BY LAUREN MAULDIN
It’s the best weekend of the year for horse lovers, so they say! Even though spectators are not allowed at this years’ Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, many are watching livestreams at home and looking forward to streaming today’s event highlight—cross country.
Now, I’m not an event rider. I want to 2’6″ hunter until I die, but I have schooled cross country about three times in my life and taken lessons at an event barn (but like, in the ring… it’s scary outside). So clearly I’m highly qualified to give you this year’s course walk.
The course is, um, long. Guys—it’s a lot more than 8 jumps. It’s even a lot more than 12-18 efforts from an International Derby. And I heard there’s galloping! Not hand galloping, real galloping. Like the kind of galloping that goes fast. But that’s beside the point, let’s look at some of these jumps.
Okay, these logs are not small, but they seem doable. I mean, I’m never going to attempt them, but they seem like things horses can jump. I can picture a nice gappy distance and amazing bascule here. Is Tori Colvin on the order of go? This looks like her jam.
When I tell my trainer the oxer is built as big as a house, this is what I picture. Meaning, that’s a hard pass for me bro. But it’s cute. Like little hobbits live in it (the kind that pop out and eat hunter horses).
Now I’m not cross country expert, but I’m pretty sure the flowers go on the ground… right? Make a nice ground line, easy peasy for the horse to jump without any of those crazy gaps below this roof-hobbit-house thing that looks like it was dropped by the wicked witch of the west. Less gaps, more flowers!
Speaking of flowers, what is this perfectly lovely planter doing on course? Personally, I’d add more ferns. You can never have too many ferns for your arena decorations. Oh wait…
Someone was thinking of me, because they put a beautiful little urn in the middle of this jump. It’s appropriate, because this is approximately where I would have a heart attack and die even if I managed to get to the other side of this FREAKIN’ MONSTROSITY OH MY GOD IT IS HUUUUUUGE.
Oh good, someone put a mounting block midcourse. It’s a big one too, with a nice step-up. That’s going to be very handy in-between rounds, because surely these aren’t to happen all at the same time?!?
What part do you jump? Surely not the brushy middle part? I’m secretly hoping these are privacy hedges and not part of an actual jump. There could be a nice little hot tub back there with mimosas waiting.
Can somebody call the jump crew? I think they forgot to make the in and out wide enough. That’s gonna be realllll tight. Or maybe the other side is a hitching post with the hay nets? This looks more like an unfinished car port than it does a jumping obstacle.
No, just no.
In all seriousness, wishing all the riders a safe and successful trip today. This weenie hunter rider respects what you can accomplish! Even if I never, never, oh my god for real never want to jump that big. Good luck!
About the Author: Lauren holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of California Riverside, and is a lifelong rider and writer. Beyond equestrian journalism, she explores body positivity, mental health and addiction through personal narrative. She enjoys showing on the local hunter/jumper circuit in Austin, Texas.
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