Who Wants to Be America’s Next Top Course Designer?

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Mike E-S’s handiwork on this year’s Plantation Field CIC3* course. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Who wants to be America’s next top course designer? Plantation Field Equestrian Events has launched a development program to find and mentor an aspiring upper-level designer to work under Mike Etherington-Smith on the one- and two-star courses at the event’s fall horse trials.

The program is open to all levels of course designers who show the potential and desire to design at the upper levels internationally, with the idea being to ultimately broaden and bolster America’s relatively small pool of designers.

Mike E-S, who designs Plantation Field’s three-star course, will select the winning candidate(s) with Mary Coldren, Phillip Dutton, Denis Glaccum and Boyd Martin. They expect to announcer the winner(s) in February.

“From Phillip’s and my perspective, there’s a bit of a shortage of designers who are qualified at the very top level in America,” Boyd said. “There’s only Derek (di Grazia) at the four-star level, and behind him it’s pretty empty. We’re hoping this program can help kickstart the career of an up-and-coming designer.”

Denis, Plantation Field president and founder, agreed: “We’re very excited to be able to offer this program, in as much as I think it will help accelerate the development of new course designers in this country.”

The chosen designer(s) will spend time with Mike E-S while he assesses current courses, plans future courses and coordinates with Plantation Field course builder Eric Bull of ETB Construction, with the program expected to take three to five days.

Interested in applying? Here’s what you need to send in:

  • A letter requesting consideration for the program with a brief description of your background in course design as well as brief thoughts about your future ambitions within the sport.
  • An up-to-date list of current courses and events that you are associated with as a designer or any other experience you feel would be relevant to the role.

Applications can be mailed to Plantation Field Equestrian Events, PO Box 82, Unionville, PA 19375 or emailed to [email protected].

As big proponents of cultivating and strengthening course design in the U.S., we’re excited to follow along with the candidates and see the courses at Plantation Field next fall.

[Plantation Field Equestrian Events, Inc. Announces Course Designer Development Program]

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