Ever wonder what the pros see when they're out walking cross-country? In the Ride Between the Flags series, riders walk us through their approach to tackling different cross-country questions. International rider and trainer Bec Braitling explains how she would tackle fence 6AB of the Galway Downs Training Three-Day cross-country course.
Among the offerings at the 2019 Galway Downs International Event was the Hylofit USEA Classic Series Training Three-Day, where 17 riders came forward to test themselves over Bert Wood’s cross-country track. California-based Australian rider Bec Braitling was one of those 17 competitors, finishing third aboard Galwaybay Merbantos, and she took some time out of her busy weekend to walk through the bending line at 6AB on the Training Three-Day course.
“Being a combination it’s a question of bravery – we have a brush fence with a little rampy face, but then also it’s on a related line,” Braitling explained. “Knowing your horse and what kind of step he has is helpful – if your horse has a big step then you want to be careful not to catch this too big. That’s really going to affect my approach – thinking about what size horse I’m on. I’m on quite a big horse, so I’m going to be thinking about not catching a real big one in. If this were a single fence you’d look at it like a steeplechase fence, but because it’s in a related line it probably needs to be treated with just a little less forward momentum, but enough that you know you can still get the job done.
“It’s actually a pretty straight approach,” Braitling continued. “So, I think you’ve got to be careful that you’re not looking at this from 50 strides away and trying to pick your distance and get a little caught up in coming to it quick.”
The A element comes off the long approach with a bit of a drop on the landing side of the fence. “Once you land it’s got a little bit of a downhill landing and that may cause a few of them to peek,” Braitling cautioned. “The terrain will also change the distance a little in the middle – it walks in four strides.”
Braitling advised jumping in just to the right of the center of the A element and then stay out on the bending line in four strides. “Ride two strides straight, then a little turn, then two strides straight so that I can be jumping the B element thinking about opening my left rein to get away from the fence quickly afterward so I don’t waste any time.”
“It sort of prepares you for that coffin feel,” Braitling observed. “I do think you’ve got to make sure you’re a little bit up in your body in the landing and stay really tall. They’re asking the horse to be brave but then the terrain may allow the horse to run on a little bit down through the turn and make that turn just a little harder. You’re going to have to make sure you really close those outside aids to help get to the B element and not have a silly runout. Often they’ll jump something like this and think, ‘Oh, we sprint away!’ so think about riding that B element once you land.”
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The 2020 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) East Coast Championships kicked off today at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland following the successful completion of the FEH Central Championships at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas this past Thursday. Twenty-three horses were presented today to Championship judges Robin Walker and Susan Graham White – four in the FEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship and 18 in the FEH East Coast 3-year-old Championship.
After a rainy night, the footing for the FEI cross-country drained nicely and held up well throughout the morning. Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp held on to her overnight lead aboard Fernhill By Night and added 4.8 time faults to her double clear show jumping round to take home the win in the CCI4*-S. Not one rider was able to make it through the finish flags within the time allowed, but the top 28 had no jumping penalties.
The CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S divisions were able to complete their show jumping before the torrential rain interrupted the competition for the CCI2*-S division.
The 2020 United States Eventing Association (USEA) Future Event Horse (FEH) Central Championships took place yesterday, September 24 at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas. With four new champions crowned, this marked one of the first USEA Championships to be held in 2020. Jayne Lloyd, the organizer of the Championships shared, “Everyone had a nice day with their youngsters. The quality of horses is getting better and better. Haras [Hacienda] is a lovely facility to put this on – great stabling, great footing, all indoor because we’ve had some bad weather the past few days. But overall, I think it all went really well.”