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Greenwich surface for equestrian Olympic events approved

The arena surface to be used for the equestrian Olympic events has finally been approved – after two rounds of additional testing following criticism.

At the official test event in Greenwich Park showjumpers complained that the surface was “pudding-like”, “tacky” and “dense” (news, 14 July 2011).

And last year H&H reported showjumpers still found the surface “too heavy” after more tests in Birmingham in October.

The mix, which is supplied by Andrews Bowen, is composed of non-waxed sand, felt and fibre. Around 8,000 tons of surface are required for the arena and warm-up areas.

The final tests took place near Preston last month (20-21 December). And the FEI finally signed-off the surface last week.

Showjumper Geoff Billington and H&H dressage columnist Richard Davison tested the surface.

International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) representative John Whitaker and fellow showjumpers Peter Murphy and David McPherson were also there but not jumping.

A spokesman for Olympic organisers LOCOG added: “The IJRC was given the opportunity for John to ride on the surface but were happy he watched.”

The FEI’s Ingmar de Vos said: “The riders gave some very positive feedback and this was backed up by the technical reports from the officials.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (19 December 2012)

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