What You Need To Know: The 2016 Pessoa/USEF Medal Final

Oct 15, 2016 - 5:17 PM

The Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals kicks off today here at the Farm Show Arena in Harrisburg, Pa., at 7 a.m. The estimated time to start for the final round is 5:15 p.m.

There are 277 riders—including one from Puerto Rico—riding for a chance at one of the most prestigious equitation titles around. That’s 10 fewer starters than last year.

Marylisa Leffler and Jimmy Torano will be judging today, and they also designed the course. 

The Chronicle is ringside live blogging throughout the day, and you can follow along here.

Other useful links and information:

The course for Round 1 is unusual in that the riders ride a course of eight fences, then immediately ride most of the same jumps again backwards.

They start out over a wingless coop set along the long side of the ring, then ride a bending line to a vertical at No. 3 across the ring. A tight rollback in the corner of the ring leads to an oxer at Fence 3, then they turn left across the ring again to a vertical-vertical combination where the verticals are set at angles. The course map designates that the first time through this combination, as 4AB, the line is to be ridden in two strides.

They then turn right and jump a fence of straw bales along the long side, with a sharp right turn to a wingless, airy green gate. They swing around the corner by the in-gate and jump a Swedish oxer at Fence 7 set on the end of the ring. For Fence 8, they go back to the straw bales and the combination of verticals and start the reverse course.

The course map dictates that they must ride the same number of strides both ways between the straw bales and combination of verticals. It’s a bending five, six or seven strides.

The second time through the vertical-vertical combination, numbered 9 and 10, the judges want the riders to fit three strides into the distance. The riders who bend out and ride a curved line seem to fit the three strides in nicely; a more direct line is difficult for many horses with a long stride to squeeze the three in.

Riders finish with a serpentine over the oxer at the end of the ring that was Fence 3 and is now 11 and then a rollback to the vertical as the last jump. 

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