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Sunday, September 06, 2009  •  12:17 BST

Richard Jeffries

Richard Jeffries


Show jumping course designer Richard Jeffery is another person making his official debut at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials this year. The British designer conducted a 'Rolex – Walk The Course', this morning to explain the ideas and reasoning behind his design to members of the media. “The fact that this year’s cross-country track is shorter than previously, could have an additional influence on the show jumping, with horses perhaps, finishing fresher than in the past. This will add to the difficulty of producing a course that will test the horse and rider’s ability of jumping the type of track that is expected at today’s four-star events,” said Richard who lives in Bournemouth and divides his year designing courses in Britain and the United States.

His interest in equestrianism began with horse trials being involved in the inauguration of Britain’s most southerly horse trials, Penzance, in Cornwall his home county. Richard, a former qualified architect, began course designing unintentionally through volunteering. “I just got roped in at local shows and literally started by moving jumps and went from there,” said Richard who after a few years of building got invited to Hickstead. “I was invited to be the assistant to Pamela Carruthers who was the designer at Hickstead – I owe everything to Pamela she taught me all I know and she was the one who introduced me to America and Calgary,” said Richard who then took over designing in the States after Pamela retired. He has since been awarded American Course Designer of the Year eight times by the American Federation USEF who has now made him Eventing Show Jumping Course Advisor. Next year Richard will be the eventing show jumping course designer at the Alltech World Equestrian Games.

This year’s show jumping course at Burghley will feature fences that were used at last weeks European Championships at Windsor and others that have been designed using the architecture of the Burghley Estate. “The arena is a little up and down with a few bumps around so I will move the fences accordingly – there is some flexibility and I am not committed to strides,” said Richard who was getting a feel for the arena early on Saturday morning.