Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 8, 2022 – We have just finished week 8 of the WEF series and it was the week of the Nations Cup Competition and the $216,000 CSIO 4* JTWG Inc. Grand Prix. It is a very difficult week for the course designer in the international ring as it features multiple major classes and the hours are really long and the focus to create inventive courses daily is not easy. We normally have a feature class under the lights once and maybe twice but this week we had Thursday night and Friday night and Saturday night feature classes. There is also the walk of the $216,000 grand prix on Sunday afternoon. Our course designer for the week has been Steve Stephens (USA) and is assisted by Nick Granat (USA) and they have provided us with great courses throughout the week.
I think that the fact that for a course designer to design a nations cup for their country is overlooked by many. To design a nations cup in a major (Olympics, world championship, world cup finals and Pan American games) says that as a course designer you are the best in that country. Steve Stephens has that distinction. Anthony Di’Ambrosio and Guilherme Jorge who are on the course design advisory board at WEF also have that distinction. We are in good hands. I have a few comments about the Nations Cup that was held on Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Round one was held in the afternoon under daylight conditions and the second round was held under the lights. Statistics have shown that the second round will ride a little easier than the first because the second round is the same as the first. We broke the mold tonight because the second round was far more difficult than the first. There were several clear rounds in the afternoon that were not very successful in the evening. Tradition shows that a great course in the nations cup will result from 1 to 4 double cleans after the two rounds and Saturday night resulted in 4 double cleans. Tradition also provided that double clears were rewarded by Federations awarding a new pink jacket to that rider. Like many traditions that one has been forgotten. One may say that it was the fact that the second round was under the lights and therefore more difficult but we jump these horses at night all the time and I will point out that the water jump in the afternoon and at night played a very minor roll in the overall fault count. It was a great class and congratulations to Ireland, Canada and the USA for the medal placings.
We will now move to the Sunday afternoon feature CSIO 4* $216,000 JTWG Inc. Grand Prix. We have a class of 50 entries and with adds and scratches I believe we will see 44 compete. (I think that is the number). The WEF qualifier was a table “a” speed which is a jump off course against the clock and allows the course designer to build bigger than a regular speed track and I think that the Thursday qualifier prepared the entries tonight for the course that the will encounter. The course will show 14 numbered obstacles and 17 efforts. The Ta is set at 78 seconds and will not be changed. We will see 1 double and 1 triple combination. There is 2 liverpools (1 closed vertical in a combination, and 1 oxer). There is also 1 8ft pole vertical. There is no water, no plank vertical, no wall and no triple bar. The weather is perfect and we are ready for the walk of the CSIO 4*$216,000 JTWG Inc. Grand prix.
#1 oxer 1.45/1.47/1.45m or 4.9/4.10/1.9ft comes across the face of the in-gate on the right rein and 2 riders to the showers for a quick shower.
#2 vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes on the full turn right and 3 poles fell from grace 3 times.
#3 oxer 1.48/1.55m or 4.11/5.1ft comes from #2 almost in a straight line with a distance of 27m or 90ft across the face of the in-gate and was pushed to the floor 2 times.
#4 vertical 1.62m or 5.3ft comes from #3 on the left rein with no given distance from #3 and gravity pulled 6 poles to earth.
#5 oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.5ft comes from #4 on the bending left rein and tumbled to the turf 6 times.
#6 oxer 1.52/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes in a straight line from #5 with a distance of 19.50m or 64ft and this forward distance of 4 strides there were 4 failures to execute.
#7 short pole vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes on the full right turn from #6 and was the bogy fence tonight with 11 kisses from mother earth.
#8a closed Liverpool vertical 1.48m or 4.11ft comes from #7 in a straight line with a distance of 26.9m or 88ft and met a watery grave 4 times. I will point out that Steve will use a Liverpool in a combination on a regular basis in major classes and I am a fan of the Liverpool in a combination. There was 1 refusal resulting in elimination.
#8b oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.5ft comes from #8a with a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft and saw 4 splashdowns.
#9 oxer 1.52/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes in a straight line from #8b with distance of 28.6m or 94ft and was the only obstacle to remain intact in the first round today.
#10 vertical 1.58m or 5.3ft comes from #9 on the full turn left and away from the in-gate and was damaged 2 times.
#11 oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.5ft comes from #10 on a right bending line with no given distance and received 7 errors in judgement.
#12 vertical 1.62m or 5.3ft comes from #11 in a straight line with a distance of 21.3m or 70ftand fell from the clear sky 5 times.
#13a oxer 1.50/1.65m or 5/5.5ft comes from #12 on the full turn left and we are now coming home and with the scope of the oxer and the triple coming late on the course there were 9 encounters with mother earth.
#13b vertical 1.57m or 5.1ft comes from #13a with a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft (my course plan was a little worn and I hope I read it correctly) and felt the wrath of the jump gods and was punished 6 times.
#13c vertical 1.57m or 5.1ft comes from #13b with a distance of 7.90m or 26ft and was given no respect 8 times.
#14 oxer 1.53/1.75m or 5.1/5.8ft comes from #13c in a straight line with a distance of 23.5m or 77ft and was the final jump on course this afternoon and also the last jump for 3 riders. We are now ready for the results of the first round of the $216,000 CSIO 4* JTWG Inc. Grand prix.
There will be 8 competitors advancing to the jump off. There was 1 round having only 1 time fault and 1 with 2 time faults. We saw 7 rounds of 4 faults, 1 with 6 and 2 with 7 faults. There were 8 rounds with 8 faults and 1 with 9. The rest will jump another day. There was 1 fall from a refusal and thus elimination. There were 3 VW’s.
We have had some great course design so far in this 2022 season and this was another fair 4* event They were properly prepared with WEF qualifier and we had great jumping and riding this Sunday afternoon and more to come in the coming weeks. In another comment on the Nations Cup I have asked that we see a new wall and we got one in the Nations Cup, per Stephens design, and a couple of new jumps that are so important in course design. I am happy to report that we will see new walls over the final weeks and that is a welcome addition to the walks. The wall in the Nations Cup was a major factor in the results and we need more variety in the material used in the fill and not just the standards which are basically advertising and horses and riders need to see something besides poles and planks. One more addition to what we see in the courses should be a double of liverpools. Let me know what you the reader think’s? With that question until next week I am Dave Ballard.