All-weather derby on the cards as popular venue invests in huge new arena

  • A popular venue has installed another huge arena as part of an exciting expansion.

    The David Broome Event Centre opened its new 100m x 72m all-weather on Saturday (6 April), with competitors at its unaffiliated junior winter league finals the first to jump on the surface.

    “It is a really good size,” James Broome told H&H.

    “We can have two really good-sized normal rings and enough space for three if we need them. This time last year it was so wet we had to have three jumping arenas on our other arena, which is the same size [inside the fence]. Where this one is going to be different is we have probably 20% extra outside, which will be used for all-weather derby obstacles.”

    He added the centre is planning to build a derby bank, devil’s dyke and table in the new arena, to be ready in the coming weeks.

    Provided by Equestrian Surfaces Ltd, the NAF-sponsored Magic All Weather Arena features Ebb & Flow technology, which controls the moisture content of the surface.

    “This is a system we found about 18 years ago [when putting in the other arena] and it is all computer controlled,” said James.

    David Broome Event Centre

    “From using it on our existing arena, we know exactly what settings to use for dressage, jumping or carriage driving.”

    More projects are planned, with James adding the arena is a “catalyst” for a fairly major development of the existing facilities.

    “We are really lucky to enjoy huge loyalty from our riders, we have two [major] shows that sell out of stables before the schedules are approved,” he added.

    “It is a two-way relationship — trust builds trust. It is all to give something back to the riders and it is nice for people to see we are investing their money. It is nice for them to come back each year and see something new, whether it is a new toilet block or judges’ boxes; it is good to see progress.

    “We do try to invest what we can back into the venue.”

    James Broome Event Centre Wales and West Showground

    The new arena

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    The venue is also reviewing whether to develop some of their existing grass arenas to use the space “in other ways”.

    “We are always trying to do something; what this arena will mean is we can run a show with potentially four or five rings, all on a surface,” said James, meaning this will allow them to continue to run shows even when the weather is very wet.

    Somerford Park Farm in Cheshire is another venue to have recently put in a major investment in its facilities, with a new 120m x 75m outdoor.

    H&H has also covered significant investments by Blue Barn, Keysoe and Saddlesdane (news, 28 March).

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