Blenheim Horse Trials cross-country designer Eric Winter is to take over the role for next year’s Badminton Horse Trials from Giuseppe Della Chiesa.
Della Chiesa designed the Badminton course for the past three years but has not chosen not to continue because of “shifting life priorities and new personal commitments”. He said it had been an honour to work at Badminton.
“Being also a true believer in the benefits of changing course designers from time to time I wish Eric all success,” he said.
Della Chiesa thanked the Duke of Beaufort, Hugh Thomas and the Badminton team for their support, as well as course builder James Willis, “without whom nothing would have been possible. It has been a real pleasure to work with all of them”.
Badminton is “local” for Winter, who lives with his wife and family near Chepstow, only about 30 miles from the famous grounds.
Winter, 53, has designed the course at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials for the last 10 years and during that time he has also designed for the Asian Games, two European Pony Championships, a European Junior and a European Young Rider Championship. He was Technical Delegate at Badminton from 2011 to 2014 and as a rider completed the event in 1991.
“It is a great honour to be asked to design the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton course – it is such an iconic event. I first visited Badminton in 1974 – that was my first ever taste of eventing,” Winter said.
“In recent years I have been involved in several different roles and have got to know the team behind the scenes very well. To be asked to design here is truly a dream come true and I am extremely thankful to all those involved for giving me this opportunity. I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead.”