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Prelim x-country courses: Fair Hill vs Waredaca?

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  • Prelim x-country courses: Fair Hill vs Waredaca?

    Comparisons?

    I'm looking to do ONE HT in August at P, and am trying to decide between these two. (I am somewhat familiar with Waredaca's, having walked a good bit of it and schooled some of it; it's fair and inviting IMO--but can be kinda hilly.)

    So, for those of you who have done P at both (or who are at least familiar with both courses--keeping in mind that they are not the same every year ), your input and insights would be most appreciated; TIA!

    (Alas, I won't be able to get up to FH to school there this summer, though I have always wanted to...)
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

  • #2
    Well - do you prefer packed in tight or way way spread out?

    I think Fair Hill's XC is more forgiving and has a bit better flow. Its a galloping course (so of course, need to keep an eye out for rock-hard ground), but the August show hasn't in my experience been huge. The water is usually quite a good question but not unfair, and the quarry some variation of drop to bench or drop to forgiving corner. There is terrain - the coffin, the long pull up from below the water - but it's not a major issue. I have found Waredaca's XC to be a bit more technical and less forgiving, but that could be based on who I was sitting on at the time. I don't like either venue's show jump that well but for opposite reasons: Waredaca always seems a bit cramped and turn-and-burn; Fair Hill is the two minute, longest show jump ever in an enormous field.

    I don't think either are unfair courses, but I would say that in August, I'd be more likely to go to Loudoun than to either of these. The footing at Oatlands tends to be pretty good, and it's a nice format over the two days (though the show jump last year was pretty tough). I think their Preliminary course is a ton of fun with the sunken road and the fun key-hole, and you can't beat the location.

    Comment


    • #3
      I almost peed myself when I saw the roundbales on course, as a jump, at Oatlands. On the ride home, I kept passing hayfields saying "Holy cow, I just jumped those..." Granted, on a downhill and maybe worn down with age!
      But, yes, Oatlands is a lot of fun at that time of year. I love the openness of Fair Hill's course, but that footing takes a lot of abuse all year long and then is usually rock hard in August, so it's not the place I'd probably pick to jump XC.
      I evented just for the Halibut.

      Comment


      • #4
        interesting question!
        Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
        Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

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        • #5
          If i was only given the option of those two - Fair Hill hands down. The ground at both facilities gets mad crazy hard, but at least Fair Hill has longer grass and galloping lanes (plus no holes from horses being turned out).

          If you had the opportunity to run at Oatlands instead, I would do it in a heart beat! LOVE that event

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm going to go with waredaca - footing is aerated, course is uniform in difficulty and well thought out - plus not such a hike to xc in the heat. It is usually brutal hot at FH in Aug ( and the course doesn't much change form year to year either)
            Footing at FH is rock hard
            More technical maybe, but usually the prelim in Aug is a little on the softer side
            http://www.cngsporthorses.com

            Comment


            • #7
              DeeDee,
              Are you comming this year? I've filled out an entry but am worried about the footing in Aug

              Comment


              • #8
                No, no horse! My mare fx'd her coffin bone AND tore her collateral ligament in Jan and has been on stall rest and handwalking ( and PRP and shock wave) since. Sigh. All I have is a 3 yr old who I might bring to the FEH stuff on Fri. I've forgotten how to jump anything except 12 in x's.

                Footing has been aerated on xc last couple of years. Dressage will be hard but not much you can do with that..
                http://www.cngsporthorses.com

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                • #9
                  Waredaca generally aerates when necessary.
                  Take Your Equestrian Business to the Next Level: http://www.mythiclanding.com/
                  Follow me at http://mythiclanding.blogspot.com or http://twitter.com/mythiclanding

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                  • #10
                    so sorry to hear that. It's always something isn't it. Hope she's back in work soon

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks, folks--all the input is greatly appreciated!

                      Still on the fence (and footing is a big issue; I am trying to be a "footing Nazi" in terms of training and conditioning on what is *already* rock hard ground--in June! ), since my mare is sound and feels great (thank Jesus, and cross fingers), BUT if I pound her on cement, that may be the end of my season (which will be our last season, regardless.) She came up footsore after dressage at DRHT because of the ground--and I scratched the jumping phases. It turned out to be soreness in her heels (not related to the healed injury, thank goodness!) Poulticed them, rested her, tweaked the shoeing, and she is now right as rain. She did Waredaca (at Training), and skipped around the courses.(This being my LAST season--and hers!--it's kind of a big deal to keep her as happy and comfortable as possible.) So far I have been able to keep her sound, in full work, *and* focus on fitness conditioning stuff to prepare her for a full HT at Prelim, but I have had to be creative in order to do this This lucky (and beloved) mare receives the best care I can give her, and my goal is to keep her happy. (My daughter claims that she is "Paris Hilton", but she is NOT, because, um, MY horse actually has to work for a living Bodywork, massage, Legend, Adequan, hoof poultices, icing, etc. aside. If SHE is happy, *I* am happy! You all know how this goes...)

                      As for LHPC HT at Oatlands, I was thiinking about that, but the footing there has been rock hard the last few years (ALL phases on grass, again), and the Prelim course is a bit in places. Other stuff on the course seems pretty straightforward, but then there is the BIG Trak, the keyhole (some years), and that stuff in the woods (humongous brush to turning question: two white benches, made a "skinny to skinny combo" by the placement of a tree in front of the first one), which kind of made me go as well (I sat and watched a number of riders do those P questions the past two years, as a spectator.)

                      Her Majesty is a bit backed off by dark to light stuff, peeks into Trak ditches during schooling (but is perfect when jumping them on course), does NOT like square tables, unless she can SEE the back edge, and make the adjustment to her jump to accomodate the spread (luckily, those are becoming less and less prevalent on today's courses, thank God), but she is a complete champ at *any* water question--walk in the park--no problem with skinnies, and is a goddamned cutting horse when it comes to technical stuff--on either stadium or x-country. And really steps over most P stuff, since she has been schooling it at many different venues for about 4 years. (Still, she and I have our "Achilles Heels.")

                      Maybe all of this additional info will help?? Please keep the feedback coming, and just know the hard ground *is* a factor, but I have always really wanted to do Fairhill before I die of old age (but not at the expense of my horse, of course. ) This damnable weather (will it EVER rain again around here?? ) is just a cross we have to bear, I guess. I am used to having to scratch because the ground is under water, but it looks like this may be a summer when the opposite is true. However (as Mr. Dr. D keeps telling me, this is eventing.) Crap!
                      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you are worried about footing... first, don't compete in August!
                        But, if that's not an option, sounds like Waredaca is your best bet if they do aerate. I love Fair Hill's courses, but the XC footing (and therefore the stadium footing, as they usually hold the stadium on grass in August and you do the back-to-back SJ/XC thing) is rock hard and bumpy in August. Pass.
                        I evented just for the Halibut.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by NeverTime View Post
                          If you are worried about footing... first, don't compete in August!
                          But, if that's not an option, sounds like Waredaca is your best bet if they do aerate. I love Fair Hill's courses, but the XC footing (and therefore the stadium footing, as they usually hold the stadium on grass in August and you do the back-to-back SJ/XC thing) is rock hard and bumpy in August. Pass.
                          Argh. This seems to be the consensus!



                          Maybe I could shoot for FH in the fall...
                          "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                          "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Worst ground I ever jumped on was FH SJ in August.

                            At least Waredaca has good ground for SJ...

                            I think you are right to be leery of Loudon although gotspots and I are on record with totally opposing opinions on it and she's much more experienced than I

                            When I tried to move up at loudon I thought it was not a friendly course design at all. Several light-to-dark questions, including fence 3 (which caused multiple stops) and a big table in a treeline which many horses banked (my coach said the horses had trouble judging the width because the light changed across the top), etc....
                            And of course you know how I feel about that trak!
                            The big man -- my lost prince

                            The little brother, now my main man

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by asterix View Post
                              Worst ground I ever jumped on was FH SJ in August.

                              At least Waredaca has good ground for SJ...

                              I think you are right to be leery of Loudon although gotspots and I are on record with totally opposing opinions on it and she's much more experienced than I

                              When I tried to move up at loudon I thought it was not a friendly course design at all. Several light-to-dark questions, including fence 3 (which caused multiple stops) and a big table in a treeline which many horses banked (my coach said the horses had trouble judging the width because the light changed across the top), etc....
                              And of course you know how I feel about that trak!


                              Well, I believe this tips the scales! (And at least at Waredaca, I now know where the stabling is, for future reference. And can find the local hotel. Which, FYI, does NOT offer coffee until 7:00 AM! Poor Mr. Dr. D had to drive to the local McD's at 6:00 in the morning to get us coffee.)

                              Agree about Loudoun's Prelim at Oatlands, though their Training x-country usually seems to be on the soft side.

                              Thanks, all!
                              "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                              "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by asterix View Post
                                I think you are right to be leery of Loudon although gotspots and I are on record with totally opposing opinions on it and she's much more experienced than I

                                When I tried to move up at loudon I thought it was not a friendly course design at all. Several light-to-dark questions, including fence 3 (which caused multiple stops) and a big table in a treeline which many horses banked (my coach said the horses had trouble judging the width because the light changed across the top), etc....
                                And of course you know how I feel about that trak!
                                Grin. I really think an awful lot about that course depends on what you're sitting on. I was lucky enough to ride it on a horse who wants to be a bit careful but who is pretty experienced and had a lot of fun. I think of it as a course that will reward a forward ride but that if you think too much about you can quickly get stuck (luckily, the last time I rode it, I was very much in a "Tru knows more than I do" phase, so I just held on and kicked). I guess what I like about it is there's lots of things on it that you don't see at other Prelims in the area (the sunken road, the first water, the key hole) - which may be a good reason not to go! I'd note, however, that I did not run that course for time, as I was going for a clean, careful qualifier on hard ground, and thus folks who were going a bit faster may have had less time to adjust to the questions.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Honestly...I prefer the xc course for Fair Hill. I haven't been to Oatlands in years. But to me...Fair Hill's course has a better flow. I think the footing COULD suck at either event. I've been to both when it was hard and HOT...and both when it has been cool and raining (and footing good).

                                  Dressage is in footing for Fair Hill....on grass for Waredaca. Stadium will be on grass for Fair Hill...in footing for Waredaca. So that balances out to me.


                                  So in the end...I think you pick what fits best in your schedule for you....either event will be a good one.
                                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post


                                    Which, FYI, does NOT offer coffee until 7:00 AM! Poor Mr. Dr. D had to drive to the local McD's at 6:00 in the morning to get us coffee.)


                                    Thanks, all!
                                    Oh, good lord, I can contribute to this part of the discussion. Absolutely no need to get styrofoam coffee when you can turn left out of Waredaca day parking, drive about a mile, fill up with diesel, coffee, and a breakfast sandwich at the little gas station and grill on the corner. Think you can get a fishing license and check your deer there too!
                                    http://wildwoodfarmnc.com

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

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl View Post
                                      Oh, good lord, I can contribute to this part of the discussion. Absolutely no need to get styrofoam coffee when you can turn left out of Waredaca day parking, drive about a mile, fill up with diesel, coffee, and a breakfast sandwich at the little gas station and grill on the corner. Think you can get a fishing license and check your deer there too!


                                      Yes, but the problem is I need my caffeine FIRST thing in the AM (to drive the sludge out of my brain), so couldn't wait until we had packed everything up, fed dogs, I had stretched my Tin Man self and dressed, etc., checked out, and driven all the way back to Waredaca and stabling. Too bad no one delivers this "vital fluid"!! They do have one of those crummy little coffee pots in the room (with the coffee-ish little baggie thing that you put in it, then pour water over), but it always comes out as "weak tea", and I require the high octane stuff!
                                      "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                                      "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by NeverTime View Post
                                        If you are worried about footing... first, don't compete in August!
                                        Agreed

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