For about half of the riders competing at USEA American Eventing Championships this week, cross country will kick off today. Ian Stark is the course designer at Rebecca Farm for this AEC cycle, and you can take a virtual spin around each track thanks to Cross Country App.

Beginner Novice

Fence 7 on the AEC Beginner Novice track features a flagged entrance into water between two “saloon” buildings. Photo via CrossCountryApp.

While Beginner Novice courses don’t typically have much in the way of related fences, these tracks are as much about the big picture and the terrain as anything else. Riders will want to keep their legs active at fence 12 here, lest they pick up a silly 20 due to a peek at the water that’s behind the hanging log. Photo via Cross Country App.

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Novice

Fence 9 on the AEC Novice course, the Petroglyph Log. Photo via Cross Country App.

Following a slightly more forgiving but similar question earlier on, the Adequan Fort to Wagon at 14AB will now test the riders’ skill application for going forward and turning. Photo via Cross Country App.

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Training

A friendly reminder at fence 2 on the AEC Training track! Photo via Cross Country App.

Light and shadows are likely to play a factor here at fence 7AB on the Training track. Photo via Cross Country App.

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Modified

Riders will be faced with a visually tricky A element at fence 5 on the Modified AEC course. They’ll have some time — but not a lot if the horse ends up off its line due to a peek at the snake-dragon — before the B element, a narrow table set at an angle after the water exit. Photo via Cross Country App.

Later on the Modified course, Ian once more tests the riders on angled questions related to water. The first water question will have given riders information to use for their ride here. Photo via Cross Country App.

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Preliminary

Fence 11 on the AEC Prelim track, the Adequan Moose, Drop into Water to Corner. I recall a 4* question that was somewhat similar to this question here not too long ago. Photo via Cross Country App.

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Intermediate

The first combination comes up quickly on the Intermediate track — fence 3 to be exact. Ian will want riders to be confident and bold here, which could be a big ask for a pair that has yet to find a rhythm. A forward ride here will set horses up well to continue on with confidence. Photo via Cross Country App.

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Advanced

It’s Alphabet Soup at the first water complex on the AEC Advanced track. Riders will negotiate four progressively narrower elements and tricky terrain here. Photo via Cross Country App.

The C and D elements of the water at 6. Photo via Cross Country App.

Two brush corners are difficult enough, but the terrain in between is what makes this a true Advanced Championship question. Riders will be paying close attention to their lines here as the terrain will encourage drifting and runouts. Photo via Cross Country App.

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Don’t miss all the cross country action today beginning at 8:30 a.m. MST / 10:30 a.m. EST with the Preliminary Championship. You can find live stream links and more information here. Today’s cross country schedule is as follows:

USEA American Eventing Championships (Kalispell, MT): [Website] [Ride Times/Live Scores] [Livestream]

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