Horse & Hound
DELIBERATION IN EVERY TRACK
COURSE-DESIGNER Mark McGowan faced a new challenge this week – how to build championship courses in a year of uncertainty, bigger classes and new qualifying routes without diluting the quality.
“That’s why so much thought process and deliberation has gone into every single course, not just the grand prix,” he said.
“You have to take into account that you want to look after these horses. Yes some will have poles down, but you want to send them away better for the experience.”
He added he altered his design for the grand prix course on the morning of the class to ask a few more questions, following how well horses had jumped in the qualifying rounds.
“I think some of them rode the time rather than the fences and that’s what caught the majority out,” he said.
“Even though the jump-off used the whole arena, they had to realise when they were turning back that the oxers were still 1.45m/1.50m wide. Riders couldn’t turn up to those thinking they were 1.20m wide. I think a few treated them as if they were and that’s when they had the back bar.”