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. North American Youth Championship (NAYC) medalist and Eventing 25 Training List rider Madison Temkin rode three horses at the Preliminary level at the Twin Rivers Spring Horse Trials and talks us through 15ABC, the coffin.
The Twin Rivers Spring CCI and Horse Trials offered something for everyone, with YEH and FEH divisions as well as Beginner Novice through Advanced horse trial divisions and FEI CCI2*-L, CCI3*-L, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S classes. Madison Temkin, a NAYC medalist and USEF Eventing 25 Training List rider, rode three horses at the Preliminary level and shared her tips for riding the coffin.
“The coffin was towards the end of the Preliminary course and the horses have gone over a little bit of terrain by that point,” Temkin explained. “They’ve galloped at some fences leading up to this and that encourages them to open up their step and be bold. The three horses that I rode this weekend were all fairly green horses – they’re all great jumpers, but they don’t have as much experience.”
Riders had a long gallop stretch to a table at fence 14 before approaching the coffin at 15ABC. “The biggest thing for me jumping a coffin like this coming off a gallop fence is that it’s important to encourage them to keep coming so you stay up on your time,” Temkin stressed. “Then, as you get about 10 strides out, I like to check in a bit and package them back together so I can make a nice square turn to the coffin.”
“This one is a fairly straight line – there’s a bit of a right bend – but it’s important to come out [in the turn] so you can see all three elements of it,” she continued. “I like to bring the horse back a little bit early so that I can ride them nice and forward to the first fence and have a good jump in so they get up underneath it.”
After jumping in over the A element, horse and rider take three strides to the B element, the ditch, followed by two strides out over the corner at C. “They have a little bit of time to think,” Temkin elaborated. “As they see the ditch they tend to land a little bit steep, so that helps back them off with the similar idea as you had coming to A. That way, you can ride them up to B and then encourage them to jump up and over the ditch so you can ride forward to with just the slightest bend to the corner.”
After the coffin, horses and riders had a nice long gallop stretch to the final water combination at fence 16. “It’s nice to have a bit of a gallop stretch after the coffin so that you can ride them forward again and instill that they did it right and put some confidence into them,” Temkin concluded.
Watch Madison Temkin and Ruth Bley's Clinograaf tackle the coffin!
All the major contenders passed the eventing final horse inspection at the Tokyo Olympics and will carry on to contest the show jumping phase in a few hours’ time.
The ground jury (Nick Burton, GBR, Christina Klingspor, SWE, and the U.S.A.’s Jane Hamlin) and vets only failed to accept one horse - Fantastic Frieda, ridden by Poland’s Joanna Pawlak, who had completed the cross-country in 41st place with a refusal and 25.2 time-faults.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.