Bicton Arena’s Helen joins forces with London 2012 elite to become the second top-level cross-country course designer in the UK

PUBLISHED: 11:16 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:16 23 November 2018

© Guy Newman.01.06.2017. Helen West, Manager of Bicton Arena with her horse ebay.

© Guy Newman.01.06.2017. Helen West, Manager of Bicton Arena with her horse ebay.

© Guy Newman

Bicton Arena manager Helen West has become the second woman in Britain to become a top-level cross-country course designer.

Riding professionally for 14 years has stood Helen in good stead to become an advanced level cross-country course designer in a field so niche, she is now only the second woman in the country to achieve the accreditation; the first was equestrian Sue Benson, London 2012 Olympic cross-country course designer.

The certificate is held by only a handful of people in the UK, including champion equestrian Captain Mark Phillips.

Helen, aged 38, who is now qualified to design the most advanced cross-country courses in Europe, said: “Cross-country is a hugely risky sport, riskier than Formula One, so when your name is on the course, it’s a massive responsibility.

“Riders will always make mistakes, horses will rarely make mistakes, so you can’t make the sport safe, but you can design the course so it is as safe as it can be.”

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