Event riders now have the opportunity to hone their skills all-year-round with the launch of 2 new purpose-built all-weather cross-country courses.
Aston-le-Walls in Northamptonshire recently unveiled its new 3-acre facility (pictured top, photo courtesy of @PROEventRiders), which boasts fences from BE80 to advanced, including a water complex, banks, triple brushes, corners and ditches.
Owner Nigel Taylor said there was plenty of demand for the arena.
“We have always been open for cross-country schooling, but we’ve always been at the mercy of the weather,” he said. “We’ve been able to open for odd days during the winter when it’s been dry, but now riders can come whenever they like.”
Nigel explained that the fences, although secured to the ground by concrete — the same method as was employed at the Greenwich Olympics — are portable.
“There’s room for 5 dressage arenas, so we will be making use of the area for our British Eventing (BE) events,” he said.
Meanwhile in the south-west, Pontispool Equine Sports Centre in Somerset has opened a 2-acre all-weather cross-country facility, which includes a range of permanent cross-country fences.
Owner Richard Mitford–Slade put his plan into action following 2 years of very wet weather.
He said: “We knew that a large slice of our income could be lost if we had another very wet year as we would not be able to hire out our facilities, so we decided to create a much bigger all-weather arena.”
Event rider Lucy Wiegersma, said: “I think it is a fantastic idea and it will be a huge bonus having such a great facility in the West Country. The fences are very impressive, and gone are the days of only using portable fences in all-weather arenas.”