An all-weather arena dedicated to research has been opened at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU, previously known as the Royal Agricultural College), near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

The 60m X 30m Martin Collins Ecotrack manege will be used for curriculum topics such as gait analysis, research into causes of lameness and to provide a safe environment for equine  behavioural studies.

Students and other liveries will be able to use the facility, but unlike other colleges, the RAU will not be using it intensively for shows or competitions.

RAU principal, Professor Chris Gaskell, said: “The RAU is very pleased to be working with Martin Collins; the high quality arena we now have is a mark of the leadership we both provide in the equine world, and we look forward to working together in the future.”

Martin Collins added: “Research and development has been integral to the growth of our company throughout the 35 years we have been in business. The new arena further emphasises our commitment to this, giving us the chance to both assist with and benefit from the academic excellence associated with the RAU.”

The varied uses of the arena were demonstrated at the opening. Event rider Michael Jackson gave a performance of flatwork and equine lecturer Dr Andrew Hemmings showed how the arena will be used in future for research, with an equine behaviour demonstration.