One of the few nice things about having strong opinions is that when you are right, you are on record as being right. For the last several years I have walked the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event cross-country course on Friday afternoon, just after the last dressage ride of the day. The course walk is sponsored by Practical Horseman magazine and has received a gratifying response from spectators who stay after the close of the day's competition for an advance look at the course.
When I was asked during this year's walk to rate the 2010 course, I replied that I thought it was technically easier than in former years and that we should expect to see quite a few "double-clears." However, I added, we could also expect a surprising number of falls. My reasoning? Riders make mistakes once they become convinced that a three- or four-star course is "easier than last year." I suppose an "easier" four-star course is an oxymoron, but experienced riders do think of courses this way. They certainly were correct about Rolex this year, but I also think that mindset has dangers of its own.
Follow me on this year's course walk to see the highlights and learn about the questions the course designer was asking of the riders and horses. I'll be discussing fences #1 Flower Box, #2 Rock Wall, #5 Angled Rails, #6 HSBC Duck Marsh, #8 Log Cabins, #10 Park Question and #16 Head of the Lake.
Video by Amy Katherine Dragoo
To read Jim's 2010 Rolex wrap-up and critiques of three riders, see the July 2010 issue of Practical Horseman.