Eventing course designer Tremaine Cooper died in an accident near his home in Bluemont, Virginia, on March 13. He was 52.
Cooper was an athlete, course designer, builder, father, husband, friend and so much more, and his quiet, thoughtful approach resulted in tremendous advancements for the sport of eventing in all areas, but especially in the safety and design of cross-country courses.
Cooper grew up on a farm in Bethany, Connecticut, and started riding when he was 5. He was a graduate “A” Pony Clubber and started eventing in 1984, competing through the advanced level. At an early age, Cooper began helping out with the cross-country courses at the Pony Club rallies at his parents’ farm.
At the end of high school and during college he started building seriously and ended up constructing courses throughout the U.S. as well as in New Zealand and the U.K. Cooper then focused more on course design, earning his Fédération Equestre Internationale “I” license more than 15 years ago. He designed at some of the premier equestrian sites around the country, including Morven Park (Virginia), Millbrook (New York), The Fork (North Carolina), Aspen Farms (Washington), Poplar Place (Georgia), Surefire (Virginia) the U.S. Eventing Association American Eventing Championships, and many others.
Cooper was one of the national U.S. Equestrian Federation Course Advisors, was involved in the educational design seminars for both the USEF and the FEI, was co-chairman of the Building/Design Committee, and sat on the USEA board of governors. In 2006 he was awarded the Neil Ayer Course Designers’ Award for his service to the sport as a cross-country course designer. Most recently he worked with the USEA staff to establish the frangible distribution program.
Cooper’s family is establishing a fund in his honor within the USEA Foundation. Donations may be sent to the USEA Foundation, 525 Old Waterford Road NW, Leesburg, VA 20176 or by visiting www.useafoundation.org/donate and by using the drop-down menu titled “Use my donations to support:” indicate that the donation is “In Honor of Tremaine Cooper.”