William Fox-Pitt walking the course: Checking the line at the drop in the Head of The Lake

William Fox-Pitt walking the course at Rolex. Checking the line at the drop in the Head of The Lake

When you go to something as cool as Rolex, you cherish memories of the competition for a long time. You think it over in your head as you drive to work…how Sally Cousins and Tsunami aired out the oxer, how Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott nipped through the Frog Hollow, how James Alliston and Parker loped around the first half of the course yet finished fast. You listened at the course walk; you watched the stadium warmup. The memories will last a whole year as you await next year’s Rolex!

Stuff that sticks with you really makes an impression; such was the Jeep course walk with William Fox-Pitt on Friday afternoon. We tagged along and got a master’s class on riding four star cross-country questions. It was educational and awesome! I’ve got a short video here in his own words of how the coffin complex (Fence Number 7, named the “Park Question”) should ride and a bit about the question and striding. Here’s his take on how the Coffin was to ride: (Listen carefully, it’s a bit windy.)

As everyone knows by now, of course he rode it the way he said it would ride; on both horses (Seacookie and Bay My Hero) he was foot perfect through this question.

While I didn’t get his ride through the coffin, I did get Sharon White’s exemplary trip on Rafferty’s Rules through the coffin complex:

The coffin this year was an A-B-C-D question with four jumping efforts. Here’s the official description from the course walk online at www.rk3de.org:

7. Park Question
#7a – Rail 3’7” high, 3′ 10” high alt
#7b – Ditch 4’6” base spread
#7c – Sod cabin 3′ 11” high, 3′ 9” high alt
#7d – Sod cabin 3′ 11” high, 3′ 11”high alt

“The Park Question (#7abcd) has been jumped before in different configurations, however this year they will need to be brave and jump well over the rails going in before jumping over the ditch and then coming out over two cabins, which will require scope as well as positive riding while holding the line. There is a longer route here but it will take a significant amount of time.” Pictures are here.

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