The course that judges Cynthia Hankins and Candice King have set for this year’s Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals is full of natural style obstacles, including a curved brush fence at center ring that’s to be jumped twice—as the first and last jump on course.
Riders start out over this curved brush, then ride a short turn around the end of the ring and out of the corner to a narrow, square split-rail oxer at Fence 2. A forward four strides away is another narrow, square split-rail oxer (this one’s a bit wider). They then ride a bending left-hand five-stride line to a vertical of brown rails.
A tight roll-back to the left follows to approach the infamous narrow white vertical gate that features in so many of Medal Finals courses.
Riders then have a bit of a gallop up the long side to Fences 6AB, an oxer-vertical one-stride of green gates and rails. They then turn out of the short side corner to a brown coop, which has no wings but is framed by ferns. From there they canter on the diagonal across the ring to Fence 8, a Swedish oxer of birch rails set in the corner headed straight toward the in-gate.
It seems like it isn’t a Medal Finals course without a tough triple combination right under the judges’ noses, and this year is no exception. For Fence 9ABC, riders traverse up the long side right in front of the judges over a vertical-vertical-oxer combination. It’s a tight two strides between the verticals at A and B and then a long two out over the oxer.
They then turn out of the short side into the diagonal and jump a vertical of squiggly natural rails five strides to an oxer of bright wood rails. They then finish up over Fence 12 with a gallop down the middle of the ring over the brush fence again.