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Inside The Dutch Masters with course designer Louis Konickx

Monday, 12 March 2018
CSI5* Dutch Masters 2018

Photo (c) Kit Houghton Louis Konickx. Photo (c) Kit Houghton.

Louis Konickx, course designer at The Dutch Masters

Talk to us about the process of designing such an important course like a Rolex Grand Prix

"We first came up with the ideas and concept three weeks ago. My assistant and I are in constant communication, always bouncing ideas off each other, it is a team effort. Because the arena is bigger this year, we added longer combinations and more related distances. It is also very important to make sure you have the right number of verticals and oxers because if you are too defensive and have too many hard oxers, it asks too much of the horse and will not get the desired number of clear rounds. It needs to be challenging… but achievable"

Are there any particular tricky parts you put in? 

"Yes, but we wanted to make sure that there was a variety for the different types of horses."

"If you just build big oxers it challenges the horses that don't have scope but is easy for the horses that do, so it is vital that we have diversity which will ultimately produce the best competition."

"In all cases we are wanting to test the tuning between horse and rider and their ability to work together in a partnership, that is what we are searching for as course designers."

Is there more pressure on you now that this Rolex Grand Prix is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

"Yes, there is certainly more pressure! Most of it comes from the riders, they really want to win this class and go after the Rolex Grand Slam which means we need to make sure the course gives them the opportunity to compete at the best of their ability. Now that this is part of the Rolex Grand Slam there is more at stake than just the result of this Grand Prix."

What makes you passionate about your role? 

"Every day and every event is different. I have particularly enjoyed this year at the Dutch Masters as we have designed a lot of new fences and have created a sense of the Netherlands within that. We have focused on Dutch artists, for example Van Gogh, who we think represents a ‘Dutch Master’. We have also designed fences to represent the Dutch fruit, all small touches that I think make the course extra special."

 


Text and picture © Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping 

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