Cross country at Strzegom Europeans

 

Rüdiger Schwarz, being an eventer himself as well as course designer and highly respected instructor, knows basically all there is to know about the equestrian sport.

Back in the days, when he was competing himself, Rüdiger successfully competed in both show jumping and eventing, winning bronze at the European Championship in Luhmuehlen 1979, team silver medal in Fontainebleau 1980 as well as team silver medal and 4th place individually during World Championship in Luhmeuehlen 1982.

Rüdiger started his second career as a Junior member of the German Riding Association in Warendorf in1979 and, after obtaining his trainer’s certificate from the Academy in Cologne, he first became a trainer for the National Pony team in eventing in 1987 and later for the National Junior and Young Rider Teams including a promising group in eventing. Riders trained by Rüdiger have won an impressive 86 medals including 36 gold medal but he has also gained international recognition as course designer and as a technical delegate in the eventing community.

He created the cross country course for the German Olympic Sports Association in Warendorf and has over the years designed courses throughout Europe, with German, Swedish and Polish courses bearing his signature a s course designer.

Some of the highlights in Rüdiger's career as course designer have been the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in 2006 and the European Championship in Malmo in 2013 and he was also responsible for the cross country in Strzegom in 2009 during the World Cup Final.

 

Rudiger talks us through the venue in Strzegom and the challenges riders will meet on his cross country course next week during the FEI European Eventing Championships for Seniors

"In 2009, I visited Strzegom for the first-time as course designer for the FEI World Cup Final. Since then I have grown fond of this venue and discovered more about the overall potential. It has been rewarding to return annually to meet Marcin and see the facilities develop to the standards we have today. It has been a challenging journey over the last eight years to develop Strzegom to a European Championship venue. New features as water complexes, dressage arenas, bigger and better warm up areas, the subsoil on the cross country; all has been developed and improved over time.

My vision, whilst designing the FEI European Championships cross country, has been to build a challenging track that still allows as many combinations as possible to safely get past the finish line. With a record of 19 nations participating, the cross country is designed to be a proper test yet with different choices. The cross country offers several options for the riders and allows the top riders to push for the most time-saving and difficult lines. The second easier option might avoid a refusal but will add time on the clock. Thus, a challenging and technically difficult cross country for all riders and horses.

To start the course the first three jumps are big yet inviting to get both horse and rider into a good gallop and rhythm.

After crossing the road, the first serious question is presented. The Longines Complex 4 ABC is located just in front of the spectators, allowing for great view to follow the riders and horses on the cross country. It will take both precision and skill to jump clear and here the rider can choose an alternative line, yet adding time on the clock.

Number 5 – Torpol - is a straight forward jump getting the horse and rider focused on the 6th jump – ActivoMed - a big boat, awaiting in the first water complex. After the first water jump number 7 – the Hans Melzer Equipment Hedge - will test strength, courage and jumping skills. Next up, 2 skinnies –Fischer 8AB that requires both line and rhythm.

Up next, two big jumps being proper tests followed by a long canter. Then it’s time for the ANR combination with a skinny, open corner at the end, demanding balance and focus.

The next jump leads towards the Grand water complex. First up, a combination of three houses that shows the way into the water. The houses will be interesting to jump as you cannot jump them straight. Getting into the water there is a boat to be jumped and then it´s out of the water in the direction of the Main Arena A. Inside the Arena A there will be MIM oxers presented before it´s back to the Grand water complex for a second visit, where three big corners are waiting.

After this intense part of the crosscountry there will be time to canter and a short rest before heading into the newly designed forest part of the track. Coming out of the forest there will be a big jump followed by a narrow, skinny jump - both sponsored by Devocoux.

Another short canter and then it´s time to start climbing up the hill, taking on some big jumps - 19,20,21 and 22. On top of the hill, the next intense part starts.

The first jump in this section is the Hoeveler hedge leading up to the last water complex, sponsored by PODA. The XC continues with the big HERZT oxer before it´s time to cross the road again and facing two combinations – the Lower Silesia gates and secondly the 2 Ursus tractors. After these challenging jump efforts, the riders will be heading for home. One big table to go and last but not least the Strzegom Granite wall and then it´s the FINISH line…"

 

 

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