Course Design with Captain Mark Phillips
The art of designing cross country courses is something that is rarely appreciated when done well, but the talk of the town when done poorly. Having a well-done course is arguably the most important aspect of running a successful horse trials, which is why we chose Captain Mark Phillips to be the designer at Stable View.
Wednesday morning was a chilly but exciting experience, as the Stable View team drew together at the starting box for our March horse trials. We were all there to follow Captain Phillips around the course as he laid out the gallops and complexes, aiding him in whatever was necessary. Our course builder, Eric Bull had already put the jumps in their relative places from last years’ horse trials, leading us to a productive start for the day.
One of the first things Captain Phillips did to the first few fences was to clean up both the approaching and takeaway lines from the last horse trials. His emphasis on having the first few fences to set the pace was apparent in the open spaces he placed between them. The first three fences for all divisions are very straight-forward, allowing horse and rider to get their rhythm and establish confidence in hopes of having a successful run.
As we moved through the course, a major theme we attempted to follow was responding to the feedback from our last horse trials. As a gathering place, it is important for us to not only say, “We heard you!” but for us to follow through as well. The training division gave a lot of feedback about how the water ran, so for this event we are giving the training division a unique experience when choosing how to attack the water. It’s a challenge to layout good choices when designing a cross country course, but here at Stable View we love a good challenge. The training water obstacle gives you the option of taking either a roll top, a training down-bank, or a preliminary down-bank into the water. This unique setup allows you to choose the path that is either the easiest for you and your horse, or the path that helps get your ready to move up to preliminary.
Bringing in the top course designers, and the top course builders is a big part of being a gathering place. Your feedback has helped us make the improvements you asked for, and we hope to make even more in the future! With longer straightaways and bigger gallops, we think you are going to love our March cross-country course. Our goal is to make it better with each event, and to push the boundaries of the eventing experience. Come be a part of something special, come be a part of Stable View.