Jun 26, 2020

Ride Between the Flags with Jennie Brannigan

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

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. Five-star eventer Jennie Brannigan explains how to ride the Intermediate sunken road at the Plantation Field Horse Trials.

After a spring season of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, eventers were finally able to gallop out of the start box once again at the beginning of June, and the Plantation Field Horse Trials was one of the first events to take place after the suspension of competition was lifted. Jennie Brannigan, who is based just down the road from Plantation Field in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, had five rides on Friday at Plantation Field – three in the Intermediate, one in the Preliminary, and one in the Training. Despite having a busy day, she took a moment to describe how she approached riding the Intermediate sunken road.

The sunken road on course designer Jeff Kibbie’s Intermediate course at Plantation Field was comprised of a cabin at the top of the hill, two strides to a down bank, and two more strides out over a brush. The sunken road sat approximately halfway around the 3,032-meter, 31-effort course.

The "A" element of the sunken road came off a turn, allowing riders to balance up after a long gallop. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Horses and riders had a long uphill pull from the “Hobbit House” down by the ruins to the top of the hill before turning right and approaching the “A” element of the sunken road on a very slight downhill. “I was concerned that the distance from the bank to the skinny was quite short, and I know my horse I Bella leaps off banks, so I wanted the A element to back them off a bit,” Brannigan described. “I came in actually quite quick and used the turn to get them balanced and put them in so the distance was close enough that they would rock back.”

After tackling the "A" element, horses and riders continued to roll downhill to the down bank. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

After landing from the “A” element, horses and riders continued two strides downhill to the down bank. “I tried to come quiet off the down bank and really held my body and had my reins long and my hands a little wider so that then then I could ride up to the two-stride out,” Brannigan continued. “I was concerned that if you rode in too strong or came in too straight or too long that the horses would get really bold, so I used the turn in to help that.”

The "C" element sat on a slight uphill, allowing riders to push to it when they landed off the bank. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

Horses landed from the down bank on nearly flat ground that then actually sloped slightly uphill to the final “C” element. “Lillian Heard and I were concerned that the distance was going to be short coming out yesterday, but we were discussing that the ground sloped up which obviously would help,” Brannigan commented.

“The upper level horses, they can get a bit keen,” Brannigan observed, “so I tried to almost back them off and have them be a little bit surprised so they would look at the bank and just step down it. That way, I could ride up in two strides to the out. It actually ended up riding pretty well on all three horses. I’m glad I didn’t come in on a long straight approach at it because I think that would have made them a bit bold at it."

Watch Jennie and Nina Gardner's I Bella tackle the Intermediate sunken road!

Want to read more Ride Between the Flags articles? Click here!

Jul 04, 2020 Rules

Rule Refresher: Show Jumping Time and Faults

In the show jumping phase, where a ribbon can be won or lost based on a fraction of a second, it is important to understand the rules that determine how time is kept. After reviewing the rules concerning time and other show jumping penalties, one should also examine the rules that outline the faults incurred for each of the different types of penalties.

Jul 03, 2020 Eventing News

Bromont CCI and FEI Eventing Nations Cup August Dates Set To Change

Sue Ockendon, organizer of the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event and the FEI Eventing Nations Cup announced today that the event has decided to consider dates further along the calendar. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for Bromont to confirm that it would be possible for competitors to travel on August 15-18.

Jul 03, 2020 Association News

USEA Horse of the Month: Zydeco Nights

There were 14 USEA recognized events that took place in June, the first month back from the suspension of the eventing calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While no one finished with a score in the teens, Erin Walker and Zydeco Nights came very close. By finishing on a score of 20.0, Walker and Zydeco Nights won the Novice Rider division at the Chattahoochee Hills H.T. on Sunday, June 28.

Jul 02, 2020 Competitions

Weekend Quick Links: July 4-5, 2020

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

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