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Cavan Equestrian Centre in Ireland is undergoing a €5million revamp.

The show and sales centre, which was started in 1983, will have an additional 85x65m indoor arena with extended seating and viewing areas. The restaurant will also get a facelift in the first major upgrade in its facilities in 15 years. Other work includes extending its current main indoor arena and building a small cross-country course.

“With the summers we’ve had recently the weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable, so we needed another arena to be able to run fixtures whatever the weather,” said Cavan director Stuart Clarke.

“We’re getting some funding from government and a European Union grant, but most of the work we’re funding ourselves.”

The equestrian centre in County Cavan sits equidistant between Belfast and Dublin, just south of the border with Northern Ireland. It is one of Ireland’s biggest show jumping venues, with more than 100 days of competition hosted each year, including the Home Pony International in July and Cavan Indoor International CSI** in November. It also doubles as a sales centre, with some 25 sales a year, including young stock sport horse sales, the national registered Irish Draught sales and four dedicated Connemara sales.

Mr Clarke estimates between 30,000-40,000 people and around 4,000 horses pass through the gates every year.

The new indoor arena will have permanent seating for 1,000, a viewing gallery and electric doors at either end of the building.

“It sounds a bit strange but it’ll work really well. The building is tall, and the doors will be opened up during the summer to let in the air and light,” said Mr Clarke.

“We’ll also add an extra 100 stables to the 400 we have here at the moment, and put in a small cross-country course.”

Pat Cully, director general of the Show Jumping Association of Ireland, told H&H the redevelopment is “very impressive”.

“It really will be a world-class facility,” said Mr Cully. “Cavan is now one of the biggest equestrian centres in Ireland.”

The work is expected to be completed during the latter part of 2008, but business will resume at Cavan in February, with a young stock and Connemara sale.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (10 January, ’08)