Although the PTV course looked straightforward, once the riders walked it, the challenges became more evident. Low branches made for a fast start, but those who chose to canter had very little distance to change from a long and low stride through the obstacle to getting the hocks back under them to change legs through the slalom. Not so easy! A chance for a nice canter along the gallops, then a trot through the woods where the ground was quite hard. The rein back was
down a slope, then another enjoyable stretch of woodland before the hedge. The path crossing and log were part of a sequence of rustic fences and riders were permitted to jump the lot if they chose. Out of the woods and back on the gallops, the corridor was placed immediately after a barrel jump. Riders intending to canter had a choice of a quick swerve into the obstacle, or jump the barrels and land ideally placed to canter through the corridor – most chose the latter. Another chance for a canter along the gallops, and some problems pulling up for the three in-hand obstacles! The water crossing was separately flagged for Open and Novice riders and very easy to go wrong if riders hadn’t carefully walked the course. A very steep incline followed, immobility on top of the hill and then a difficult descent – a very narrow path sloping away to one side and skewed at the bottom made it hard to stay between the lines. A small ditch and footbridge ended the course on a relaxed note.
The consensus amongst the riders was that this was a fast and fun course of obstacles with plenty to think about. There was a strong entry for the Open class with fewer in the Novice class. One of the enjoyable aspects of this league is the opportunity to swap experiences over a tea or coffee while the scores are being calculated. The prizes were particularly good, thanks to sponsorship from TRI.