I have just returned from four days of fishing on the French River and I am ready to walk the $86,000 Kubota Grand Prix at the Angelstone equestrian venue. This tournament will be a CSI3* event.

One of the fun parts in these walks is that we have new course designers from around the world and this week we are seeing the work of Hossain Shafiee, who comes to us from the country of Iran. Not so many years ago, I would not have expected to see someone from Iran in the role of course designer. It should make a statement about the small world of show jumping.

Hossain is a young man already working at a high level of course design and I believe has a bright future in the world of course design. Hossain has a well established reputation in Asia and has been working in Florida (Wellington) for the last couple of years. I do not know the size of the rings in Asia, but as we have stated in the past, the ring at Angelstone is small and square-like and will present a unique challenge tonight.

Most CD’s have approached the designs in this ring with a little of the larger ring combined with some technics of the indoor ring to present a challenge to the competitors. My impression of this course is that Hossain has created his course using the tools of course design of the indoor format. There are only four jumps on the outside wall, two verticals on the long side and two oxers on the other long side. One of the verticals is a dummy jump (in the ring, but not on the course). There are no related lines on any of the sides. The course is set on the inside of the ring and all but the first and last jumps are on diagonal lines. This is the design that one would use if building in and indoor ring. The 3* rating of this grand prix places the height of 1.50m for this event.

There will be 21 entries and all will compete. On the course tonight we will see a double and a triple combination. We will also see a Liverpool vertical and a wall with poles on top. There will be no triple bar, no short pole vertical, no plank jump and no water jump (this ring does not require a water due to the size of the ring). The speed for this class is set at 375m/m and the TA is set at 77 seconds. The time allowed was very fair and remained at 77 secs. The weather all week long has been difficult and it is overcast at start time. The weather stayed good and the temperature was perfect for show jumping. It is now time to begin the course walk of the Kubota $86,000 CSI3* grand prix.

#1 vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft begins on the right rein and was never faulted tonight.

#2 oxer 1.45/1.45m or 4.9/4.9ft comes from #1 on the right rein with no given distance and was once again never faulted tonight.

#3 vertical 1.50m or 5ft comes from #2 in a straight line with a distance of 22.20m or 72ft and with the easy five strides was never punished on the night.

#4a oxer 1.50/1.50m or 5/5ft comes on a sharp right turn out of the corner and was difficult to find on a good stride. This jump ended the evening for four competitors.

#4b vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes from #4a with a distance of 11m or 36ft which is a very comfortable two strides and as such presented no serious problems and was never faulted on the evening.

#5 oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes on the full turn left and fell from the sky on three occasions.

#6 vertical 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #5 on a soft bend left with no given distance and was a soft ride for the competitors and once again did not meet mother earth.

#7 oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes on the continuing left rein and turning out of the corner presented no difficulty and never found its way to the floor.

#8 a wall with a pole on top 1.60m or 5.3ft comes from #7 in a straight line from #7 with a distance of 19.20m or 62.6ft and like the Berlin wall was torn down three times.

#9 oxer 1.53/1m or 5.1/3.3ft comes from #8 on the bending rein right with no given distance and kissed the sand three times.

#10 oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes from #9 on the right rein with a bit of a long gallop and was the final fence not to be faulted on the evening.

#11a vertical 1.50m comes on a full turn left and was pushed from the top cups two times.

#11b oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft comes from #11a with a distance of 7.70m or 25.3ft and was the bogey fence tonight with seven poles departing the cups.

#11c vertical 1.55m or 5.1ft comes from #11b with a distance of 7.80m or 25.6ft and here we saw one rail touch down bur there were two refusals that resulted in elimination.

#12 oxer 1.50/1.60m or 5/5.3ft is the final fence on the course tonight and comes from #11c on the left turn directly away from the in-gate and dashed the hopes for the jump off for two riders.

The final tally for the first round is as follows. There were five clean rounds. There was one ride of one time fault. There were six rounds of four faults and two with five faults. There were two with eight and one with nine faults. The remaining rounds will return and fight another day. There was one elimination (refusals) and no vw’s.

The comments by many of the riders during the course walk were that this was a big. If you compare the specs of this course with those of the previous courses in our walks this summer in Ontario these comments are true. Based on the heights and widths this was a big track but this was a 3* and there was nothing that went beyond the limit. When a course designer decides the tests he or she will use on the course he or she will temper the hard stuff with some easier stuff. Hossain used the height and width of a 3* and tempered the technical aspect to attain really good results in this class. This was not a technical course. The combinations were standalone tests and there were only two specific lines of given distances. The TA was absolutely correct and the eventual winner was the most experienced horse/rider combination in the class tonight.

I really enjoyed walking this course and thought that Hossain did a great job. His approach to this ring was different than anyone else to date and that is the job of all course designers. I hope that we will see Hossain back next year and that he enjoys continued success in the future. We will be back again next week at Angelstone.

Until then I am Dave Ballard.