May 11, 2019

Get Inside Their Heads: Riders Share Their Thoughts on the JFI Cross-Country Courses

By Jessica Duffy - USEA Staff
USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Captain Mark Phillips is in his third year of course designing for the four-star level at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event with course builder and co-organizer Morgan Rowsell serving as the designer for the three-star level. There are several new combinations in comparison to last year’s course where bold and accurate riding will be essential.

Tomorrow morning, the CCI3*-L division will blaze the way around Morgan Rowsell’s 4,600-meter course which contains 26 numbered obstacles 35 jumping efforts. Riders will have 8 minutes and 22 seconds to complete the course.

Following the CCI3*-L, the CCI4*-L will take their turn over Captain Mark Phillips’ 5,860-meter track with 10 minutes and 17 seconds to complete the 29 numbered obstacles and 41 jumping efforts.

The CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S divisions will show jump in the morning before they set out across the country in the afternoon. The CCI4*-S’s course is 3,820 meters with an optimum 6 minutes and 42 seconds and 29 numbered obstacles with 35 jumping efforts.

The CCI3*-S is the last division out on course tomorrow. Their track is 3,400 meters long with 24 numbered obstacles and 32 jumping efforts to be completed in 6 minutes and 11 seconds.

USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Excited to see the riders in action tomorrow? Take a look at some of their thoughts on the course:

Boyd Martin: “It looks like a brilliant course. It’s obviously a twisty piece of land, and it looks a lot more technical to me this year with lots of bending skinny accuracy questions. It’s always hard to get the time here but the ground should be brilliant with the rain we’ve had and it should be an exciting contest.”

Lauren Kieffer: “There’s a lot of technicality to it and it’s got a lot of fences. The CCI4*-L has 30 numbered fences and the CCI4*-S has 29 and a lot shorter amount of time to do it. Making time is always hard here and it’s not going to be any easier this year. [Because of the technicality] the horses need to be genuine about their skinnies.”

Alexandra Knowles: “I’m stoked about the footing – it’s pretty much perfect and it doesn’t look like we’re going to have much more rain. That plays into my favor, especially for [Princess B], because we’re the second-to-last in the division so the footing won’t be too torn up for her. And I have two other trips around the course prior to her so I’ll have a bit of knowledge going into it and my first one out is my longtime partner [Sound Prospect] so I’m really looking forward to riding Sounder first. It looks big and gallopy and there’s a lot of ditch-walls and ditch-oxers – going fences. I like that we have enough big fences that it’s not just twisty and turny – we get to actually gallop and jump some big jumps.

USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Colleen Loach: “The track looks great. It builds well, there’s a lot of questions but it starts out kindly. I’m looking forward to it.”

Emily Beshear: “I think here it’s always hard to know how the horses are going to handle all the twists and turns and ups and downs for that long of a duration. All the questions I feel are very fair but there are a lot of questions out there . . . There’s a lot to do tomorrow.”

Jacob Fletcher: “I think it looks really good. [My horse] hasn’t done a CCI4*-L before so I’m a little nervous as to when the tank might start running out – I don’t know when that will be – and there’s a few tough questions. I guess it’s kind of wait and see!”

Robin Walker: “It’s fair. It’s obviously up to scratch. It’s there to be jumped which, at this level, you usually find that you can either answer the questions or you can’t. So, you’ve either done your homework or you haven’t.”

Doug Payne: “I think the footing is great right now and it’s going to be very good for [my horse] education-wise. She’s still building experience. There’s some stuff she hasn’t seen yet and I think she’s well-suited and it should be good.”

USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Allison Springer: “I think Mark [Phillips] has done a tremendous job trying to reroute the path here. It used to be that we’d go back and forth past the start and finish so many times and I thought that was really hard on the horses. It is still winding, and it has to be – you have that kind of weird loop in the back. There’s enough technical questions – I think the waters are going to ride hard. Mark’s a really good course designer – he sets some combinations and his intention is for you to be forward and direct but he also gives you the option to stay out and maybe be a little more careful with a greener horse.”

Lynn Symansky: “I think it’s much improved from last year. I thought the three (old two-star) was quite soft last year and I think Mark has definitely asked more questions. [It’s] technical – the beginning I think is a little bit small to get them coming out and having something to ride to and then it gets bigger and bigger but I think that’s good for some of the greener horses to build their confidence at the level. I think he’s done a good job continuing to make the course on this bit of property more flowing year after year. It looks doable but there’s definitely enough questions all the way to the end.”

The first of a total 119 riders will set out on course at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow.

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