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xc course design

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  • xc course design

    I think Southern Pines got the right idea when they got a new course designer...I'm now not a big fan of John Williams design. apparently Pinetop - a great event in every other way - is an example...
    Aren't early season courses supposed to get the horses going and build confidence??... instead this course (Pinetop) was trappy, tricksy.. and nearly 7 minutes long (advanced)...?? what's up with that?
    Tons of trouble too...
    geez, thanks john. what were you thinking? Not about the horses obviously..

  • #2
    Were you here Doodle? Trappy and tricksy? Many of the riders were quite happy with the courses. Some of the questions caused some anxiety but they rode quite well.

    This in no way is meant to belittle the very unfortunate falls and injuries but I have to defend John's work. He put a lot of good thought and effort into these courses.

    One of the Advanced questions, the bounce/skinny/corner complex at Boot Hill, was one that we discussed at length with regard to late afternoon sun. The rider reps commented that the other riders liked it and wanted to ride it unaltered if at all possible. We concluded to add flower boxes to compensate for the sun and shadows and it rode fine.

    The other booger complex was the coffin, which also rode fine and got a few glance-offs as it should have. After all, it is called the Cross Country Test.
    Glenn
    Had enough hopey-changey yet?

    Comment


    • #3
      Its always nice when events bring in a new course designer from time to time. Nothing against any designer in particular, just that is brings a "fresh pair of eyes" to a course and hopefully new courses/tracks. You know spice things up from time to time.

      Most of John's courses have spots that when you walk them at times you go . But once on course, if you plan your ride correctly for your horse, they ride really nice. I like courses like that, if you plan and ride your particular horse correctly for him/her, you do come off the course going "h#^l yeah that was fun, lets go again"

      Every course has its problems, at any level, from time to time! It could be the position of the fence, weather, lighting, footing, etc. But thats what makes is cross country.

      Comment


      • #4
        I worked with John for about eight years as a course designer and am well aware of the incredible thought process he goes through in fence placement, terrain analysis course design. You may not care for his courses, You may not like him personally, but don't ever suggest that he sets out to design poorly set up trappy stuff.

        Our group had a horse at each level, the prelim horse not hugely experienced at the level and the Int and Adv horse went out of the box with a catch rider. All three horses handled the courses with ease.
        www.amiddle-agedmadwomantakesthereins.blogspot.com

        www.pegasusridge.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by pegasusmom View Post
          I worked with John for about eight years as a course designer and am well aware of the incredible thought process he goes through in fence placement, terrain analysis course design. You may not care for his courses, You may not like him personally, but don't ever suggest that he sets out to design poorly set up trappy stuff.
          Thank you, pegasusmom, very well said. If the OP has a problem with the course, she should fill out a event evaluation, not launch a personal attack or drag someone's good name through the mud.
          Balanced Care Equine

          Comment


          • #6
            Would like to add one last thing with regard to this - the TD inspects the courses to make sure they are incompliance and appropriate and the PoGJ gets the final say so to include overridng a CD. The PoGJ for this event is herself a "R" CD.
            www.amiddle-agedmadwomantakesthereins.blogspot.com

            www.pegasusridge.com

            Comment


            • #7
              I think John designs some very good courses that ride very well. However, they aren't always easy, inviting, move up courses.

              I've ridden his courses, thought I was going to die before going out, and have had clinicians say things along the lines of "Remind me never to come show down here!". But, you never see anyone coming off the courses looking like they didn't have an absolute blast.

              They're a little too challenging for my taste, but then I'm always riding ultra-green horses at their first or second shows where that kind of course wouldn't be appropriate.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Coppers mom View Post
                But, you never see anyone coming off the courses looking like they didn't have an absolute blast.
                Does the above statement include the 12 riders who fell at Pine Top -- including 3 who were chauffeured off course to the hospital? And what about the 4 horses that fell -- did they have an absolute blast?

                We all agree that no course designer wants to harm any horses or humans. But we have to take it seriously when things go seriously awry. An honest, unflinching investigation and assessment -- which is what needs to be done in these cases -- is not a personal attack on anyone.

                Course designers have licenses and they need to be accountable to their licenses, much in the same way doctors and lawyers and hairdressers are. Otherwise, what's the point of a license?

                Course designers make XC courses for the public to see and USEF/USEA members to ride. Which means criticism and commentary will ensue.

                Comment


                • #9
                  scares th riders, but, thhe horses

                  I found that, although his courses scared the **&*___ out of me on walking it; after jumping it; the horse came out roaring like a lion on SJ
                  breeder of Mercury!

                  remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Coppers mom View Post
                    But, you never see anyone coming off the courses looking like they didn't have an absolute blast.

                    .
                    I beg to differ...I've had several upper level riders tell me their horses don't come off these courses feeling confident, nor did they have a blast .. they come off feeling confused and backed off. not quite what you want early in the season I don't think. that's what the OP meant I think - that this early in the season the courses should be more inviting to get the horses going.. and to save the technical stuff for later.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just to clarify - there were 11 falls at 10 different fences. And I believe that at least two of the horse falls were unrelated to fences.

                      And yes, hold your licensed CD accountable. But you damn sure better hold your officials JUST as accountable. At the end of the day the buck stops with them.
                      www.amiddle-agedmadwomantakesthereins.blogspot.com

                      www.pegasusridge.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        well said!

                        I.too, thought I would die; and did pull up rather than have the horse flip "rotational fall" just entering our vocabulary that time; I wondered what would happen to that event if, there were a rider death;thought it through , decided I would die only if the horse stepped on my chest ; I only stated to enjoy it before he last combination, the water, and after , or at the last fence thought "ah---it's over?






                        Originally posted by Coppers mom View Post
                        I think John designs some very good courses that ride very well. However, they aren't always easy, inviting, move up courses.

                        I've ridden his courses, thought I was going to die before going out, and have had clinicians say things along the lines of "Remind me never to come show down here!". But, you never see anyone coming off the courses looking like they didn't have an absolute blast.

                        They're a little too challenging for my taste, but then I'm always riding ultra-green horses at their first or second shows where that kind of course wouldn't be appropriate.
                        breeder of Mercury!

                        remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          tight on!

                          But you damn sure better hold your officials JUST as accountable. At the end of the day the buck stops with them.
                          breeder of Mercury!

                          remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pegasusmom View Post
                            I worked with John for about eight years as a course designer and am well aware of the incredible thought process he goes through in fence placement, terrain analysis course design. You may not care for his courses, You may not like him personally, but don't ever suggest that he sets out to design poorly set up trappy stuff.

                            I agree with this. While John's courses may tend to be on the challenging side, I feel that he is definitely one of the best and most thoughtful course designers we have. His courses always ride well if ridden well!
                            http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Seems to me this winter, esp in the past 6 weeks or so, has been harder on training schedules than most years. If it hasn't been wet it's been icy, if not icy, covered in snow.

                              While it is certainly possible that the course design was flawed, I have to wonder first if horses were coming in with as strong preparation as they usually do.
                              http://wildwoodfarmnc.com

                              http://cantersgutenberg.wordpress.co...g-quiet-goose/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I've refrained from saying anything about Pine Top this weekend, even though I was there spectating, because I only ride Prelim. So, in regards to Prelim only- the course was absolutely fine. It was a great course, and anyone who does their homework and plans their season accordingly would be ready for it. It's the third show Pine top holds in the spring/winter, so there is some progression. It was a hard prelim, but I saw a TON of bad riding. In particular, people familiar with the spring season in Area III realize that this is a show most people use to prep for the Florida * or other bigger events. If it's your second time out, you don't go to this one. That's why I wasn't showing. We have a few Prelims under our belt, but I'm holding out for the one in a month, which will probably be a little softer.

                                Now obviously there were some professionals who fell. I didn't see those falls, so I can't speak to what may have caused them, but I can tell you that everyone makes mistakes, and I bet they aren't blaming the course design.

                                There were some doozies on the A and I courses, that I was glad I wasn't jumping, but nothing looked terribly unfair, and I did see a lot of good riding as well. The one fall I saw at Int was totally rider error- she wasn't in good balance, jumped ahead, and came off over the shoulder when the horse pecked on landing. Mistakes happen, but that one for sure wasn't anyone's fault but that riders.

                                I really don't know what happened this weekend. I was completely surprised, considering the weather was AWFUL last year for this show, and the Advanced competitors did a great job of being careful and staying safe. I thought this weekend would be even better since the weather was pretty nice.

                                I have nothing but respect for the Wilsons and this great event, and I'm sure everyone involved is working to make sure all and any issues are resolved quickly.
                                "One thing vampire children have to be taught early is, don't run with a wooden stake."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I am thankful and sometimes amazed that people like John are willing to be course designers and put it all on the line, knowing that whatever they do they will be criticized.

                                  John also puts it on the line because he rides his own courses. That's a pretty good way to get immediate feedback and ideas for improvement.
                                  Glenn
                                  Had enough hopey-changey yet?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I've ridden over a lot of John Williams' courses over the years (including Intermediate at Pine Top last year), and have found them to be very fair. Pine Top always makes my eyes pop a bit but always rides great, too.

                                    We haven't been able to prep like normal here in the south due to the crazy weather, but if one was trying to get geared up or qualified for the big spring 3* & 4*s, or justify spending clients' money heading south even, one might be tempted to do something foolish.

                                    Jennifer
                                    Third Charm Event Team

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      My daughter and I were fence judges at PTF and for the prelim course were at jump #13, a large log at the top of a mound. Neither one of us thought that this fence was too challenging for Prelim and everyone made it over successfully. However, we discussed while OP was still running that it seemed to us that many of the professionals were riding green horses and that while they did make it over the jump, they didn't necessarily do it very well, handily, in good balance, etc... It was interestiing to see that many of the ones who were not very balanced stumbled the first stride after landing as they negociated the downhill of the mound. We need to keep in mind that several of the horse falls were not jump related. In addition, we need to keep in mind that the courses at upper level events are expected to be more challenging and are specifically not move up events. So the prelim at this event should be somewhat stiffer than at PTF's next event at the end of March as it caters to a more elite group.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by InVA View Post
                                        I beg to differ...I've had several upper level riders tell me their horses don't come off these courses feeling confident, nor did they have a blast .. they come off feeling confused and backed off. not quite what you want early in the season I don't think. that's what the OP meant I think - that this early in the season the courses should be more inviting to get the horses going.. and to save the technical stuff for later.
                                        I addressed this earlier in my post. He's hard, and you have to know that your horse is read for that kind of course. It was early in the year, but I've never seen John bring his courses down to "normal" just because it was early, they're always a bit difficult.

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