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The Course Design

FEI World Cup Finals 2017 Course Design
By: Omaha Equestrian Foundation Team

You can’t have a stellar jumping competition without a course for the horse and rider to follow. So, where do you start?

The course designer is an integral part of the team. The course for the LONGINES FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final 2023 will be designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral of Portugal. Cabral has a long history of successful design and has been involved in a large number of international events, including two Olympic games. Furthermore, he has been the course designer at the annual International Omaha. His experience with high-profile events and knowledge of the venue make him the ideal candidate.

An experienced designer, like Bernardo, knows they must consider the track of the course, the placement of the fences, the distance between the fences, the type of jumps and how all these ingredients work together1. These functions are what ultimately create a good course design. A designer is responsible for creating a fair but challenging course, all while make it visually compelling for the audience.



Another consideration is the venue.


One design that worked well for an outdoor space may not translate to an indoor arena. Outdoor venues often have permanent fixtures, like trees or unique terrain, that must be factored into the design. Additionally, the lack or excess of space can change the degree of difficulty. For example, a smaller venue likely requires tighter turns that are harder for horse and rider to navigate.

Prior to competition, riders are encouraged to walk the course with their horse. This allows them to get a feel for the ring and make a clear plan. A knowledgeable course designer will consider the rider's perspective. In what ways could they approach the first jump? What is the time allowed? Could a particular area could cause a horse to spook? A multi-faceted viewpoint helps the designer create a safe course for both horse and rider.