Riders in the east of England have welcomed the opening of a new equestrian centre.
Beechwood Equestrian Centre in Chelmsford, Essex, will host competitions across the disciplines as well as provide facility hire for groups and individuals.
The centre opened on Monday (12 October) and features a 60x25m indoor arena, a 60x30m outdoor arena, a viewing area and a restaurant.
The equestrian venue provides a much-needed boost for area, which recently lost two affiliated centres.
Patchetts Equestrian Centre in Hertfordshire, which hosted both British Dressage (BD) and British Showjumping (BS) events, closed earlier this year (3 August).
Norton Heath Equestrian Centre in Essex also recently lost its BD affiliation (news 16 April).
“There are a really high proportion of horsey people in the area but equestrian centres are few and far between. It’s a 45-minute drive to the next nearest centre,” Katie Venus-Bishop, who owns the centre with her husband Paul, told H&H.
“We’ve had lots of requests for BD and BS competitions as well as unaffiliated and league-type events.”
A cross-country training field is also planned for the centre, which features a dedicated horsebox/trailer entry and hardstanding car park.
Both arenas are installed with in and out gates and the centre is fully fenced and gated for horse security.
Essex-based Mrs Venus-Bishop lost her seven-year-old horse, Sligo Guy, in a road accident in 1998.
She has since wanted local riders to have access to off-road equestrian facilities.
“The original plan was just to just buy an arena but we lost so many facilities in the area we felt there was a need for more,” she said.
“A bridleway will be made down the side of the centre to link in with existing local bridleways so people can arrive through a safe network.”
For more information on the centre located within the Wheatsheaf Centre, Main Road, Rettendon Common, visit: www.facebook.com/beechwoodec?fref=ts