It’s the biggest ever event in North American history and the nearly 1,000 horses will all have the chance to jump around one of Derek di Grazia’s seven cross-country courses. Boyd Martin and Barry will be the first pair to christen the 2019 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena cross-country course at the Kentucky Horse Park at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday in the Intermediate and three more days of cross-country will follow.
Di Grazia has designed the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day (LRK3DE) event since 2011 which has given him plenty of practice working with the land at the Horse Park but designing seven courses is quite different than just a single five-star course. “The big [challenge] is that I don’t typically do a horse trials length course here, so I worked on making the distance work and at the same time to get the features I want into that course,” said di Grazia who first rode himself at the Kentucky Horse Park in 1979.
Recently named as the newest designer for the Burghley Horse Trials as well as the cross-country course designer for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, di Grazia has focused on the top echelon of the sport for the last several years. However, his experience as the world’s top FEI course designer didn’t stop him from agreeing to design all the AEC levels from Beginner Novice to Advanced. He wanted to make sure the courses are true Championships courses, but the riders cross the finish line with smiles on their faces.
There are many features at the Horse Park that di Grazia wanted to utilize, but of course, the iconic Head of the Lake is the one that is the most coveted. Di Grazia decided to give the lower levels the honor of splashing through the Head of the Lake. “Everyone wants to go through the Head of the Lake, but at the same time I left that for the lower levels because I think it is a good thing for them to get that opportunity,” said di Grazia.
The $60,000 Adequan® USEA Advanced Final riders utilize the three other water complexes at the Horse Park as well as several features of the course that are familiar to LRK3DE attendees including the Normandy Bank and the Sunken Road.
“The beginning of the Advanced track gets you into a good rhythm even though the fences are right up to size,” explained di Grazia. “It is definitely not a small track. I think it is quite forward and galloping and then as you get more to the middle of the course there is definitely more to do, but I think you have to be careful because again at the end there are a couple of questions where you have to pay attention.”
Advanced riders start near the same location at the LRK3DE cross-country course and head towards the Alltech Arena before looping back to the first water, the Adequan Water park at fences 7abc.
The riders will then head to the infield where they will jump a maximum brush table and then a ditch and brush before turning to the frog pond at 10ab. A nice gallop stretch up to fence 11 before the stumps at 12ab set cleverly under the trees by the fence line.
After crossing the road the riders will tackle the Equestrian Events, Inc. Sunken Road at 14abcd before looping back to head to the Nutrena Splash at 17abc.
The Normandy Bank at 19abc awaits the riders after crossing back across the road as well as the Kentucky Classique Coffin at 21ab. There’s one last complex at 23ab before the final fence at 24.
And di Grazia’s final advice to riders of all levels? “They should enjoy it. The footing is going to be great, and [The Kentucky Horse Park] is a great place to ride. You can’t help but have a nice time here.”
All of the cross-country courses are available to be viewed on the CrossCountryApp or you can take a walk around the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final below.
US Equestrian is pleased to announce two additional competitions approved by the USEF Board of Directors to host CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and Advanced level events during the 2023-2027 competition cycle under the new Eventing Calendar Process. The Florida Horse Park has been allocated the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, and Advanced levels on Week 16 and the Advanced level on Week 40.
If you take one look at Jim Moyer’s Facebook page, you will see it is filled with sweet sentiments from the lives he has touched through his work in the equine industry. Moyer’s involvement with horses began when he met his future wife Jean 50 years ago. As Jean went on to become a prominent instructor in eventing, Moyer found that their friend circle was full of horse people, so it was only natural that he should find his place in the community.
Horses and riders in 12 divisions, from Starter to CCI4*-S, tackled the show jumping phase of competition Sunday at The Event at TerraNova, over a track designed by Nick Granat in the world-class setting of the main arena. Prize money was awarded in all divisions.
USEA Official Podcast Host Nicole Brown looks back on a brilliant Maryland 5 Star with Jennie Brannigan, reflecting on her fourth-place finish and highlights of the inaugural running of the event. USEA CEO Rob Burk and USEA President Max Corcoran then join Nicole to look forward to the 2021 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention which takes place in December.