We are finished with the holidays of 2018 and are ready to begin the 2019 season of show jumping in Wellington Florida. The first Grand Prix of the season will be held in the International ring on Sunday afternoon January 13. The class will be the $75,000 Rosenbaum Grand Prix. This class will be the only grand prix of the season to be held under National rules.
The coming weeks will see the grand prix classes held under the rules of the FEI. This class provides an opportunity for some younger horses and riders to have a chance to move up the quality of competition and compete for very decent prize money and yet not be over-faced. There will be 37 entered and all will compete. The weather is perfect with moderate temperatures and a slight breeze. The course designer for this opening week has been Eric Hasbrouck (USA) and he has been in the international ring as CD many times. As I have stated many times I think that the first 2 weeks of the WEF circuit can be the most difficult courses to design because the National rules can be a little less demanding than the quality of horse and rider in the starting field. Week 2 is the beginning of the FEI season and starts with CSI2* level. With the rules for courses at the 2* level once again the calibre of horse and rider can far exceed the limit of the rules for this rating.
In the past few years the course designers for the first 2 weeks have provided great courses and therefore there has been great competition. As this week has progressed Eric has been consistent in the high quality of courses that he has provided and the class today should provide the riders with a highly competitive competition. The course today will show great use of the type of jumps that should be used in most high level grand prixs. There will be a wall, a triple bar, Liverpool with some water in it, a double and triple combination, a skinny (short poles) and a plank jump. Today the skinny was made of short planks and also served as an option jump. There was no water jump and this grand prix did not need a water jump. I hope we will see water used this year before week 7 and used in the international ring and not just out on the derby field. The speed for this class is stated as 375m/m but I think we can say that the speed was closer to 400m/m. The TA was set at 79 seconds and was not changed. The TA was perfect. I think that we are now ready to walk the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix and begin week one of course/discourse.
#1 vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft . We start off the left lead. This fence was never faulted on the day.
#2 oxer 1.45/1.55 or 4.10/5.1ft comes from #1 on a very soft right bend with no given distance and was only pushed from the top yellow 18mm cups on 1 occasion.
#3 vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft comes on a left turn towards the in-gate and again no given distance. (a long gallop) This obstacle was bludgeoned 3 times.
#4 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes from #3 in a straight line with a distance of 19.5m or 64ft and was the second of 3 fences not faulted on the day.
#5 triple bar 1.45/1.80m or 4.10/5.9ft comes from #4 on the left turn and another long gallop and was the third fence that did not receive any damage today.
#6 option verticals with short white planks and the left side was 1 hole lower than the right side. The left side accounted for about 60% of the efforts tried. The distance from #5 to #6 was 28m or 92ft and it was a straight line and was pushed from the flat gate cups 2 times.
#7a oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft and comes from #6 on a full right hand turn and was crushed 3 times.
#7b vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft comes from #7a with a distance of 11m or 36ft and fell to the floor 3 times.
#7c vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft comes from #7b with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and was the bogy fence as it was dismantled 11 times.
#8 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes from #7c on the right bend and had no given distance. This oxer fell from grace 8 times and created 1 refusal.
#9 the wall 1.45m or 4.10ft comes from #8 on a full turn on the right rein. The blocks were not removed from the top of the wall but there were 2 refusals here. Based on the courses from last year the wall is not used on a regular basis. (strange)
#10 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes from #9 on the soft left bend and had no given distance. This oxer tumbled to the turf 4 times.
#11a vertical 1.45m or 4.10ft comes on a long gallop on the left rein and met mother earth 3 times.
#11b oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.10/5.3ft comes from #11a with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and was dashed to the ground 4 times.
#12 closed Liverpool vertical (with some water in it) comes in a straight line from #11b with a distance of 23.5m or 77ft and there were 5 slash downs at this pond.
#13 oxer 1.45/1.65m or 4.10/5.5ft comes on a soft bend on the right rein with a distance of 26m or 85.3ft from #12 and not only ended the course but ended the day for 8 riders.
The final tally of the first round of the first grand prix of the season will show that there were 6 clean rounds that will advance to the jump off. There were 2 rounds of 1 time fault, 11 rounds of 4 faults, 1 round of 5 faults and 6 rounds of 8 faults. The remainder will fight another day. More than half the entries were within 5 faults of the jump off. There were no falls, eliminations and there was only 1 VW. If this course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA) is any indication of the quality of courses that we will witness this season then we are in for a great year. I wrote in the final class last season that the work of the CD’s in 2018 was exceptional and I think we can expect the same or better this season. The class today was a really good one. It is easy for a course designer to be hard but it is hard to be easy. Having watched several classes in all the rings this week I believe the quality of course design was very good. Course designers working their way up to the grand prix ring should take note of the mix of jumps in the course today. Note that there was a wall, Liverpool, triple bar, plank jump, skinny, option jump and a double and triple combination. I personally like the use of a triple combination in a major class but in some cases 3 doubles can create variety. I believe that the use of 2 doubles and a triple is serious overkill and should not be used. This was a great start to the season and congratulations to Eric for a job very well done. Next week we will begin the FEI rules of competition and our course designer will be Oscar Soberon (MEX) and we will be under the Saturday night lights and feature the CSI 2* $72,000 Netjets grand prix. Welcome back everyone and until next week I am Dave Ballard.