First Look at the AEC Cross Country Course in Tryon

We are counting down the hours until the course opens for the American Eventing Championships at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. As course builders, this has been a challenging project, putting together six courses for six different levels on a new piece of property. Fortunately, course designer Mark Phillips has done an impressive job figuring out how to make all of this work, and we are really pleased with how the track, footing and all the jumps have come together.

We’ve built a lot of portable fences because this is a new property, but there are numerous log jumps and traditional cross country type fences on the course too, including the water complexes.


Most of the obstacles on the Derby Field are more finished, like the miniature mansions and barns that reflect the architecture both here and in Wellington (where the same organizers put together the Wellington Eventing Showcase). By all means, this is a real cross country course–the horses are going to have to gallop and jump, and navigate a good bit of terrain. It’s much more than a tour around the Derby Field.




The footing has come along really well. You can see how green the grass is and the roots are a good three to four inches down in the ground, so this is good established turf sitting atop a manufactured, irrigated base. You pretty much have a guaranteed product with the footing.

Today, our crew will be putting the finishing touches on everything, making sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. This has been a huge project and it’s really satisfying to see everything coming together. It’s going to be a great event.


American Eventing Championships
August 31-Sep 4
Tryon International Equestrian Center
Mill Springs, NC

About the Author

Eric Bull is the owner of ETB Equine Construction, based in Scottsville, VA specializing in building attractive and safe cross-country obstacles, stadium jumps and providing the best in course design and management. www.etbjump.com.