Q & A with Course Designer Sandy Lucas
The Randwick Equine Centre Sydney Eventing Summer Classic is our first competition of 2017. If you’re competing then get excited because the cross country tracks are going to be awesome!
The EvA 105, 1*, 2* and 3* courses are available free for viewing on all smartphones, tablets and PCs.
For the EvA 95, EvA 80 and EvA 60 there are virtual guided course walks with Sandy Lucas which have valuable audio tips for riders. These can be purchased by CrossCountry iPhone/iPad app users at www.crosscountryapp.com/courses
Interested in some tips from the expert? Of course you are!
We managed to pin down Sydney Eventing Vice President and designer of the 95, 80 and 60cm courses, Sandy Lucas for a chat about her design game plan and suggestions on how you can best ride your course.
Q: What were your key objectives in designing these three courses?
S: “Knowing it’s the first event of the season I’ve aimed to build flowing courses that are not as taxing as they could be, but is a great way to kick off the year”
Q: What elements of cross country schooling will riders be tested on?
S: “There’s a bit of everything, the course goes in a new direction for Intro and Prelim, straight into undulating ground towards the end of the dressage arenas. There’s steps going uphill with a bounce for the 95 and a curving line to a skinny.
We’ve re-introduced the splash for the Intro and Prelim, in fact both classes do all three water complexes and for the 80cm riders there’s a downhill brush before the splash.
Newcomer riders follow an old track, going away from the dressage arenas in the opposite direction to the Intro and Prelim classes. It means that the 60cm jumps are mostly out on their own which will require riders to have good steering because the jumps aren’t framed by those of the other classes. Newcomers do the Olympic Water and the Pond”.
Q: What skills do you most want riders to work on while riding this course?
S: “I’m a stickler for the basics, you need to have control and balance, also a feel for the ground and how your horse is travelling. There’s a good variety of jumps and especially with the 60cm, I’ve tried hard to make sure riders are jumping more than just logs. The fact that the Newcomer jumps are placed on their own will be a challenge and I’m interested to see how that goes.”
Q: Do you enjoy designing the courses?
S: “I’m really enjoying the process actually, it’s almost as thrilling as riding. I get a buzz out of working out whether I’ve made it tough enough, whether I’ve made it too tough and just getting the balance right.
It’s a challenge and I change my mind about the courses constantly, in the end it’s great to see whether what I aim to achieve in terms of how it rides, is actually what happens.
Q: What is different or unique about riding at SIEC?
Mostly the fact that you’re always going up or down, it’s almost never flat and for riders who train on flat ground that’s a challenge. Of course riding on hallowed turf is also a thrill, the fact that the world’s best have ridden on this ground, it’s just such a great facility and horses always seem to travel well here.
Q: How should riders feel at the end?
S: “Well hopefully they’re still on their horses and don’t want to lynch me! I hope they’re smiling, have felt challenged but have enjoyed the ride”
Q: Any final tips or things to look out for?
S: “For the 80 and 95cm look out for skinnies, a corner, steps uphill with a bounce for the 95. I’ve also put the Trakehner in the 80cm but there’s a black flag option because it does cause so many issues. For the 60cm riders you need to be able to jump downhill, it’s not a big fence but it’s certainly a question and it’s early in the course”.