Watch Mary King walk the key combinations on the Bicton Horse Trials track: ‘Real five-star fences’

  • Mary King walked the Chedington Bicton Horse Trials cross-country course for next week’s five-star event – watch her talk through three of the most difficult combinations on course and read her thoughts on these fences below…

    Fence 6abc: Chedington Oxers and Triple Bar
    Mary says: “After a decent pull uphill and left-hand turn, Mark Phillips has given horses some flatter ground on which to catch their breath before what he rightly says is the first question on the course which is more than four-star. We have a white oxer with a two-metre top-spread and four strides to a second one, with three strides to a skinny triple bar, which has a black-flag alternative. Here competitors need power, impulsion and control.”

    Fence 16abc: Ariat Challenge
    Mary says: “This is interesting and could be influential – an “old-fashioned” type of question where horses are asked to jump a pinned rail, bounce over a decent ditch and again bounce out, this time out over the 1.45m arrowhead brush. A real “coffin canter” with proper collection and enough impetus will be needed. There is an alternative route with more space between elements – a different rail as element a, then the left-hand end of the ditch as element b, then a right-handed turn to the left-hand arm of element c.”

    Bicton Horse Trials cross-country course: final water

    Fence 22abcd: NFU Water
    Mary says: “Competitors now turn back on themselves and head back to this final water complex on the five-star Bicton Horse Trials cross-country course, which will take quite a bit of course-walking by riders to determine their exact route. Mark and I had a lengthy discussion about how many strides we thought there were between the first brush element and the enormous brush drop into the water – he thinks five, I think four!

    “Angling the first should bring you nicely straight to the drop, and you should then get three strides comfortably to the skinny brush in the water, and then the last brush should come up well too. It’s a clever fence and will be really interesting to watch – it will make riders think hard, because getting through to the end of the question successfully is dependent on what they do at the first part.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Read Mary’s overall thoughts on the course and her assessment of every fence in this week’s magazine (issue dated 26 August). 

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