The rain was gone by 930 am, the footing was pretty darn good, the course was really tough and there were lots of stops on course and some falls one scary fall into a hairy looking ditch but it was a seasoned rider Bill Hoos rider and horse walked away. The jump was so damaged they ended up rerouting the remaining horses.
My observation was that the courses were max efforts for the levels and it was a big step up in "atmosphere". Not a bad thing at all, but caught some folks out. AS for XC, I believe (could be wrong of course!) that the national and the FEI divisions ran the same tracks.
If you believe everything you read, better not read. -- Japanese Proverb
I competed in the Intermediate this weekend, and there was carnage in all the upper level divisions. It was only our second Intermediate, and I felt that some of the questions were too much for the level. We shared every single fence with the 2* with no options, and the 2* was one of the tougher ones I've seen. Same went for the 3*/Adv and 1*/Prelim; the 'regular' levels were a bit overwhelmed with having to do an FEI/championship level course.
They re-routed the course to the arenas up the hill, and put the most difficult questions IN the arena. Most horses aren't accustomed to that kind of atmosphere, much less having to focus on an extremely hard question, with tents, spectators, flags, change in terrain/footing, etc. I felt we were set up for failure in that particular area.
I finished on a 91 in 9th place, adding a stop, a good deal of time, and one rail to our dressage score. Of 20 in my division, only 9 finished.
I rode this weekend. I felt the courses themselves were big, technical, but well designed and placed. I felt that it was definitely a great championship course and my horse answered all the questions fantastically. I felt that the riding wasn't up to par for many people out there because of the max height and width and technicality but the course was well designed, the jumps were well designed and they utilized a fantastic facility! I had only been there for the AEC's previously, and that was a mad house. I loved this event and will continue to go in the future.
Unfortunately, between the rain that fell throughout the night and the length of grass (it was about 8 inches and it was THICK grass), my horses didn't want to take off. Started in the warmup and I knew I had to kick on... the going was just too sticky. I had good studs in, didn't slide or slip, just not my horses liking...
The only issue I had is not having a food vendor for the public, only food available was for VIP tent people. I'm sorry if you have sponsors, competitors and spectators, you need to offer food for purchase. Also, the amount of vendors that had were great. I hope we supported them ( i know I spent some money). They were just set a tad far from the barns to get a lot of competitors there throught the day.
There was ONE food truck, and that was high-end stuff. Delicious and out of the ordinary, but $8+ for barbeque or a burger or a chicken wrap!
I think the terrain and the wet took a toll, that was a LONG run up hill to the arena, then down that hill into the arena wasn't much easier. There were a lot of very tired horses.
I also saw a lot of heavy horses, some looked downright fat for doing 2* & 3*.
I think though everyone got through unscathed? There were 2 that ended up in ditches, one in the 1* and then Bill Hoos's horse in the 3*. I think both were ok, they both walked away, as did their riders. Poor Bill got catapulted off, I hope he really is ok...
I was a bit taken aback to have to pay $15 to watch and $5 to park! I'd driven over two hours just to watch XC, I wasn't about to turn around and go home, so I paid and stayed. Ended up jump judging for a bit because they ran out of volunteers by the time the 2* ran. Heh, and I got to be the one to stop Darren and tell him that he was eliminated! That was...interesting
The courses were definitely tough. The lighting in the SJ was very harsh, and caused a lot of issues. I'm not a rider at that level, so I can't comment on the technicality of the courses...but it sure seemed like a lot more 'carnage' than I am accustom to seeing. The Novice XC course was very soft...and the Novice SJ appeared to be set at BN height.
I vendored this weekend...and was very disappointed with the location of the vendor area. The Chatt Hills venue has wonderful site planning that was blatantly ignored by the organizers this year...vendors were placed at the bottom of the hill, below the arenas instead of in the area between the barns and arena that was clearly designed for vendors to be located.
There was no food. No coffee. Really not many people there at all. The bonfire and techno music was a good idea, but there was no one there to enjoy it. It was too far away from the VIP area.
I don't know...the weather really didn't help either. I think the idea is right...the venue is amazing...but the organization this year was just off. There is a huge opportunity here...but this year just wasn't what I was expecting at all.
My daughter rode in the CIC1*, her first at that level and can say she was overwhelmed by the technicality of the xc course, she was one of the unfortunate victims of the arena combination. The angle on the brush combination was a bit extreme in our trainers opinion, here is a pic of it: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...8&l=e0c103e4e9 The prelim and 1* div shared most the course with the exception of the last few jumps. The atomsphere of show jumping with the VIP tent in the arena also was a bit overwhelming for her, she froze mentally after a brilliant warm up (wasnt dark yet at that point) and had 4 rails. Honestly, we quickly realized they just weren't ready for a maxed out 1*, our horse has never refused on course until this event. Back to run a few more prelims and will try again at Midsouth in the fall.
As far as the organization of the event, same as the comments above. The lack of food vendors and the vendor area's distance from the competitor stabling was ridiculous. The location of the facility is far enough from civilization that there was no place close enough to make a quick food or coffee run. The 2 and 3 star competitors were given VIP access but for some reason the 1 star competitors who paid the same entry fee, were not, which made no sense to me. We were very disappointed, they tried so hard to make it a spectator event that they forgot to take care of the competitors. The concept is a good one, they just were way off target with balancing the needs of the two groups (competitors and spectators). The farm is beautiful, stabling was fantastic and the organizers, officials, etc were very friendly so there was some positive. In chatting with a few of the vendors, I can say they were not happy with their location either.
I am in hopes they will fix their mistakes for future events
Last edited by MotherofanEventer; May. 20, 2013 at 12:32 AM.
For anyone wondering, Bill Hoos and Carmac are both okay after their fall. Carmac is sound and was happily grazing in his pasture Sunday morning, while Bill was riding and teaching lessons by 7am (anyone who knows Bill will not be surprised by this). They both may be sore, but it's nothing more than a bruise or two.