Walk the WEG cross-country course [PICS]

  • Horse & Hound's eventing editor Pippa Roome brings you pictures of every fence on the course, and shares her thoughts on the challenges being faced by horse and rider

    Take a virtual course-walk round the cross-country track at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) with our complete set of course photos.

    The WEG cross-country at Haras du Pin is the brainchild of Pierre Michelet, the renowned French designer who is also responsible for the tracks at Pau, Saumur and Fontainebleau, among others.

    H&H eventing editor Pippa Roome’s thoughts on the course

    1. This is a long course. The optimum time is unconfirmed, but rumoured to be around 11min 30sec, which is pushing at the maximum distance for four-star.
    2. There’s a lot of terrain. Not big hills, but much like Gatcombe and Bramham, you are always on a camber and having walked it, I can confirm it’s exhausting.
    3. The going will play a big part. The ground is already very soft and it’s still raining.
    4. The course has quite a lot of loops round fields and back out again. Near the end, you go through the final water (fences 30/31) and feel like you’re on the way home, then have to turn away again. This could be disheartening for tired horses and riders will need to keep their enthusiasm up.
    5. This is a creative course, with interesting features such as the big drop before an arrowhead into water (fence 9) and the angled skinny ditch (fence 11).
    6. Pierre Michelet has asked the question for which he is so well known several times — opening horses up over a big fence and then tempting them with a forward distance to a skinny, perhaps on a curving line. A good example is the question at fences 21/22, where a big hedge and ditch is followed by a triple brush arrowhead and a corner, all on a right-handed turn.
    7. The water fences will be influential — there are three of them, all of which look tricky.
    8. There are quite a few plain fences between the difficult complexes — I expect most problems to be grouped at four or five combinations, although plain fences could also cause problems as the course takes its cumulative toll.
    9. There’s a lot of brush on the top of fences, adding height, which will mean extra effort for the horses.
    10. Did I mention it’s going to be muddy? Very muddy.

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