a bit left of the red flag to avoid any issues left.
|Allison joined the course walk at the angled skinny brushes|
Most horses at this level have seen a keyhole, so both riders explained that the mini keyhole that was there as decoration would possibly throw off some horses. The jump themselves were quite narrow and really tested precision, obedience and watching this on XC day saw a few people opt to take the option.
We moved on to the "New water" which was getting into the meat of the course...this was the solid fence to the open corner...which MANY riders rubbed. I think because the jump into water was hollow the noise was worse than the actual hitting of the fence, but it cause a good many spectators to "ooh" at time after time.
Oh you know....just another run of the mill galloping table to jump on course...no biggie
Boyd and Allison talked about this as difficult because you had to gallop the HUGE tree and then this combo came up and you had to really compress since the open corner reads like a stadium fence to most horses. You really had to get the horse to shorten their canter and keep that through this line.
|Me looking at the height of the bank up|
|Jumping down it to the ditch in font|
After this we walked up to the angled houses, which was only a few jumps after the new water...
Boyd said that it was a true endurance test because it was right after a good gallop UP hill and you had to do the bank, bending line to these angled houses. You had to jump these on a slice at a one-stride so it really tests the scope and energy left.
I walked the bank after XC completed and it was way more HUGE than it looked from afar.
|The bank up...|
We moved on to the coffin complex which from here didnt look soooo bad until I was able to walk up to it after saturday was over. It was truly petrifying...The C element was so upright and massive, it is just so amazing it rode as well as it did. I was sad to see this presented a problem for Allison and Arthur and became the reason for their drop out of the top 20 :(
|The coffin complex|
After the day concluded...Emma and I got to play around a bit because, well, these are HUGE Rolex jumps after all.
|Emma and I at the head of the lake|
|Last combination on course...which actually seemed to provide a final test for some riders (one not so lucky and was eliminated|