James Atkinson led a panel including course designers Captain Mark Phillips, John Michael Durr, Gretchen Butts, Morgan Rowsell, and Cathy Wieschhoff in a discussion about the responsibilities of the course designer and the many factors that influence course design. Atkinson began by stating that course designers are horsemen first and are constantly thinking about how every part of the course will affect the horse. Captain Phillips said, “Our job is to educate the horses . . . We must not go down the road of making courses more difficult.”
The panel educated attendees on how the horse’s vision works and provided examples of how designers use decoration to help the horse see all four corners of the fence. There was discussion of different ways the course designers take the horse’s vision limitations (blind spot, dichromatic vision, ability to adjust to different lighting conditions, etc.) into account. The conversation then turned to terrain, covering how and why designers use terrain and how they use it to influence how the horse sees a fence. They explained how the horse’s balance and stride length relate to the degree of slope. Finally, Morgan Rowsell talked about some of the factors that influence the decision about where to employ frangible technology and the new technology that is in the pipeline.
About the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention
The USEA Annual Meeting & Convention takes place each December and brings together a large group of dedicated USEA members and supporters to discuss, learn, and enjoy being surrounded by other eventing enthusiasts. The USEA organizes multiple seminars in addition to committee meetings, open forums, and tons of fun! The 2019 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention is taking place at the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts, December 11-15, 2019. Click here to learn more about the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention.