European Eventing Championships: cross-country sneak preview

  • Take a sneak peak at two of the most talked about fences in tomorrow’s course for the HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships in Luhmuhlen, Germany.

    The first is the HSBC Water Complex at fences 4 and 5, barely one minute into the course. “Approaching the first fence down an incline, it’s actually quite a frightening sight as you approach,” says course designer Mark Phillips.

    And there is no let up near the end of the course. “It’s one of the things that makes this a really championship track,” says Phillips. “You may be one minute from the end, but you are by no means through the big questions.”

    Fence 27, the Rolex Turn, is the biggest talking point amongst the riders. The direct route involves a very large ditch and brush to a large corner and then a very skinny, very large brush, all on a curving line. “If you think you need speed to jump the first element, you will miss the second,” cautions Phillips.

    Many riders are clearly hoping they will be slightly up on the clock at this point, and will be able to take the slightly more circuitous long route.

    British rider’s views on the course

    Nicola Wilson: “There’s plenty to jump, it’s an intense course and keeps up right through to the end but I’m looking forward to it.”

    Piggy French: “It’s a nice course and probably trickier than it looks in parts. There are plenty of places to go wrong, you’ll have to stay awake all the way through but it’s a good course that asks enough questions. It’ll be interesting to see what the time is like.”

    Laura Colett said: “There are a lot of places where you could have a silly blip — the combination at the end could be very testing on a tired horse. It’s very wooded which will make the timing difficult to judge — you always think you’re going faster when you’re galloping through trees.”

    Mary said: “It’s quite twisty but a very jumpable track with the most difficult combination near the end. That’s the one real test on the course and I think Mark Phillips has almost made the long route too short; anyone up on time will of course be looking to take the safer option.”

    Watch the FEI’s animated course walk video

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