The popular Norton Heath Equestrian Centre in Essex is undergoing a major overhaul, with improvements including a new 65x30m indoor arena adjacent to the existing one, which will be used as a schooling and warm-up ring.

The work is in the early stages, but an architect is drawing up plans and a ground survey has been completed.

Since Julia Biddle a keen competitor and the owner of a number of international rider John Renwick’s horses, bought the centre in June 2000, there has been continuous improvement and she now feels that the time is right to upgrade the facilitiesin a major way.

“My main aim is to look after my regular clients,” she said. “I’m not trying to move into the top league in terms of show jumping or dressage.”

The centre has performed at the profit level Julia had hoped for, and she promises that any future gains will be reinvested. Already in place are plans to run a second arena on grass in 2003 and a reseeded field has been put aside for this purpose. This will complement the existing all-weather surface.

Meanwhile, the finishing touches are being made to expanding the canteen area seating, and a new kitchen has been built.

Already constructed is an overhead VIP viewing lounge, while new heating has been installed to help spectators through the winter months.

p>

Read more show jumping news and reports in this week’s Horse & Hound (28 November), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

  • Click here to visit HHO’s show dates section and plan your winter competions.