Turniergesellschaft Luhmühlen announced this morning that Mike Etherington-Smith will assume the role of course designer in 2017.
The position is handed off from Captain Mark Phillips, who has been Luhmühlen’s course designer since 2005, its first year as a CCI4* event. In 2013 his contract was extended by three year’s and will end after this year’s event (June 16-19).
Event director Julia Otto recalls, “Before Mark was appointed course designer in 2005, he acted as TD (technical delegate) for two years. When I collected him from the airport for the first time in 2003, he asked me straight away, when Luhmühlen would become a four-star competition. From that moment on, we worked together to develop the event and transact our goal.”
“I’m deeply grateful for his long-standing support,” she says. “In addition to his outstanding work as Luhmühlen’s course designer, he always saw the big picture and considered the interests of our sponsors and the media. Even after the change, his great input in developing the cross country, the landscape and the tracks will continue.”
The outgoing course designer reflected, “Luhmühlen has always been a special place for me, as a rider, an official and obviously more recently as Course Designer. Julia Otto and her team have always been the most supportive and have produced a wonderful atmosphere in which to work. I can only thank her and her partners for their belief in me over the years and I feel privileged to have been able to help make Luhmühlen the special event that it is today.”
“I would also thank David Evans and his team for the wonderful work they have done in building the fences and helping to improve the footing. I am sad to be leaving but look forward to seeing how Mike develops the course in the future, particularly with the new tracks through the woods before the Meßmer Teich.”
Incoming Mike Etherington-Smith, 61, needs no introduction. His resume includes British events Chatsworth and Blenheim, Adelaide, Rolex, the 2010 WEG in Lexington and the 2000 and 2008 Olympic tracks in Sydney and Hong Kong respectively.
“I am truly honored to have been asked to become the course designer at Luhmühlen, one of the highest profile and best organised events in the world with a superb reputation, and I am very much looking forward to working with Julia Otto and her excellent team,” he says. “Mark has done a terrific job and I hope that I can continue his good work in further developing the courses that have proved to be so popular and successful.”
Julia Otto says she is looking forward to the collaboration: “We trust his great experience and are excited about working with Mike. It will be interesting to develop the cross country even further.”
On behalf of the EN team, as a sendoff to Capt. Mark and a welcome to Mike, we offer this timeless video of Chinchwürst, Chinch’s alcoholic German uncle, smashing face-first into every jump on the 2015 Luhmühlen cross-country course. (Or at least 50% of the course. We felt morally obligated to cut him off after about his 10th concussion.)
Better luck this year, Chinchwürst.
Luhmühlen 2016 entries are live, with 40 horses and riders entered in the CCI4*. Boyd Martin and Lucy Boynton Lie’s Crackerjack are the sole four-star entry for North America. For more information visit the website here.