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Early riders give reactions to eventing World Championships cross-country

  • Early riders have shared their thoughts on Giuseppe Della Chiesa’s track after completing their eventing World Championships cross-country rounds in Pratoni Del Vivaro, Italy this morning (17 September).

    The optimum time of 9mins 50sec is proving hard to achieve and there have been conflicting opinions on the course, which some riders have been vocal about.

    First to go of the Irish riders, Sam Watson, put in a solid performance with SAP Talisman, jumping a clear round and collected just 2.4 time-faults.

    “There are very few moments on the course when you can just relax, because with the terrain whether you’re going uphill or downhill, it’s always work,” said Sam. “But come on, we’re at a World Championship – we need to work for 10 minutes.”

    Sam was thorough in his analysis of his round and the track riders are facing today on the eventing World Championships cross-country course.

    “My horse is balanced and a real athlete – he’s small, hardly 16hh, so footwork is his forté. I added in a few combinations, which I don’t think many other people will be able to do,” said Sam. “I really enjoyed our round, even though it was hard work. If it’s not hard work, we all go clear in the time and today doesn’t matter so much. Today we’re out of our comfort zone and there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s high performance sport.”

    Sam was full of praise for Giuseppe’s track.

    “I think Giuseppe, you have to be a genius now to push us out of our comfort zone and make it horse-friendly. To jump around, the speed we go is our decision – it’s our responsibility. We must know how much energy the horses have, we must know how fit they are. We must manage that from the start to the finish, and if we don’t, it’s on us, it’s our responsibility. So the course-designer for me has done his job. It’s a very safe track to jump and it’s a hard track to ride – congratulations, Giuseppe.”

    Germany’s Christoph Wahler (pictured), however, felt differently about the course. Riding Carjatan S, he also jumped clear, incurring 9.6 time-faults.

    “I didn’t really like it, to be honest. I think Michi [Michael Jung] said some very true things about the course designing yesterday, and that’s pretty much my opinion too,” said Christoph. “He jumped amazingly well, over everything that I put him in front of. And I think then he just got a little bit tired and I had to do some alternative routes where he just didn’t feel bouncy and powerful enough in the canter to ride the direct lines. But in the end, it is what it is. It’s a clear for the team. I would have liked to go faster, but today I couldn’t.”

    France’s Astier Nicolas had a mostly good round with Alertamalib’or, bar a run out at fence 7c, the final part of the Slide, and also 11 penalties for a broken frangible device at fence 18, the Goldspan Farm. He incurred 8.4 time-faults.

    Speaking of his run-out at the Slide, Astier said: “I had to make a choice between not stopping at the top and controlling the slope down. But I lost a bit of control going down the hill and ended up on a two-and-a-half stride distance, so the horse had to save his skin – really it was my fault.”

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