Course-builder David Evans has worked alongside Mike Etherington-Smith at major three day events including Chatsworth and Blenheim
“My father set up a the horse trials on the estate at Holker Hall and he ran the event virtually up until he died.
After school I decided that I wanted to work with horses and spent five years in the King’s Troop. I then combined working as a security guard with eventing, but the money ran out and I gave up.
I moved south and began to help Mike Etherington-Smith build at Blenheim shortly after the event had been set up. I had met Mike years before at Holker Hall, where I used to help my father with some of the building.
I learned a huge amount from Mike when I worked on the tracks at Blarney, Chatsworth and Cornbury, as well as from Mark Phillips, for whom I have built at Bromont and Checkmate in Canada.
At big events, Mike designs and I build, but I have also had my own attempt at designing and was involved with setting up the course at Bold Heath when the event started. This year I am also the designer and builder for Tweseldown, but I can’t say much about the course at this stage, except that there will be a big revamp and a lot of new fences.
I just love putting the finishing touches to them, such as carving the sculptures at Chatsworth and the ducks and the little boy walking up a ladder that were used at Blenheim last year. You could say that as long as I’ve got a chainsaw in my hand I’m a happy man!
I don’t know what the future holds in terms of me designing more courses. In one way it’s exciting, but I wonder if I want to take such a big, nerve-wracking step. As a designer you are responsible for far more people than you are as a builder. “
Read more about course builders and designers in this month’s issue of Eventing magazine (March) or click here to subscribe.