Golden Rules for Course Design
|Recommended reading: 'Course Design and Construction' By Mary Gordon-Watson. Threshold Books
|- The bigger the timber used for construction of obstacles the better.
- Do not use upright fences on a downhill approach. Fence should have a minimum of
Three (3) heavy rails that are 'Grandfathered' on the take off side.
- Technical questions should never have a vertical profile or square timber i.e. into water,
into the dark. Horses tend to drag their legs at these obstacles. Use solid logs, with smooth
surfaces, stone walls are very- unforgiving and should not be included in a technical fence.
- 'Tidworth' type obstacle, where the horse has to jump a gap between angled rails, should never have a gap at the place where the horse would reasonably be expected to jump of less than 1.2 meters (4 feet).
- Any gap a horse has to jump through should be brushed to prevent injury.
- Corner fences (apexes). At Grade 1 level should be 45 degrees or less and for the lower grades the angle should be more acute. For greater safety prevent competitors accidentally jumping the dangerous part of the obstacle by placing a natural barrier such as a shrub or small soft tree. This will define the comer and the bounce or one stride options and prevent the competitor attempting an impossible spread or bouncing an impossible distance. Distances up steps or up step to a bounce 2.7 meters (9 feet).
- Step out of water or up a bank- to an obstacle, 2.7 meters or 5.5 meters (9 feet or 18 feet) NEVER 4.6 meters (I 5 feet)
-If the distance through a water complex is less than 6 meters (20 feet) there should not be an obstacle into the water. The second stride a horse, takes in the water is the dangerous one as he has trouble 'saving' himself due to the drag of the water. He then has difficulty preparing himself for the jump out. Accidents such as somersaults occur especially if the bank out has riveting.
-If possible avoid drops on to flat ground due to the jarring on the horses legs. A landing that slopes away lessens the jarring effect while still testing that the horse will drop off something.
-Never use Bullfinches in a bounce situation.
-Never use a drop to a bounce.
The bigger the timber used for construction of obstacles the better
SPECIFICALLY FOR PONY CLUB.
-The education of the horse and rider- are not sufficiently developed to cope with a fence before a Ditch (Coffin) or water being less than 5.5 meters (18 feet) away. This is because at this level the stride of the horse is longer and the trajectory flatter.
- Ideally a bounce fence should be 4.6 meters (I 5 feet), this does vary slightly with terrain. However, it should NEVER be less than 4.1 meters (13 feet 6 inches) -NEVER have a bounce into water.
DESIGN OF THE TRACK.
Most importantly it should flow, allowing the horse to maintain a good rhythm and not cause too much twisting and turning.
- Allow a few inviting fences to warm up and get the horse in a good rhythm.
- Intersperse technical questions with 'let up' fences to allow the horse to build confidence if there has been a hiccup and to keep him thinking forward.
- Put the biggest question in the middle of the course when the horse is going forward well but the horse and rider are still fresh.
- Last section of course should be more sympathetic but, should still contain some fences requiring accuracy to prevent the rider just galloping home and tiring the horse or having an accident.
APPOINTMENT OF A TECHNICAL ADVISER FOR THE PONY CLUB ASSOCIATION OF VICTORIA STATE HORSE TRAILS CHAMPIONSHIPS.
To ensure a safe and appropriate test for the Cross Country phase of the State One-Day Event Championships under the rules laid down in the Pony Club Association of Victoria Horse Trials rule book.
- Inspect the cross-country venue as early as practical.
- Approve the course design including the terrain, track and fences.
- Supervise the continuing construction of the course at intervals prior to the Event.
- Maintain communication with the Zone hosting the Event.
- Provide a written report to the Pony Club Association of Victoria Council after each Visit indicating the progress made.
Ideally these visits should be made prior to (Council Meetings to enable any action to be taken promptly.
- The Council of the Pony Club Association of Victoria will select a panel of Advisers. The panel will meet as and when required to establish policy and guidelines under the Chairmanship of the State Chief Instructor.
- One Technical Adviser will be selected from the panel by the Council of the Pony Club Association of Victoria for each State Championship.
- Travel expenses (car mileage and accommodation) to be met by the Council of the Pony Club Association of Victoria.
- The responsibility of the Technical Adviser ends with the official walking of the course on the day prior to the commencement of the Competition.
- Once the panel has been established individual Zones may invite a Technical Adviser to assist in the same capacity at a Zone level. It is hoped members of the Panel would be available to assist as required.
It is recognised world wide that just building to the dimensions laid down in the rulebook is a recipe for disaster.
When designing a course the safety, of horse and rider is of prime importance.
The emphasis should be on the skills of the rider rather than potential injury to the horse physically or mentally.
Each course should be a continuing test of the level of training of the horse as well as a continuing education.
GOOD COURSES = GOOD HORSES
THREE DIVISIONS OF LABOUR INVOLVED IN DEVELOPING A COURSE.
1. COURSE DESIGNER
An EDUCATOR and ENCOURAGER of horses, extremely important in the development of the sport.
Choose the track and design the fences.
- Must have a knowledge of how to site fences, use the terrain and build suitable
Obstacles for the level of competition.
- Preferably to have had experience riding cross-country.
2. COURSE BUILDER.
- Physically builds the fences. May be the course designer if the prerequisites are filled otherwise builds to the specifications of the Designer, usually in close collaboration.
- Must have knowledge of correct use of materials and safe construction skills.
3. COURSE ACCREDITOR.
- To make sure the Competition is run in accordance with the rules and guidelines laid down.
- Should have the ability to see if the fences are a suitable test for the level of competition and the entries. Ideally a person who has ridden or a course designer.
- Must have a good knowledge of the rules.
HORSE TRIALS ORGANISATIONAL CHECK LIST
Time sheet for Marshall & gear Check
Arenas - flat
- Adequate space between.
- Letters 0.5m from surrounding fence
Warm up area
Runners to take score sheets to judge
Copies of tests for judging
Copy of draw for Judge
Stop watches for timing resistance
Catering for Judges/ Pencillers/ Officials
Emergency Services - Doctors, Vets, Ambulance
Crash Crew & suitable vehicles
Pencillers for timekeepers
Runners to collect Jump Judge & Timekeeper sheets
Person in Absolute control (i.e. Chief Judge)
Vet at end of Cross-Country
Vet Services on Course
Horse Ambulance - Injured horse- Removal of carcass
Screens and tarpaulins for injured horse destruction
1. Jump Judges
3. Crowd Control
4. Emergency Services
Stopping procedure - fence broken, horse/ rider blocking course etc.
Emergency Services - Medical Ambulance, St John
Equipment - clipboards, flags, whistles etc.
Stopwatches, judging sheets. Chronometers
a) Destruction of severely injured horse(s)
b) Competitor fatality
Official plan of course
Bunting & roping of course
Catering for Officials
Timetable - interval between horses
Warm up/-marshalling area
Flagging of practice fence
Flagging, numbering & colour indicators on obstacles
Accreditor to Approve course before open to competitors
Arena Party (pick up rails etc.)
Runners to take scores to scorers
Show jumping obstacles
Flags and numbers
Adequate warm up area and practice obstacles, correctly flagged
Showjumping arena enclosed
Plan of course
Start/ Finish correctly marked and correct distance from obstacles
Course measured and Optimum Time calculated
Equipment - stopwatches, scoresheets, rules, bells
Approval of course by Accreditor prior to walking by competitors
Emergency Services - Doctor, Vet, Ambulance
Entries - taking and processing entries, placing horses in sections. Information to competitors (draw etc.) withdrawals, final timetable.
Organisers to possess the current rules PCAV and E.F.A.
Back numbers for competitors
Prizes & ribbons
Posting of Official course plan
Checking Grading cards
Adequate personnel to assist
Score chaser (to sort out queries)
General layout of all Facilities
Parking (ability to extricate vehicles in the wet)
Gatekeepers & parking attendants
Facilities - power, urns etc.
Looking after Jump Judges until protest time has elapsed