A £750,000 development project has started at Keysoe ahead of the summer competition season.

The Bedfordshire competition center is investing in three extra 20x60m outdoor arenas, a hospitality suite and a new water complex as part of the investment.

The new outdoor arenas will be ready for the venue’s first British Eventing (BE) fixture of the season, which runs from 5 to 7 May, so the dressage for all sections will be held on a surface. Previously the dressage tests for some sections were on grass.

An extension to the indoor arena will house the hospitality suite, plus 100 new show stables will be built as part of the 2018 project.

The indoor arena will have its surface refurbished later this year, with the main outdoor arena’s surface set to be upgraded in 2019.

“It is certainly a big undertaking, but we are keen to take Keysoe to new levels,” said owner Simon Bates.

“The partnership with [surface specialist] Martin Collins enables us to use quality, long-lasting surfaces, with the benefit of excellent back-up and support.”

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The venue has also invested in new portable cross-country fences and a new rail-ditch-rail complex, which will be used at the May BE fixture.

“We have further course developments planned for later in the season including a large new water complex,” added Simon.

“We are also adding sports pitch drainage to a section of the cross-country, which will enable us to offer a fully drained grass cross-country schooling area in time for early 2019.

“Like many venues we have been looking to the weather forecast for the driest weather, but we are drying out and look forward to getting out eventing fixtures under way.

“All dressage will take place on a surface, along with the showjumping which will take place in the international outdoor arena.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

In this week’s magazine, out on Thursday 19 April 2018, don’t miss our special report from the British Dressage Winter Championships, plus full analysis from the Grand National — including expert comment, pictures and more. Read our report from the dressage and showjumping World Cup finals, and in this week’s ‘vet clinic’ we discuss the facts about fitness.