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Impressive List of International Course Designers Named for 2024 Winter Spectacular Show Series at World Equestrian Center – Ocala

November 29, 2023 - Ocala, FL

The WEC Grand Arena at World Equestrian Center - Ocala.
Photo by MAVEN Photo + Film

An impressive list of international course designers has been named for the 2024 Winter Spectacular Show Series at World Equestrian Center – Ocala in Ocala, FL, which runs for 12 weeks from January 3 through March 24. The series features USEF-rated Premier and Level 6 Jumpers every week plus five weeks of Fédération Equestre International (FEI)-rated competition. The slate of course designers includes Gregory Bodo (FRA), Anna Catalina Cruz (MEX), Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR), Peter Grant (CAN), Kenneth Krome (USA), Anderson Lima (BRA), Bobby Murphy (USA), Leopoldo Palacios (VEN), Colm Quinn (IRL), Joey Rycroft (CAN), Steve Stephens (USA), Ben Townley (GBR), Pieter Vitse (BEL) and Alan Wade (IRL).

Week I: Bobby Murphy and Steve Stephens
Bobby Murphy and Steve Stephens serve as co-designers for the opening week of the 2024 Winter Spectacular Show Series. Bobby Murphy of Lexington, KY, a resident course designer at both World Equestrian Center venues, will set the opening tracks. Murphy is well-known for being a “course architect” with his innovative and creative designs. His talent has been showcased at championship events including the Rolex Central Park Horse Show, the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, and the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, where he has designed the courses for nine years. Murphy will return to the WEC Grand Arena during week VI to build the equitation courses for the 2024 WEC Premier Equitation Cup Championship.

Steve Stephens studied course design under Bert de Némethy and Dr. Arno Gego and served as an assistant to de Némethy when he was course designer at the 1980 and 1989 FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals in Baltimore, MD, and Tampa, FL, as well as at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Stephens was also an assistant to Gego when he was course designer in 1996 and 1998 at the CHIO Aachen in Germany, and also to Leopoldo Palacios at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Stephens designed at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as well as many major competitions across North America.

Week II: Ben Townley
FEI Level III course designer Ben Townley returns for his second year at WEC – Ocala during week II. Townley built at the 2022 Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham, England, and created courses at top-level events including the British Young Horse Finals at Bolesworth and the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, where he assisted with the design of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ course. Townley also assisted with the design at the 2022 FEI Jumping World Cup™ in London.

Week III: Anderson Lima
An FEI Level III course designer, Anderson Lima is well known for his designs at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; the South American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada. Most recently, he designed the track for the famed $226,000 Sapphire Grand Prix at the 2023 Devon Horse Show.

Week IV: Kenneth Krome
Kenny Krome of Westminster, MD, will make his second appearance at WEC – Ocala in 2024. The FEI Level III course designer is an accomplished hunter/jumper rider, trainer and judge who created the show jumping tracks at the 2022 Maryland 5 Star CCI5*-L and has built throughout the United States, Canada and South America. He has apprenticed for internationally acclaimed course designer Richard Jeffery and continued his education in Aachen, Germany.

Week V: Leopoldo Palacios
Leopoldo Palacios is a two-time Olympic Games course designer as well as course designer for the 1997 FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, and the 1991 and 1995 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, respectively. The FEI Level IV designer is also the resident builder for the annual Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ CSIO5* Tournament in Calgary, Canada.

Week VI: Bobby Murphy and Joey Rycroft
Bobby Murphy will design for the hunters that will be featured in the WEC Grand Arena during Week VI and for the Premier Equitation Championship Cup, one of the major equitation competitions for junior riders, held on Saturday, February 10.

Jumpers will run in the WEC Stadium, and courses will be designed by Joey Rycroft, an
FEI Level III course designer. Rycroft has assisted with the course designing tasks at top-level competitions throughout North America alongside his business partner Peter Grant. Rycroft has been on the course design team for numerous five-star events around the world including the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals, FEI World Equestrian Games™ and Spruce Meadows.

Week VII, CSI3*: Colm Quinn
Colm Quinn is an FEI Level III course designer and has constructed courses at the Bolesworth Young Horse Championship and assisted at the British Show Jumping Indoor Championship Finals at Aintree. Quinn designed courses during WEC – Ocala’s 2022 and 2023 Winter Spectacular Show Series where he was praised by exhibitors for his challenging yet welcoming designs that only allowed a select few to advance to the jump-off.

Week VIII, CSI3*: Peter Grant
Internationally renowned FEI Level III course designer Peter Grant has extensive experience at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada, where he has built numerous challenging CSI5* courses since 2004. Grant has assisted at elite championships including the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the 2007 and 2017 FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals, and the 2010 and 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™. Grant has a history of designing notable courses at WEC – Ocala since its inception.

Week IX, CSI3*: Catsy Cruz
Catsy Cruz's intricate and elegant designs have earned accolades among exhibitors at WEC – Ocala and riders around the world in her two decades of course building. As a highly skilled FEI Level III course designer, she has built for international competitions including the Winter Equestrian Festival, HITS Saugerties, Traverse City Horse Shows, as well as at the Kentucky Horse Park and San Juan Capistrano, CA. She assisted the course design at the 2022 Las Vegas National CSI4*-W and has worked with the biggest names in course design, including Arno Gego, Bob Ellis, Leopoldo Palacios and Frank Rothenberger at competitions in Monterrey, Mexico; Aachen, Germany; Hickstead, England; and Calgary, Canada.

Week X, CSI4*/2*: Gregory Bodo and Pieter Vitse
Gregory Bodo was recently appointed the co-course designer with Santiago Varela for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Bodo is an FEI Level IV course designer and has been designing for 22 years. He was the assistant course designer at the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, France, where he first worked with Varela, and the 2017 FEI Jumping European Championships for Children, Juniors, and Young Riders in Šamorín, Slovakia.

In 2017, Bodo built his first Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ qualifier in Lyon, France, and served as assistant course designer at the 2018 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Paris and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Working alongside Bodo at WEC – Ocala and around the world is Pieter Vitse of Belgium who is also the resident course designer for Peelbergen Equestrian Centre in the Netherlands.

Week XI: Bernardo Costa Cabral
FEI Level IV course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral of Portugal has a lengthy resume, having assisted with the build at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2012 London Olympic Games. He created the courses for the 2023 FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Omaha, NE, as well as events in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League, including the 2022 and 2023 Washington International Horse Show.

Week XII, CSIO5*, Longines League of Nations™: Alan Wade, Bobby Murphy, Colm Quinn, Kevin Holowack
FEI Level IV course designer Alan Wade’s impressive resume includes the 2017 FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Omaha, NE; the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, NC; and the Palm Beach Masters CSI4*-W featuring the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ in Wellington, FL. Wade will design alongside Murphy for the CSIO5* and Longines League of Nations™ competition. Quinn returns to design for the national-level jumpers, while Kevin Holowack will design for the major hunter derbies held during the final week of the circuit.

Lending incredible expertise, artistry and technical skills, this exemplary group of course designers will elevate the competition at the 2024 Winter Spectacular Show Series.

Entries and weekly stall reservations for the 2024 Winter Spectacular Show Series remain open. Click HERE to place entries, reserve stalls, view the prize list and more.