I am very pleased to bring Course Discourse to Canada for the first time. This course commentary has been on PhelpsSports.com for nine years and has been very well received. In this course commentary we visit the many facets of course design and the results that occur within that specific course. The description can give the riders, owners, students and less experienced course designers an opportunity to see the actual heights, widths, and distances the competitors must navigate to end with a positive result.

We will provide pictures of each jump and the faults that came with that actual jump. The time allowed (TA) will be presented and noted if any change has been made. The material used in the construction of the jump will also provide a source of discussion. We will introduce the course designer and a small resume that gives some background of the experience of that course designer (CD).

In the past this commentary has been 99% about FEI rated grand prix’s (GPs) as it has been written during the winter season in Wellington, Florida. But for the summer in Canada there will be coverage of some nationally rated GPs and they should hold some new insight into the tasks of the CD. It is my hope that this commentary will be of interest to some and educational to others. Any comments pro or con are always welcome and we will try to publish any questions or comments so they may be addressed in future course walks.

$50,000 1.45m Jumper Classic course.

$50,000 1.45m Jumper Classic course.

The course walk for this week is the FEI 2* $50,000 1.45m Jumper Classic from the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, Ontario. Our CD is Leopoldo Palacios J. (VEN) and I believe that he really needs no introduction. He is my good friend and one of the best course designers in the world today.

The ring is rectangular in shape with dimensions of 267ft by 336ft or 81m by 102m. This size just accommodates the 375mpm, and a CD must make allowances for this fact. This ring is not small, but not huge either.

On the course, there were 14 numbered jumps and 17 efforts. The TA was set at 87 secs. There were 28 starters. As stated, this was a 2* rated class and limited to 1.45m in height. The weather was not good, as the temperature was cold and the rain was falling. The footing is artificial and in very good condition and handles the rain with no problem.

There was open water (God bless Canada). The manager of these events is EMG, with Craig Collins at the helm, and it is their policy to provide water schooling in the grand prix ring earlier in the week and also in the jumper annex with supervision and was well attended in both rings. There will be another day of water schooling in August. Well done and thank you very much.

That is enough of the preamble, so let us begin our walk of the FEI 2* 1.45m Jumper Classic presented by Horseware Ireland.

#1 oxer 4.6/4ft or 1.38/1.30m the opening jump was square in construction and here we saw 1 refusal and 1 rail touch down and the was over for 2 competitors.

#2 vertical 4.9ftor 1.45m comes on the right rein with no given distance. At #2 we had 1 rail fall from grace.

#3 oxer 4.9/5ft or 1.45/5m comes on the continuing right rein with a full turn to the center of the ring and also resulted in 1 pole finding the sand.

#4 vertical with closed Liverpool 4.9ft or 1.45m comes from #3 on the left rein and here we saw 3 splash downs. The bending left turn was on a measured distance of 95ft or 29m from #3.

#5 oxer 4.9/5.3ft or 1.45/1.60m comes from #4 in a straight line with a measured distance of 62.6ft or 19.10m and was never faulted on the day.

#6 oxer 4.9/5ft or 1.45/1.50m comes on a right roll back turn and was pushed to the floor 2 times.

#7a vertical 4.9ft or 1.45m comes in a straight line from #6 with a measured distance of 71ft or 21.7m and only met mother earth 1 time.

#7b oxer 4.8/5.1ft or 1.43/1.55m on a distance from #7a of 25.9ft or 7.90m and saw failure on 2 occasions.

#8 vertical 4.9ft or 1.45m comes from #7b on the left rein and no given distance and was faulted on only 1 attempt.

#9 open water (oh the horror) 12ft or 3.70m comes from #8 on a full turn on the left rein and here we saw a total of 1 refusal (bad approach).

#10 vertical with planks 4.9ft or 1.45m comes from #9 in a straight line with a distance of 82ft or 25m and found the lumber pile 3 times

#11 oxer 4.9/5.3ft or 1.45/1.60m comes from #10 with no given distance and on the right rein. We saw 2 poles fall from grace here.

#12 vertical 4.9ft or 1.45m comes from #11 in a straight line with a distance of 46.9ft or 14.3m. This short pole vertical was the scene of 1 refusal and 1 pole finding the sand.

#13a triple bar 4.9/5.9ft or 1.45/1.80m comes from #12 on a full left turn away from the in-gate and was our feature fence of the day by ending the day for 4 competitors.

#13b vertical 4.9ft or 1.45m on a distance from #13a of 36.7ft or 11.20m and was equal to 13a in difficulty with 4 rails finding mother earth.

#13c vertical 4.9ft or 1.45m on a distance of 36.6ft or 7.70m from #13b and was never faulted on the day.

#14 oxer 4.9/5.7ft or 1.45/1.75m comes from #13c on the left rein and was never lowered but had 2 refusals (1 drive by). This was the final fence on the course today.

The materials used consisted of 50 poles, 10 planks, 1 wall, 1 liverpool (no water) and 1 open water jump. We also saw 3 sets of jump filler.

The final tally on the course was 8 clean rounds, 1 with 1 time fault, 7 with 4 faults, 1 with 5 and 1 with 6 and 2 with 8 faults. With more than 50% of the class within 4 faults of the jump off, I believe this was a great result for the first Grand Prix (FEI) of the eastern Canadian summer season.

The course was more filled in than we are used to seeing and this was a pleasant change. There were 8 clean rounds and the faults were spread out over the whole course and for me this was very entertaining.

In the coming weeks, my focus will be on the use of a variety of materials so the course becomes more interesting to the horses and the spectators. The most important feature for me – will we see the use of the 18mm yellow cups on the top rail? The yellow cups were used at WEF in Wellington, Florida. This season, and, for the first time, the competitors and the jury knew that the cups were at the legal limit. I know that there are no yellow cups here yet, but for the good of the sport we need these cups at all our major events. If shallow cups are needed in certain classes (no objection from me) they have to be properly manufactured and coluor coded so everyone knows what to expect from touching a pole.

That ends the first Course Discourse Canada walk, and I am looking forward to taking the readers on many more in the coming weeks. If there are questions or comments, likes or dislikes, please send them on to this website and we will try to answer your views in the coming weeks.

Until the next walk I am Dave Ballard.