Ian Stark: Five-Star Winner To Five-Star Designer

From The Chronicle of the Horse, October 2021

By Millie Bailey

“I like to intimidate a little bit and frighten the riders. I think if they’re a little bit in awe of the course, in general they ride it better,” said Ian Stark. Alison Green For Shannon Brinkman Photography Photo

Ian “Scotty” Stark knows a little something about the “Saturday morning stomach.” For decades, the British team stalwart and multiple title winner spent cross-country mornings fretting before throwing a leg over a mount to ride massive tracks. Now that he’s designing those courses, he knows that feeling even better.

“You feel sick and nerves and adrenaline,” said Stark, 67. “There’s a ghastly feeling in the stomach. Now I get that as a designer, but it doesn’t leave you until the last horse is finished. There’s a lot of pressure on [designers]. Those mornings I have been seen to be bent over double on the ground, revisiting my breakfast. It’s stressful but exciting and thrilling when you see your courses ridden well.”

And at the Maryland 5 Star At Fair Hill, taking place Oct. 14-17 in Elkton, Stark will make his five-star course-designing debut, something he’s been after since he started designing tracks in 2005.

Read the rest of the story at The Chronicle of the Horse, here: https://www.chronofhorse.com/article/ian-stark-five-star-winner-to-five-star-designer