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Below are a few extracts from recent press publications highlighting Bob's ongoing achievements , please feel free to take a look:

View Bob's interview regarding his London 2012 Olympic appointment here.

Olympics begin for Bob the Builder

Express and Star Newspaper, Monday 5th July 2010.

The hard work has already started for the London 2012 Olympics for the man handed the task of capturing the imagination of equestrian fans all over the world.

Olympic showjumping courses are traditionally huge, testing and colourful, designed to represent the culture of the host country.  It is a massive responsibility and for 2012 it falls on the shoulders of 62-year-old Wolves fan Bob Ellis – known throughout the sport as ‘Bob The Builder.’ Although there are still two years to go before the opening ceremony, his mind is already working overtime, for his designs must not only catch the eyes of millions of television viewers, but decide the destination of both team and individual medals.

Ellis, from Bishops Wood, near Wolverhampton, is anxious to show London to the world and has already paid a visit to the Olympic site in Greenwich Park, the venue for all the equestrian sports.
“I want to show London at its best. There are so many themes we can follow  – the London skyline, red buses, black cabs and the Thames.  “And then there’s the maritime history of Greenwich and the Meridian Line – so we might end up with some clocks in there as well. “We will need something like 45 to 50 different designs.”

His selection has been widely welcomed in showjumping. There was even a Facebook campaign backing ‘Bob The Builder.’  British showjumping team manager Rob Hoekstra said: “I’ve got a great deal of respect for him. I know he’ll come up with something special.” And John Roche, director of jumping for the sport’s governing body, the FEI, said:
“He has proved his talent as a course designer at the top level.”

Ellis regards his appointment as the pinnacle of a career that began by accident back in the 1970s, starting as a showjumping rider when he went to work for former BBC commentator Steve Hadley, who decided to stage a few show and deputed him to build the courses – and he was quickly hooked.   It was tough to earn a living at first – having to combine course building with coach driving – but once he was invited to assist at the Horse Of The Year Show his career took off. 

Since then he has worked in 25 different countries and designed the tracks for World Cups, European Championships and the richest shows in the world, including Britain’s top four events. But the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, evidenced by the FEI now having a rule that allows elite course-designers qualified for the job only one opportunity.

Ellis said: It is definitely the pinnacle of my career. It is a huge honour. There are probably only about a dozen people since the war who have built for the Olympics. “If you are going to be awarded a Games, what better than to be given your home one.” His team of five will make regular visits to Greenwich to assess the site and pool their ideas. He said: “We’ll also be looking around London to come up with our themes and then we’ll get to work on the designs. It’s quite a challenge. 

Ellis will have to cut back on his hectic schedule of travelling to get the job done, but will be making sure he finds the time to follow his beloved Wolves. He’s been a season ticket holder for 35 years and has been known to get a Saturday night flight back from Dubai to catch a Sunday match at Molineux. He said: “I was only seven when I first went to a game with my dad, by the time I was nine or 10 I was going to Molineux by myself. “I’ve only recently realised that I’ve been following Wolves for 55 years. “I’ve got an 18-month-old grandson, Harry, and I’m going to keep him away from horses and make sure he becomes a footballer. “He’s got a good left foot!”

Bob Ellis Appointed As Jumping Course Designer For London 2012

Thursday 17th June 2010
Bob Ellis (GBR) has been appointed as the Jumping course designer for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The appointment of the British designer, who produced the courses for last year’s Alltech FEI European Jumping Championships, was announced by London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG).
Ellis will be responsible for the courses for all the Jumping competitions and also for the Jumping test of the Eventing at the Olympic venue in Greenwich Park. He will be supported by an experienced international team which includes Kelvin Bywater (GBR), Stephen Renouard (GBR), Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) and Alan Wade (IRL).
Working closely with LOCOG’s equestrian events manager Tim Hadaway, Ellis will develop design concepts for fences that showcase the themes of UK culture, London’s heritage and landmarks, and the history of Greenwich itself. He will also oversee Jumping courses for the test event in July 2011.
“The FEI welcomes the appointment of Bob Ellis as course designer for the London 2012 Olympic Games”, said John Roche, FEI Director Jumping. “Bob has proved his talent as a course designer at the top level of the sport and it is wonderful that he is being given the opportunity to showcase that talent on home turf at the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian venue in Greenwich Park.”

"It's right and fitting that we should have a Brit do the job,"....."Bob is more than qualified." 2008 Olympian Tim Stockdale on Bob's appointment as the London Olympic 2012 Course Designer.

His sentiments were echoed by British showjumping team manager Rob Hoekstra, who added:
"I've got a great deal of respect for him. I know he'll come up with something special."

Bob Ellis attained FEI International status as a course designer in 1989, and became an FEI Candidate International Judge in 1999. In 2004 he was appointed an Official International Course Designer by the FEI. He currently designs the courses at the British international shows at Hickstead, Olympia (the London International Horse Show), the Horse of the Year Show and British Open at Birmingham.

Bob Ellis Wins the Animal Health Trust United Kingdom Equestrian Showjumping Award

Monday 09 November 2009AHT.jpg

More than 400 people from all walks of the equestrian world attended the Animal Health Trust’s (AHT) 21st United Kingdom Equestrian Awards at the Lancaster London on Thursday 5th November.
 Hosted by HRH The Princess Royal, the AHT’s President, the annual fundraising event raised more than £70,000 for the Newmarket-based veterinary charity. AHT’s panel of judges chose Bob Ellis as the winner of the Showjumping Award. Bob started his career in 1993 after hanging up his competition clothing having competed as both a National and International rider with substantial success.  Progressing quickly up through the ranks Bob is now one of the finest and most highly respected course designers in the world having built at many of the best shows and events across the globe.  With a focus on achieving the ultimate test for horse and rider Bob has also been a catalyst for change understanding the need to not only listen to the show organiser and competitors needs but to also be extremely sympathetic to the sponsors and spectators needs. Working closely with British Showjumping Bob’s approach to his job goes far beyond anyone’s expectations with the time, effort and understanding that he puts into every event he undertakes.  His unique and charismatic approach to the task ahead often belies the work and background research he has put in to making each event not only unique in its style but also in the way it delivers for the investor and competitor alike.  This, and the way he has assisted to drive the sport forward in terms of spectator appeal has made Bob Ellis the pivotal player that he is in assisting to drive British Showjumping forward on both the National and  International stage. Desi Dillingham, Chairman of the Equestrian Awards Organising Committee, said: “The Equestrian Awards is a fantastic showcase of the equestrian talent in the UK. We’re particularly grateful to all those who sponsored either an award or part of the evening and helped us raise a fantastic sum of money which will enable us to continue our very important work.”

BEF presents Medals of Honour at European Championships

Sunday 30 August 2009

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) presented six BEF Medals of Honour during the evening performance of the Alltech FEI European Dressage and Jumping Championships on Thursday 27th August. The medals recognise outstanding achievement and contribution to the International equestrian world.  The medals were presented to: 
  • Sophie Christiansen – Para-Equestrian Dressage
  • Tina Cook – British Eventing logo.gif
  • Bob Ellis – British Show Jumping 
  • Emma Hindle – British Dressage
  • Simon Laurens – Para-Equestrian Dressage
  • Maggie Maguire – Endurance GB
 The BEF Medal of Honour is primarily an award designed to recognise activities connected with international endeavour in relation to equestrian sport, it is awarded for outstanding services to the British Equestrian Federation or one of its member bodies. This can be in recognition of riding prowess or other support of the British international effort. Bob Ellis is an International Judge and one of the World’s leading course designers.  His career started as a successful pony show jumper and progressed to International competition, jumping successfully throughout Europe on horses. Bob’s mentor in course building was the late Sheila Elstone, he then began travelling overseas assisting Jon Doney and Pam Carruthers. He went on to design at major shows throughout Great Britain with huge success and has been invited to build around the world, including at the famous Spruce Meadows in Canada. Bob is currently the course designer at the Alltech FEI European Jumping Championships. “The British Equestrian Federation is very proud of all the hard working individuals who make equestrian sport the success it is in this country,” comments Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the BEF. “Without the dedication and commitment of our riders, executive staff and volunteers we would not be in the fortunate position of being one of the greatest equestrian nations in the World. On behalf of the British Equestrian Federation I would like to congratulate all the worthy recipients of the Medal of Honour this year.” 

Alltech FEI European Dressage and Jumping Championships - Jumping Course Design Preview

Monday 24 August 2009Alltech.jpg


Bob Ellis, the 62 year old course designer charged with creating the jumping tracks for the Alltech FEI European Dressage and Jumping Championships at Windsor Castle in Great Britain, has a specific theme at the heart of his ideas.  He is not prepared to give a lot away ahead of the big week, but he says "this is a very special location, and I decided a long time ago that I want the arena to reflect an English country garden". 

As a top international designer he has worked all around the world including the USA, Canada, Europe and the Middle East and he has built tracks for Nations Cup competitions, World Cup Qualifiers and Pony, Young Rider and Junior Europeans.  This however will be his first senior championship, and he's really looking forward to it.

Biggest Challenge

He says the biggest challenge he faces is ensuring his courses don't over-stretch the less-experienced competitors, yet provide a strong enough test for the best riders in the world.  "It's not an easy thing to do, but its about getting the balance right" he points out.  He's happy that he has the support of his great friend, Irishman Alan Wade whose courses during the recent Dublin Horse Show were highly-praised, and his own assistant 34 year old Bernardo Costa Cabrel from Portugal.  "Two great men - they'll help me to do a great job" he explains.

Bob has been building at The Royal Windsor Horse Show for some years now and says the arena surfaces are second-to-none.  The Martin Collins Ecotrack is so good "they nearly jump too well off it!"  The surface is designed to have a cushioning effect and to reduce concussion to the horse's limbs and it also provides great stability on take-off.   British team member, Ben Maher, is quoted as saying that "many surfaces abroad lack bounce and stability and without that you can often undermine a horse's confidence.  Show jumpers would describe a 'dead' surface as one when you don't get a push off the floor.  On Ecotrack you can place a horse better, the ground is level, they get the same feeling over a jump and the horse can do a better job" he explains.


Simon Brooks-Ward, Windsor's Show Director, says "in April this year, our preparations for the Alltech FEI European Jumping and Dressage Championships meant we needed an additional arena, as well as extend our current collecting ring, in order to compete with the world's best venues.  Of course we reviewed the options, but chose Martin Collins' Ecotrack surface once again to fulfill our needs.  The new arenas were finished only a few weeks ahead of this year's Royal Windsor and despite the appalling weather we had at the time, the surface upheld brilliantly, as it always has".

Bob Ellis will be hoping for better weather conditions this time around, although when interviewed he was sitting in his caravan at Windsor sheltering from a torrential rainstorm that was giving the flowers destined for his English country garden a ferocious drenching. 

Hinting at what riders might expect to face this week he says "obviously since there is an English theme there will be plenty of gates, and on Nations Cup day there will be liverpools and a small lake with a river running off it.  I want the arena to look great and I want my courses to produce excellent competition.  The bottom line for me is to produce good jumping and good sport and to provide plenty of entertainment for the crowd" he concludes.

BSJA Archive 2007 -Ryans Son TrophyRyansSonTrophypresentation.JPG 

Presented annually by John and Claire Whitaker 2007

Recipient - Bob Ellis

Bob is an International Judge and Course Designer whose career started as a successful pony show jumper and progressed to International competition, when working with Stephen Hadley he jumped successfully throughout Europe on horses.


Before giving up competing he showed an interest in Course Designing and his mentor was the late Sheila Elstone , winner of this trophy in 1998, who imparted her tremendous knowledge to him. Bob progressed to travelling overseas assisting Jon Doney and Pam Carruthers and went on to design at major shows throughout Great Britain with huge success. Bob has been invited to build around the world including the famous Spruce Meadows in Canada.


In Great Britain, to name but a few, he designs here at Olympia, Hickstead and Horse of the Year Show.


For a time, Bob, who was awarded the rank of Major in the Omani army was a trainer for a successful Omani show jumping team. He is a supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers and is one of the worlds leading designers and one of a small band of top Course Builders in the world with official status.


He is trusted and respected by all the riders and officials who work around him and is a great person to work with.


Click here to hear Bob being interviewed prior to the FEI 2009 Alltech European Championships.