‘In it for the long haul’: new team sets out vision for major show centre

  • The new team at Addington Equestrian is poised for and looking forward to the return of competition – and is “in it for the long haul”.

    A new lease has been taken out on the Buckinghamshire show centre, which had hosted significant showjumping and dressage events but has been closed since the Covid pandemic hit.

    Addington director of sport Alan Beaumont told H&H the plan had been to start competition again next spring but this has now been brought forward, so the first events will be British Showjumping (BS) training shows over the winter.

    “We’ll have two training shows a month, then a three-day BS show every month from January to March, with a really good grand prix and exciting prize money,” he said.

    “And slowly but surely, we’ll be announcing other people who are coming to us; there will be a lot of familiar faces coming back.”

    Competition will be across disciplines; Mr Beaumont has confirmed that the Sport Horse Breeding (GB) national hunter supreme championship show will run at Addington next August.

    “We’ve got some big announcements to come for dressage, we’ve announced showing, and we’re working with British Eventing to see how we can bring them in through some of their different series,” he said.

    The centre has benefited from improvements, Mr Beaumont said, adding: “We’re not coming in spending millions but it’s spending hopefully in the right places.

    “The main outdoor arena, which we’re calling the Manor International Arena, has had a new surface, and will have a new judges’ box, and one of the four outdoor arenas has had a new Andrews Bowen surface and is nearly twice as big, so we’ll have a second major outdoor arena, or a really big collecting ring.

    “Inside, the surfaces were relatively new but we’ve worked them so they’re in good condition, and there’s new lighting and a new restaurant and bar.”

    Mr Beaumont was director of sport at the Scope Festival, then at Bolesworth and Liverpool, and had spent three years at Sentower Park in Belgium when the Addington Equestrian opportunity came up.

    “It’s a nice challenge,” he said. “I know the venue; I competed here, and thought it was a good project.”

    He added that of course, any venture such as this has to be financially successful, and he wants to host top-level competition, but that “it’s a centre for all levels and types of the sport”. In showjumping, for example, the aim is to run classes from 90cm upwards.

    “We’re working within the governing bodies’ frameworks and structures, to do our little bit to contribute to sending teams abroad,” Mr Beaumont said.

    “The lease on Addington is for in excess of 20 years, so we’re in this for the long haul.”

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