Five fences to watch

Country Life Every Week - - Interior Design The Inside Track -

Fierce ar­gu­ment has raged over the de­ci­sion to lower the dif­fi­culty of Olympic and world­cham­pi­onship cross-coun­try cour­ses to three-star level, but Bad­minton re­mains the real, four-star deal and the first prize of £100,000, a world first for a sin­gle event, re­flects that sta­tus.

The job of de­sign­ing the course still holds a revered po­si­tion in the in­dus­try and new in­cum­bent Eric Win­ter has cer­tainly put his stamp on it, with a mix of old-fash­ioned ‘throw-your-heart-over’ tim­ber and mod­ern ac­cu­racy tests. ‘Event­ing is all about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween horse and rider,’ he says, point­ing out that nine out of the top 10 riders at Burgh­ley last year had pro­duced their horses from novice level. ‘I want to re­ward those part­ner­ships and the trust they have in each other.’ An in­trigu­ing new com­plex that will be a test of horse­man­ship as riders have to ‘hunt’ their way over a bank, through a fun­nel and left or right over up­right rails. Its de­sign, two sad­dles carved into a log, was cho­sen in a pub­lic vote—4,000 of the 13,000 votes re­ceived went to Tots Han­son’s fence. It’s at the fin­ish, where weary walk­ers can rest in an arena seat, watch the big screen and ab­sorb the at­mos­phere.

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