You might think that selling sand to the Middle East is a bit like selling snow to Eskimos, but Burnley-based company, Equestrian Surfaces, has been doing exactly this for just over a decade.

The company supplies racecourses and showjumping arenas to Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where demand for tracks that don’t need watering in dry climates is high.

“We are selling a specialist product for specialist demands — it’s not sand from a quarry,” said the company’s operations director Thomas Harper. “There are only three companies in the UK doing what we do.”

Equestrian Surfaces was founded by Harper’s father, Paul, 30 years ago. Nowadays, about a 5th of its £4million annual sales comes from overseas.

“We have to be very active and get into the markets and speak to people,” said Mr Harper, who is currently working with UK Trade & Investment, the government’s export and inward investment agency, to help the company break into the Chinese market.

Equestrian Surfaces, who have supplied surfaces for Pontispool and Patchetts equestrian centres, and Royal Berkshire Polo Club, among others, can supply and install a wide range of synthetic riding surfaces, or offer a supply only option for clients who are undertaking the work themselves.