Adelaide course-designer speaks out after being ‘dropped’

  • Australian course-designer Wayne Copping has told H&H he is “very disappointed” to have been dropped from his role at the Australian International three-day event in Adelaide, after seven years in the position.

    Wayne will be replaced by outgoing British Eventing (BE) chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith.

    Mike, who has quit his position at BE to focus more on course-designing, has been involved in the Australian High Performance Programme, designing the Sydney three-day event and mentoring a number of Australia’s developing course-designers.

    Wayne said: “I helped build the brand for seven years, building up a kit of jumps and keeping the course in good condition myself. We also had about 400 shrubs to maintain, I don’t think they [the Adelaide event directors] realised the amount we [Wayne, his wife and daughter] did. It was disappointing to be told I was no longer required when there was no hint of it at all.

    “It is sad when your national federation doesn’t support you and brings in someone from overseas instead.”

    Adelaide’s event director Gillian Rolton said that during Wayne’s time in the role he had “delivered some outstanding results”.

    “We thank Wayne for all he has done to develop the Adelaide event and wish him all the best for the new challenges he undertakes,” she added.

    “The addition of Adelaide CCI4* to the High Performance Programme will see Mike working with Equestrian Australia High Performance and the Australian International three-day event to expand it into the future.

    “With the Olympics in Rio 2016 at the forefront of everyone’s plans, we welcome Mike to Adelaide for next November’s top-level event and look forward to working with him to produce another world-class course.”

    Among his other high-profile course-design jobs, Mike was designer at at the 2000 and 2008 Olympic Games.

    “It’s no secret that my first love is being out and about on cross-country courses and I have been offered some more designing opportunities, including at the Adelaide four-star in Australia,” said Mike.

    “It was a really tough decision to leave BE, but I feel that now is a good time for someone else to take over the reins.”

    A replacement for Mike at BE is currently being sought.

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