Course designer Helen West gives her feedback on Nunney International Horse Trials 2017-06-19
I am thrilled with the feedback I have received on my tracks. I thought the change of direction worked really well and that the ground worked better for riders going this way. It was far nicer to ride up to the open ditch/trakhenar than have to come down the hill to it, especially at the lower levels, as it encouraged riders to move forward to it.
I was impressed with the standard of riding at the lower levels as riders were demonstrating positive riding which was producing some great jumping. They were also riding with integrity and took time to set their horses up which was great to see. I thought I had a good balance of questions which tested combinations and helped to produce good riding. I was also pleased that the combination of the double of houses, followed by the narrow stick pile at the end of the tracks, slowed the less experienced riders up and they finished in good balance.
The CIC2* track produced a great result. The track took some riding and rewarded those who rode positively but kept in balance. Those that were a little wild had glance offs or missed their turn (especially at the brush corners), and those that were not committed enough came to grief (particularly at the water and brush eyelashes).
I was especially pleased with how well the bounce rails to step down rode on both the intermediate & the CIC2* as this combination encouraged horses to keep their shape and produced some lovely pictures. Riders can expect an element ‘C’ there in 2018!
The water complex proved influential in the higher level classes. I expected the distance to ride slightly long in the CIC2* and wanted riders to come down the hill in good balance, with the weight off the horses’ forehand, and then use the turn to ride forward to the combination into the water. Those that did this made the distance easily and it looked smooth. Those who lacked the balance required struggled to make the one stride.
I expected the intermediate combination into the water to ride more straight forwardly and it did. This was partly due to this route landing on dry ground rather than directly into the water, added to which the distance came up easier. The MIM clips worked well and made the fence more forgiving for those who had an uncomfortable jump, potentially preventing a few falls. I struggle with the FEI frangible rules regarding MIM activation, as those competing in the national classes are not penalised whereas those in the CIC receive 11 penalties. As a designer, you want to make the sport as safe as possible whilst still asking enough questions. We are encouraged to use these devises but do not want combinations being penalised for activating them when the horse simply lowers its back legs too early. There is a very real difference between this and preventing a rotational fall!