Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team member Boyd Martin took time to sit down with us and analyze this year’s course, which he’ll be taking on as the lead-off U.S. rider on Saturday morning.
All in all, my first impression when I walked the course was something in between being frightened and little bit sick in my stomach. In 15 years of eventing, this will be the biggest course in dimension that I’ve attempted—but maybe not the most technical and tricky.
I think it’s important for a rider looking to make a point to start out a little bit conservative and look after their ponies in the first third of the course and make sure they’ve got plenty of gas in the tank for the final sections.
The jumps and combinations that intimidate me are probably the first water, the coffin combination, the wishing wells, the double of corners and obviously the Head of the Lake.
Come to think of it, pretty much every fence on this course is scaring the hell out of me right now. But I feel like I’ve got a fit horse that’s been there and done it at this level a few times, so if I ride him well, he should do the job.
I feel like the course is so spread out over this wonderful Kentucky Horse Park that you won’t need a lightning fast horse to make the time. You’ll need a horse that can keep a consistently energetic canter around the course that he can hold for 11 minutes straight.
The temperature and the conditions are exactly what’s required for champion eventing, and the footing’s fantastic. I think it’s a very fair course that feels more challenging than any other four-star I’ve ridden in the last 10 years.
But I suppose we are at the world championships!