May 31, 2022

The Role of Cross-Country Decorating and Ground Lines: An Excerpt from Cross-Country Completion Considerations

These excerpts were published with permission from Cross-Country Completion: Considerations About Jump Decorating by Janine Preece McClain. The illustrations are by Janine Preece McClain and Leslee Preece. Cross-country decorating plays a significant role in a successful cross-country course. Whether you’re a course designer or a volunteer, the USEA encourages all members to order this educational book here: wintertalefarm.com/book.php.

The Role of Cross-Country Decorating

Decorating has been analyzed in recent years and now there are guidelines for finishing a jump. Engineering studies have given us information about galloping speeds and takeoff spots that can help us take a more pro-active approach to decorating. Many factors contribute to the determination of the takeoff point. Terrain and direction of approach will influence how a jump is decorated, as well as the type and profile of each jump. As previously noted, decoration on the top four corners of the jump help the horses read the spread or width of the jump.

These decorations also define the height. You can find more detailed information on the United States Eventing Association website found here: Cross-Country Course Design.

Ground Lines

Another very important part of the decoration is the ground line that helps to show the horse the bottom of the fence and thus helps even more in perception of height. Ground lines not only show up from a distance as a noticeable identifier of a jump’s location and height, but also can and should be set in front of the obstacle to help the horse to take off with enough space to allow his front legs to come up. The location, size, and shape of any ground line will be determined by the type and siting of the specific jump. Materials used to create a ground line usually are natural, such as a wooden rail, mulch, straw, hay, pine straw, greens, flowers, bushes, or a combination of those things. Artificial flowers are also a commonly used material. The ground line becomes part of the overall base spread dimension, which is limited under the rules governing the sport. Therefore, care must be taken to avoid exceeding the base spread specified for the competition level of the jump being decorated.

In addition to the ground line, decorations set just in front of a jump at the outer edges of its face, or leading edge will give the horse more information about when he must leave the ground to clear the jump. This comes into play as he arrives at the last stride or so before takeoff, when he sees from his side vision only. These decorations are most often tall items such as trees or shrubs.

About the Author

Janine Preece McClain is a veteran of the eventing world, having competed in many events and during her riding career. She holds a USEF “r” Eventing Course Designer’s license and has worked as a course designer and cross-country decorator at many events in the eastern U.S. and Canada, including the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C. She has created this publication using her knowledge of jumping horses and sense of artistry to aid in the safety of the sport and add beauty to the courses. Visit wintertalefarm.com/book to learn more.

Jun 29, 2022 Eventing News

USEA President Max Corcoran Appointed USEF Eventing Elite Program and Team Facilitator

On May 1, 2022, Max Corcoran was appointed as the Eventing Elite Program and Team Facilitator. In her role, Corcoran will support the areas of communication, logistics, and management of the teams for the Eventing Programs to deliver sustained success at World and Olympic Games level. As the Facilitator, she will work closely with the interim Chef d’Equipe/Team Manager, Bobby Costello, and eventing staff to build solid lines of communication with athletes, grooms, owners, coaches, veterinarians, and all stakeholders linked to the athletes and develop the structures around the Elite Program and senior U.S. Eventing Team.

Jun 29, 2022 Education

A Case for Warming Up (and How to Do It Correctly) with Kyle Carter

Imagine: you are at the biggest sporting event of your life. The stakes are high, and you have spent countless hours preparing for it. However, you are expected to just show up and immediately perform. You cannot stretch or take a practice swing. You have no time to loosen up or sharpen your eye. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Just like us, our horses need adequate time to warm up each day. A warmup is any preparation for work, and it is often the leading edge of that work. It is the small aid response that becomes the more advanced aid response.

Jun 28, 2022 Hall of Fame

Newest Invitation to USEA's Eventing Hall of Fame Extended to Trish Gilbert

This year a new class will be joining the 47 eventing legends currently in the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Eventing Hall of Fame. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor awarded within the sport of eventing in the United States. Those invited to join the USEA's Eventing Hall of Fame have truly made a difference in the sport of eventing. Hall of Fame members have included past Association presidents, volunteers, riders, founding fathers, course designers, officials, organizers, horses, horse owners, and coaches

Jun 28, 2022 Rules

Rule Refresher: What Will Be Expected of Me at the Training and Modified Level?

Preparing for your first horse trial and not sure what is expected of you at each level? Over the course of the next few Rule Refreshers, we will be diving into each level and the performance expectations of each phase. Want to better prepare yourself or your students for their first competition or a move-up? The USEA Eventing Handbook by the Levels is a free resource to all USEA members that outlines clear and consistent guidelines for riders and trainers to refer to when navigating their way through the competition levels.

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