We walked the course with course designer Frederic Cottier and the following is our analysis:
There’s no contrast in the colours of the fences because when there’s white among other colours it creates more contrast which is more identifiable to the horse and accordingly easier to jump and consequently it’s trickier for the horse.
Fence number 4, the double starting with an oxer, is not too big because the second element is quite tricky and its colour will set off the horses a little backwards, the black and red lion can slow down the jump.
Fence number 5 comes out of a turn that is quite tricky with several options to keep the time in perspective which the riders have to consider.
Cottier stated, “The water jump is 4 metres only, I would make it wider if it were a grass arena but I don’t want to take the risk to play too much here, and if you saw the water jump in the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez and London 2012 Olympics, in my opinion it was too wide. We changed the rules of the FEI three years ago where the course designer can build a World Cup and an Olympic Games course only once in his life and I think that it’s a good rule because this way there’s more motivation for all the others. After the water jump there’s 29 metres to an oxer which are 7 strides; you’ll realise that I keep a nice even distance from the water jump to the next fence because I love horses too much. Coming to the triple combination riders have enough time to sort out their balance, come nice and even to the vertical - yet with enough impulsion to cover elements B and C that are two oxers and the distance in between is 7.70 and 8.80.”
Fence number 9 with a peacock (1.60 m.) comes on a curve to give more options to the rider and that makes it slightly more difficult. Number 10 is quite a wide oxer and comes quickly after the turn, this fence in the last round created a bit of problem not because of the false ground line with the grass underneath, but because the team competition put more pressure on the riders. The last two fences come with a serpentine shape where the riders have to keep their rhythm.