The Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* and Advanced divisions completed their dressage tests earlier this morning at the Woodside International Horse Trials in Woodside, California, and will show jump over Michael Roy Curtis’ course this evening at 5:00 p.m. The finale will take place on cross-country tomorrow morning.
Ian Stark has been designing the cross-country course at Woodside for the last three years. Riders in the CIC3* and Advanced division will tackle nearly exactly the same track, with just the corner combination at fence 12 presenting different questions for the two divisions. The 3,400-meter track comprises 20 obstacles and a total of 34 jumping efforts to be completed in five minutes and 58 seconds.
Stark elected to make only minor tweaks to the course this year rather than completely restructuring the track. “We’ve moved a lot of the combinations around,” he explained. “We just altered where combinations are and swapped around single fences just to sort of give a different skill around the course. We’ve given the new water, right at the end of the course, a bit of a different look this year. It will be more toward rider control than overly bold jumping. There’s lots of new things for them to think about and combinations for them to sink their teeth into.”
The new combination at Triton's Pond for the CIC3* and Advanced divisions. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.
“We’re following a similar flow because I feel it works well, so I want to keep that at the moment,” elaborated Stark. “The first three fences are the same. [At fence four] we’ve taken out the step, so they haven’t got a big drop area on course, which I think is better. It’s still a technical question on course, but they’re not doing a big drop onto the road. We’ve take the step out and given them ramps, so It will be more up to the riders to get the distance right.”
The combination at fence four has been altered this year to remove the downbank as the "B" element. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.
Stark designed the course with a fall CCI in mind for the riders competing in the CIC3* this weekend. “What I hope is that people that are heading for a CCI in the fall, this gives them a good enough question in a competition, but also encourages good jumping toward their fall three-day event.”
Competitors will set out on Stark’s cross-country course at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow.
About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series
The 2018 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced horse trials and CIC3* levels. The qualifying period begins August 2017 and continues through August 2018 with the final taking place at the 2018 USEA American Eventing Championships at the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado, August 29 – September 2, 2018. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money and thousands of dollars in prizes and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Final Advanced Division.
The 2018 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nutrena, Merck Animal Health, and FITS.
Shelby Allen for Woodside Horse Trials contributed to this article.