Former British team rider takes over at Pontispool from Badminton’s course-designer

  • British Eventing fixture Pontispool has welcomed former international rider Lucy McCarthy as its new course-designer.

    Lucy takes over from Badminton course-designer Eric Winter ahead of the first 2022 event at the Somerset venue on 27-29 May.

    Lucy (nee Wiegersma) is the only British rider to have won all three national eventing titles; junior in 1995, young rider in 1998 and senior in 2006. She was second at Badminton in 2008 with Shaabrak, and represented Team GB at the 2009 and 2013 European Championships at senior level, as well as five Europeans at under-21 level.

    “I’m very excited and pleased to have been asked to design the courses at Pontispool this year, although stepping into Eric Winter’s shoes will be a very tough act to follow,” she said.

    “It’s a place I know very well as a rider and I feel it has a great deal to offer for the education and development of horses and riders. From my riding experience at Pontispool, I know how it feels, and instinctively, which parts are difficult to ride and which ride well.”

    Lucy will be focusing on developing tracks that are encouraging for greener horses and riders, educational for more established combinations and “above all fun to ride”.

    “We will make full use of Pontispool’s wonderful parkland setting, and there will be purpose and flow and my aim is to make it a positive experience, educational and enjoyable for the horses and the riders so that, hopefully, the majority come back with a smile on their faces,” said Lucy.

    “At the same time, the basic elements of crossing the country will be there. Every level will have a ditch, and they will all go through at least one water complex. Where fences might be a bit challenging, we’ll provide easier alternatives as we very much want competitors to think Pontispool is okay for the first-timer, with the education of both the horse and rider in mind.”

    Pontispool owner Richard Mitford-Slade thanked Eric Winter, who has been “instrumental” in putting the venue on the map, designing “brilliant” courses over the last two decades.

    “We’re delighted to welcome Lucy on board. Her vast experience will be a valuable addition to Pontispool, as we take the venue in a slightly new direction, to cater for the changing demands of those who event. It’s an exciting time,” he said.

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