Australia gets first glimpse of cross country course

Published 6 August 2016 (AEDT)

Australia's eventing team on the Rio course.

EQUESTRIAN: Australia’s eventing team has had its first opportunity to survey the Olympic cross country course and while they admit it is tough, riders say the horsepower they have brought with them to Rio is up for the test.

The cross country phase is the best known and most anticipated phase of the eventing competition.  

Following the dressage phase, which takes place over two days, athletes and horses will take to the hills of the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Deodoro before the show jumping phase determines individual and team medallists.

The Rio cross country course is approximately 5,700 metres in length. The time allowed is 10 minutes and the maximum number of jumping efforts will be between 42 and 45. Many of the fences have been inspired by the host continent.

After their first of several course walks, the Aussies said it would be a serious challenge.

“You need to be pretty experienced to get around it. It’s a proper championship course,” Sam Griffiths said. 

Shane Rose will ride the horse CP Qualified and is confident that he and his teammates can get the job done. 

“It’s going to be a course that if you ride well and give the horses a good experience then they’ll cope,” Rose said.

“If you’re going out there trying to go quick and then make mistakes it’s going to be unforgiving.

“We’ve got good riders and good horses, the ground is perfect and the going couldn’t get any better.” 

Australia’s team horses have been presented to the ground jury for the horse inspection, where all were accepted for competition.

The horse inspection ensures horses are fit to compete and sees riders ‘trot-up’ their horses in front of officials.

The eventing competition begins on the opening day, Saturday, 6 August.

Michelle Cook

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