Riders Lucy Wiegersma and Angus Smales have both been awarded British Eventing’s (BE) first ever cross-country course design scholarship.

The Course Design Scholarship — which has been supported by the Bill Thompson Bursary — has been created to help potential course designers who might not have the support or financial backing to develop the skills required.

Senior British squad member Lucy has previously been involved in organising Hatherleigh Horse Trials alongside her parents. However, it was recently announced that the event will no longer be run.

I’m thrilled,” said Lucy. “I know I’ve got lots to learn and I’m really looking forward to getting expert guidance to help me progress.

“Having recently lost our own event to the BE calendar I have really missed having an outlet for the many course design ideas that I want to put into practice.

“It will be so nice to have a blank canvas on which to once again try new plans.”

The scholarship will mean that both riders will receive financial support, free access to training sessions and mentoring during 2014.

“I’m so happy and pleased that I was one of the winning pair,” Angus said.

“Course design has been a side-line of mine for a long time, and now I can finally start to think about it more seriously.

“Everything that the scholarship offers will be such a massive help, but what makes it special for me is the chance to enjoy mentorship from the best course designers in the country — I feel like a kid in a sweet shop!

The fund was created in memory of designer Bill Thomson who was famous for his work at Burghley Horse Trials.

A shortlist of 4 candidates were assed by H&H columnist Captain Mark Phillips and Jane Holderness-Roddam.

“It became clear that that the more experienced riders had a real feel for what is required, were able to think of a combination of fences from a design perspective and had a flair for being able to see how the design of an obstacle would affect the way it would ‘ride’,” said Jane, who is chair of the Bill Thomson Bursary Committee.

“Being the first time we have run this scholarship we were hugely pleased with the calibre of those who applied.”