‘That has Burghley Leaf Pit vibes’ – Yasmin Ingham, Kitty King and others react to Europeans cross-country course

  • Kitty King has declared the European Eventing Championships cross-country course combines “Bramham dimensions and terrain with Luhmühlen’s twistiness” after her first walk of Pierre Le Goupil’s track.

    “It’s going to be a tough track,” she said. “It’s very twisty and hilly and the ground’s obviously fairly soft, so it’s going to be good stamina test and there’s lots of questions right to the very end.”

    Kitty added: “I’d say it’s kind of a cross between a Bramham and a Luhmühlen – Bramham dimensions and terrain with Luhmuhlen’s twistiness – and my ride Vendredi Biats has done well at both so I’m hoping that will set us in good stead. It’s a great track and I look forward to Saturday.”

    Fellow Brit and overnight leader Yasmin Ingham commented: “I think it’s going to be a very interesting track, very well built and designed and absolutely beautifully presented. I’m really looking forward to riding round it – there’s some serious questions.

    “I think the ground is the same sort of ground we’ve been dealing with in England, they’ve had a lot of rain here. So I’m really hoping that over the next few days drying weather will help with that.”

    Europeans Eventing Championships cross-country course: tough first water

    Yasmin was among the riders to pick out the start of the course as particularly challenging, saying: “You get a big shock at fence seven – you’re jumping off quite a large step [pictured above], sort of a Burghley Leaf Pit vibe, and then you’re rolling down the hill to quite a large drop into the water. That’s quite an intense part of the course I would say very early on.”

    Germany’s Malin Hansen-Hotopp rode here at Haras du Pin last year and echoed Yasmin’s thoughts, as well as seeing similarities between that 2022 track and the European Eventing Championships cross-country course.

    “We thought the first water [fence 7abc] really tough then and I think it’s the same this year,” she commented.

    Germany’s Christoph Wahler added similar thoughts: “The first water [pictured below] is coming quite early in the course and it looks very big to me. Also the step going downhill before the first water – I know that some horses had some issues there last year.

    “I think if you could get through there, then it becomes more rhythmic, with more flowing lines and you have also more gallop stretches. But until the first water it’s going to be hard work keeping the horses focused.”

    European Eventing Championships cross-country course

    Testing undulations and ground

    Dutch rider and coach Andy Heffernan praised the track and builders Jump 1, headed up by Dominic Moore, who he has worked with in Britain,

    “I loved the track actually,” he said. “That’s the first thing – everybody I think is quite quick to be negative and I think it’s a really super championship track.

    “Dom Moore and Jump 1 have done the job that I expected them to do, which is fantastic. Pierre has done an amazing job as a designer and he’s come up with some really unique and fun ideas. I think if you have a good ride around it, it will be fun.

    “My concern, I suppose, is that it’s quite hilly and and although the weather is quite pleasant now, I think the damage to the ground has already been done and I don’t think it’ll dry out. So I think it’s going to ride quite holding and then tiring.”

    Italy’s Giovanni Ugolotti, who rides Swirly Temptress, also said the undulations will be wearing for the horses.

    “She’s a very bold mare, but she’s probably never been to such an undulating kind of course. I think I need to be quite careful not to set off too quick and just see where we are after five or six minutes and then decide if I actually go a bit slower or a bit faster,” he said.

    Belgium’s Lara de Liedekerke-Meier made similar comments with regard to the terrain being a major test: “I like the course because it’s really attacking. You really feel that it’s clear for the horses – there is no nasty corner or angles to tricky things. I think it is just really straightforward.

    “But you need stamina, you need fit horses. I think the ground going to be quite loose. The sun is shining, so I don’t know how much it’s going to dry off.”

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