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View Full Version : Mike Etherington-Smith's course rocked



poltroon
Aug. 10, 2008, 11:55 PM
That was a truly awesome cross country. The fences were gorgeous, everyone came home safe, and the cross country really mattered in the standings. It felt like old times.

Maybe having the time too tight is a blessing for the horses, rather than a curse. If no one can make the time, maybe riders don't have an arbitrary number in their head, but rely more on their judgement on how fast they can go.

I don't know, but I'm so glad to have seen such a great day of cross-country. I bet it will be even better without abrupt commercials and BUFFERING. I hope they put out an extended DVD.

snoopy
Aug. 11, 2008, 12:04 AM
Yet again he performed miracles...it was a perfectly balanced test for all nations. It really was spectacular...but that was to be expected.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 11, 2008, 12:39 AM
Agreed, I think he hit a home run with this course. Esp great to see XC have such a big effect on the standings, no one cantering home on their dressage score, yet no death and destruction. Just right.
Sets up for a cracking day of showjumping.

Fixerupper
Aug. 11, 2008, 12:45 AM
I had some reservations beforehand due to how many technical fences were in the course...but it rode really well for most and safely for all...thank god(s) ;)

TexasTB
Aug. 11, 2008, 12:52 AM
I have to admit I was very worried about how XC was going to go, being such a tight track with the fences so close together.

But Mike really did pull one out of his hat. Yes the course was tight, but rarely if ever did you see riders have to gallop at breakneck speed, then slam on the brakes for twisty technical combinations. The combinations rewarded accurate riding, but without being twisty or trappy.

Compare this to WEG '06, where the course was combination after combination of turning questions, with more than one which required such extreme angles to be taken at fences that the horses never had a fair shot to evaluate what they were jumping.

This has been a very successful day for eventing (although that's not to say I'm not completely disappointed in the US's dramatic drop in the standings ;):()

Bluey
Aug. 11, 2008, 07:50 AM
That was such a good course that it made it look easy.:lol:

Good test and good PR from it, I think.:yes:

Madeline
Aug. 11, 2008, 09:17 AM
IS there a course description anywhere that includes dimensions?

Jazzy Lady
Aug. 11, 2008, 09:56 AM
Mike is what this sport needs.... LOTS of them! We need a petition to keep him after the WEGS!

cllane1
Aug. 11, 2008, 10:03 AM
A beautiful course, very visually appealing without the silly fill and fluff that has become the norm. Great combos that were fair to horse and rider.

Anyplace Farm
Aug. 11, 2008, 10:18 AM
Ohhh, I do hate being late to the party. Guys, when did this air?

I have my DVRs and TiVO working overtime so I hope one of them caught this.

Melissa.Van Doren
Aug. 11, 2008, 10:24 AM
Ohhh, I do hate being late to the party. Guys, when did this air?

I have my DVRs and TiVO working overtime so I hope one of them caught this.

Not on TV, but you can watch all the equestrian coverage at www.nbcolympics.com (http://www.nbcolympics.com)

Go to video, look up equestrian and watch til your heart's content!

NBC should be getting a ZILLION thank you's from horsefolk all over the world!

Mozart
Aug. 11, 2008, 12:22 PM
Yet again he performed miracles...it was a perfectly balanced test for all nations. It really was spectacular...but that was to be expected.

Completely agree. He is genius at producing courses that test the best and don't kill off the also rans. How he does it...is a mystery to me!

poltroon
Aug. 11, 2008, 01:09 PM
Ohhh, I do hate being late to the party. Guys, when did this air?

I have my DVRs and TiVO working overtime so I hope one of them caught this.

It has not aired yet. The broadcast will be 3pm Pacific, 6 pm Eastern, on Oxygen tonight, 2 hours.

The live internet coverage was 3 1/2 hours.

Appsolute
Aug. 11, 2008, 01:25 PM
Not on TV, but you can watch all the equestrian coverage at www.nbcolympics.com (http://www.nbcolympics.com)

Go to video, look up equestrian and watch til your heart's content!

NBC should be getting a ZILLION thank you's from horsefolk all over the world!


:no: This horseman spent a fustrating evening trying to get ANY of it to work. But alas... I have an older MAC, NBC made the site only accessable to those on PC's or macs that run on a PC platform.

Hopefully something will be on YouTube. It was a real dissapointment not to be able to watch ANY equestrian event on TV.. but they REPLAYED the beach volley ball (ladies in biknis any one?) and the swimming.....

Beezer
Aug. 11, 2008, 01:40 PM
It has not aired yet. The broadcast will be 3pm Pacific, 6 pm Eastern, on Oxygen tonight, 2 hours.

The live internet coverage was 3 1/2 hours.

Alas, Oxygen on my cable network (Time Warner) is apparently not carrying any Olympic coverage. :( None, nada, zippo, zilch. I've emailed NBC asking how and why this is, but I imagine they'll get back to me sometime in February. :sigh:

Foxtrot's
Aug. 11, 2008, 01:44 PM
...and the US/China basketball

mayhew
Aug. 11, 2008, 03:20 PM
Am I the only one who was a little dissapointed with the course? Maybe it's just because it was the first time I've seen an Olympic XC course on tv since the change to the shorter course... it just didn't seem like as much of a trial as I remember other Olympics being. I also thought the fence design was a little... plain. Which Olympics was it where there were live sheep in a pen on course? I do understand the space limitations of Hong Kong, though, and think that that was as much like a cross country course as a golf course could be made to look.

I'm not sure what to make of the feeling of relief that I felt when no one died or even badly crashed on course. On the one hand, yay, no one died! On the other hand, what state is our sport in when that is of note? Are there any other sports in the games where one might expect a few of the athletes to die as a result, and not just in a freak accident?

reprise
Aug. 11, 2008, 04:13 PM
I too thought that the course was well-conceived, visually appealing and rode exceptionally well even for the less-seasoned international riders who have the opportunity to represent their countries at the Olympics. I was concerned about the placing of the various fake clay-colored rocks on course - I realize from watching the on-line feed that some of them held speakers, and I assume some contained other electronics, but it seemed like some of the locations on course were inviting trouble with horses swerving to avoid them in some instances.

CristyC
Aug. 11, 2008, 04:35 PM
:no: This horseman spent a fustrating evening trying to get ANY of it to work. But alas... I have an older MAC, NBC made the site only accessible to those on PC's or macs that run on a PC platform.....

Sorta true but not really. It was available to Macs with an Intel processing chip. The Intel chip is fast enough to process and play the feed. Macs with Intel chips are not on PC platforms. They are still most definitely Macs through and through. Viewing the video required that you use Firefox and download a new Microsoft Program called Silverlight. I had never heard of it before yesterday (and neither had my Mac consultant). So, no, you don't really need a Mac running on a PC platform. You just have to have a Mac that is less than about 3 years old. Hope that helps demystify some.

Oh, and to stay on topic. It was a beautiful course for sure. Being of the photography ilk, I was very impressed with all the non jump details too.

Badger
Aug. 11, 2008, 05:01 PM
The rocks were artificial and covered huge drains that were installed to drain water from the golf/x-c course.

I think it is a huge accomplishment that the course was so influential, really spread out the riders, and did that without blood.

Jazzy Lady
Aug. 11, 2008, 05:02 PM
The "fake rocks" were covering drainage holes. So they certainly were needed.

RunForIt
Aug. 11, 2008, 06:38 PM
I figured out the last Olympics (Athens) that the XC fences weren't going to be the same as a 4*...BUT, the rides on this course were so nice to watch in that I stopped worrying about something going wrong for the horses, and then for the riders...XC was fun again for THIS spectator!

I did think that the time was extremely tight - could've caused problems for the horses if the riders were worried about medals rather than their horses. Didn't happen - lovely.

Maybe, just maybe, the FEI levels can learn something from the Olympics that soooo many of these riders, their sponsors, their countries - their EVERYBODIES spent so much time, effort, and money in getting to these Olympics...can't we have horse safe courses ALL the time and be proud of riding 'round XC on them? Thanks to Mike E-S for making this happen! :cool:

GO LUCINDA!!!!!!

WNT
Aug. 11, 2008, 07:02 PM
Watching the XC right now, and it has been a blast to watch. I caught the Youtube video of the course before they made it private (:P), and the fences were lovely. I liked the relative simplicity of the course, but it still looked plenty challenging. It is nice seeing the XC has had a definite effect on the standings! Dressage is all well and good, but XC should have this sort of influence, otherwise eventing would be a combined test!

evenstar
Aug. 11, 2008, 07:21 PM
I thought this was a perfect course. I was speculating with a friend just now that if we could have more courses like this - some good technical questions and a tight time that the riders knew wasn't doable, so they just rode their best ride and took the time penalties - then would we see fewer horrific falls, fewer comas, fewer deaths of horses?...

Of course I know this was an Olympic course, not a true ****, and was a shortened track due to the heat/humidity concerns, but I really like the idea of a course that makes a difference in the standings while still being fair to the horse.

Also, I am very glad that these Olympic riders got to live out MY dream of galloping madly over a well-manicured golf course! :D

CB/TB
Aug. 11, 2008, 07:53 PM
I thought the course looked pretty safe, too, and , as was said, riders knew they couldn't make the time, so didn't try to do the impossible. The few falls I saw - and there were just a few, thank goodness, didn't appear that spectacular- not that you want to see ANY falls, but everyone ( horses and riders)did walk away. I was really surprised when I turned to the Oxygen channel a bit after 6pm( ET) to actually see the Cross Country. I expected the gymnastics to take the majority of time, and be shown first, leaving the last bit for the jumping.
Next online on the 12th will be more eventing from 7:15am- to 12pm(et)
the 6pm to 8pm jumping on oxygen

dressage online Weds from 7:15 am-12pm ( Taking the laptop to work!!!!)
I'm enjoying the coverage

yellowbritches
Aug. 11, 2008, 08:42 PM
The course was lovely. It rewarded bold, accurate riding, but didn't punish and frighten if you got it wrong. Worse case scenario was a glance off, really. Perfect. It was fun to watch (so pretty! I know people have bitched about making the courses spectator appealing, but it was such a pleasure to see such a beautiful course), and it looked like it might have been a blast to ride. Challenging enough to keep the real 4 star combos thinking and working, but soft enough to let the less experienced pairs have a safe go, for the most part.

And, IMO, any time Mary King comes off a course with tears of joy, you know it had to be awesome. :yes:

TexasTB
Aug. 11, 2008, 09:30 PM
It really is brilliant if you think about it, making the time next to impossible to get. It prevents riders from barreling around the course to make the time, as they know they won't, while still rewarding those with the faster times. Not to mention it makes spectating a little more interesting, seeing who can make it the closest!






And, IMO, any time Mary King comes off a course with tears of joy, you know it had to be awesome. :yes:

GREAT sentence. I rewound just to watch her cross the finish line like 5 times today, you can't help but smiling when you see that. It reminds me of the look you see on rider's faces after they cross the finish line at their very first recognized event, so great to see that unadulterated enjoyment is still there, even for those at the top of the sport!

RunForIt
Aug. 11, 2008, 09:35 PM
It really is brilliant if you think about it, making the time next to impossible to get. It prevents riders from barreling around the course to make the time, as they know they won't, while still rewarding those with the faster times. Not to mention it makes spectating a little more interesting, seeing who can make it the closest!





GREAT sentence. I rewound just to watch her cross the finish line like 5 times today, you can't help but smiling when you see that. It reminds me of the look you see on rider's faces after they cross the finish line at their very first recognized event, so great to see that unadulterated enjoyment is still there, even for those at the top of the sport!

me too! Plus, YB gave her opinion in much the way I thought, just didn't have the experience nor the words to detail things well - THANKS, YB! (and again, Mike E-S)

GO LUCINDA!!!!!!

Anyplace Farm
Aug. 12, 2008, 08:57 AM
Also, I am very glad that these Olympic riders got to live out MY dream of galloping madly over a well-manicured golf course! :D

Isn't that just the best?

Mozart
Aug. 12, 2008, 10:33 AM
Isn't that just the best?

My golfer husband was cringing the whole time we watched, and not because he was worried about a fall. :lol:

eclipse
Aug. 12, 2008, 11:07 AM
H/J rider here! I LOVED watching this course, it rode beautifully and for the first time ever, I never felt like I was watching any complety scary obsticles! And, to get to gallop on a golf course.......my dream come true! :D :lol: And, yay for Bold TV in Canada (was Country Canada) who are showing 100% of the equestrian.....I cannot take my eyes off the tv & it's driving my husband nuts. And, with having a broken ankle, absolutely perfect timing......horses about 12 hours a day! :D