Jul 25, 2019

Ian Stark's Four-Star Secrets

Ian Stark poses with Rebecca Farm's newest jump, The Trotter, which was built in honor of Don Trotter. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Each summer Ian Stark designs a big, bold, brush-filled course for the riders to tackle at The Event at Rebecca Farm and this year is no different. In his eighth year of designing in Kalispell, Montana, Stark has set out 25 numbered questions for the CCI4*-L over approximately 6,000 meters and 20 numbered questions for the CCI4*-S over approximately 3,900 meters.

The pivot system watering the course. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Rebecca Farm has always used a pivot watering system, but the last few years the event has used the watering pod system from Richland Park and Stark said that has made all the difference. “For me this is the best ever footing we have had,” said Stark. “The pivot does a lot of the watering, but there are a lot of outreaching areas it doesn’t get to and these pods can get everywhere. It makes a tremendous difference.”

The new pod watering system. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

“Jerome [Broussard] has taken it upon himself to do a schedule of watering and it is honestly the best footing. Normally we stop the pivot on the Tuesday and this year I asked him if we could keep going right up to cross-country day,” concluded Stark.

Fence 1 (The Train), fence 2 (The Brush Oxer), and fence 3 (The Mountain Table) get things rolling for the riders. “The first three fences are just galloping fences to get the horses up into the air,” said Stark. “I like to make the early fences straightforward, but big because I like to get the horses jumping. Some places they start them lower and build up, but for fresh horses at the beginning if they are too small they aren’t going to respect them.”

The first combination comes at fence four – a Hanging Log in the water to a Shark’s Tooth. “This is your early morning wake up call,” said Stark.

Watch below at Stark walks us through several of the influential combinations on course:

4ab - Hanging Log to Shark's Tooth

7ab - Brush Corners

13/14 - Hanging log to Corner

16abc - Normandy Bank

17ab - Ditch Brushes

22abcd - Gator, Tabasco Bottle, Swamp Log to Water Drop

24 - The Trotter

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