Plantation Field Equestrian Events Inc. announced today that Olympian Nina Fout has been selected as the first participant in the new Course Designer Development Program, a mentorship with world-renowned course designer Mike Etherington-Smith.
Under Etherington-Smith’s guidance, Fout, a licensed ‘S’ course designer, will work on designing the CIC* and CIC2* courses for Plantation Field International Horse Trials in Unionville, Pennsylvania, with the goal for her to ultimately take over designing these courses in the future.
A member of the U.S. bronze medal team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Fout has also ridden around some of the most challenging cross country courses in the world, from Badminton and Burghley to Blenheim and Rolex, which she said has helped greatly in fostering her skills as a course designer.
“I have to thank Plantation Field Equestrian Events for the incredible opportunity to work with Mike E-S. He’s a brilliant course designer, and the venue is a wonderful setting to showcase good design,” Fout said.
“Plantation has a great community and is a very popular event, and it’s wonderful for the sport to have someone of Mike’s experience to put his stamp on the course and to continue to elevate the standard of course design in the U.S. I’m very excited to be a part of that.”
Fout’s ‘S’ license allows her to design through the Advanced level at national events, and she has already designed at Middleburg, CDCTA, Kelly’s Ford, Gordonsdale and Morningside, with her long-term goal remaining to design at the FEI level.
Boyd Martin, a member of the selection committee that chose Fout — along with Mike E-S, Phillip Dutton, Mary Coldren and Denis Glaccum — said the committee received six quality applications for the program, and he is excited to welcome Nina to the Plantation team.
“Nina has ridden at the Olympic level and has a wonderful creative mind for course design,” Martin said. “We all felt her working with Mike E-S could boost her career towards being one of America’s next great four-star course designers.”
Mike E-S said he is busy finalizing the plans for the program and anticipates that he and Fout will begin working on the courses very soon.
“Nina has already done quite a lot of designing, and I am looking forward to working with her on the courses for the September event and hopefully being able to share some of what I have been lucky enough to learn over the years,” he said.
Plantation Field International Horse Trials will be held Sept. 18-20, 2015 in Unionville, Pennsylvania.