Woodside Welcomes Ian Stark as New Course Designer

Bonner Carpenter and Basco at Woodside CIC3*. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart. Bonner Carpenter and Basco at Woodside CIC3*. Photo courtesy of Sherry Stewart.

Ian Stark will take over designing the cross country course at the Event at Woodside in Woodside, California, from current designer, Derek di Grazia.

“Ian brings a lot of experience and knowledge of the sport internationally. Riders love his courses,” Robert Kellerhouse, Woodside organizer, said in a statement. “Ian is extremely qualified to really take Woodside to the next level.”

Indeed, Stark has a long list of riding accomplishments, including four Olympic silver medals, team gold at the World Championships, individual gold at the European Championships and three wins at Badminton CCI4*.

Stark began designing cross country courses in 2005 and is now a popular designer in Great Britain, Ireland and the United States. He is well known for designing courses that require immense bravery from horse and rider and reward forward, accurate lines.

In the United States, Stark also designs at Richland Park in Michigan, Rebecca Farm in Montana, and Galway Downs in California. He has also been selected to design his first championship track at the 2015 European Championships at Blair Castle in his homeland of Scotland.

This passing of the guard from di Grazia to Stark is not a surprise, according to Kellerhouse, who also organizes Galway Downs. “There is no question that we would not be here without the 10 years of work that Derek di Grazia invested in Woodside. We knew that after 10 years, and with Derek’s very busy schedule, we were in for a change. Everyone was on board for this decision, and I think it the right one.”

Gayle Strickland, President of Woodside’s Board of Governors, thanked di Grazia for his years of service as course designer, saying, “We really appreciate the great job he has done over the last decade and how far he has taken the horse park.”

Di Grazia remains the only CCI4* designer in America as the current designer at Rolex Kentucky. He also designs FEI courses at Fair Hill, Twin Rivers, and Bromont, among others.

The unveiling of the new courses will take place in May 2015 at the Spring Event at Woodside. Additionally, a fundraising campaign has begun to finance a rebuild of the upper-level courses used for The Woodside International the first weekend in October.

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