The Duke of Beaufort and Hugh Thomas, director of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials CCI****, have appointed a new cross-country course designer, Giuseppe della Chiesa, for the event. Della Chiesa, technical delegate at Badminton from 2008 to 2010 and assistant TD in 2011, has also been responsible for designing prestigious international courses—most well known being the championship track at Pratoni, Italy, where he was show director for the World Equestrian Games in 1998 and course designer for the European Eventing Championships in 2007.
“While I was surprised that Hugh was standing down as course designer, I am honored to be asked to design at such a prestigious event and looking forward to working with course builders the Willis Brothers and all the team at Badminton,” said della Chiesa.
Della Chiesa was technical delegate for the Olympic Games in Hong Kong in 2008 and as a rider was Italian champion in 1989 and Olympic reserve for Italy at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He has designed both national and international courses in Italy and also at Windsor in Great Britain, Malmo in Sweden and in South Africa.
The new designer’s course building philosophy is very much in tune with the way that Thomas worked in his 25 years as course designer in tandem with his role as director. Della Chiesa said: “It will be evolution, not revolution.”
Della Chiesa has been initially contracted for a period of three years and will be designing the 2014 course. He knows the park well from his TD days and will be having an early reconnaissance with his new perspective this summer.
“I am hugely looking forward to supporting Giuseppe in this new chapter of Badminton,” said Thomas. “[The year] 2013 was one of the most successful events ever, with a record crowd and another competition that was resolved at the very last fence on the final day. We have never had such a high class field and the event will be difficult to match next year!
Thomas’ 2013 cross-country track came under some criticism, with Mark Todd dubbing it a “three-star with some four-star elements.”
The 2014 event will run from May 8-11.