Lucy McCarthy (nee Wiegersma) will be lending fresh eyes to Pontispool this season having taken over as course designer, with the first event, sponsored by Wychanger.com, taking place on Friday, May 27 until Sunday May 29.
The former international event rider, who is the only British rider to have won all three national eventing titles – junior in 1995, young rider in 1998 and senior in 2006 – has ridden many times at Pontispool, and says her knowledge as a competitor will influence how she designs the courses.
She said: “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 added: “It’s a place I know very well as a rider and I feel it has a great to 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 parts ride well.”
Lucy’s focus will be on developing tracks that are encouraging for greener horses and riders, educational for more established combinations and above all fun to ride.
She said: “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. 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. Also, 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 mind.”
Pontispool’s owner, Richard Mitford-Slade said: “Huge thanks to Eric Winter who was instrumental in putting Pontispool on the map, designing brilliant courses over the past two decades, and making them challenging when required, depending on our slot in the BE calendar. 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!”