Cross-country boost for riders in Hertfordshire

  • Riders in Hertfordshire will benefit from increased cross-country facilities with the reopening of two cross-country courses in the coming fortnight.

    On Monday (25 May) the Great Westwood Equestrian Park reopens under new ownership.

    Great Westwood 4The park was sold by Rosie and Neil Thornton last year in three lots, with the main woodland and three quarters of the cross-country course area bought by David Sexton.

    The course has now been refurbished, the clay ground stone buried and wood chippings added to both takeoff and landings of the newly-sited fences.

    Jumps range from 25cm to 1.2m over routes from half a mile to 1.5 miles. The wet weather has hampered works on the 5mx8m water jump, but it is also expected to be ready for use in the next couple of weeks.

    Great Westwood 2“We’ve followed British Eventing (BE) advice and ensured all fences are properly secure,” said Barry Broadhurst, Great Westwood’s manager.

    Local British Horse Society instructor Petros Spiliopoulos has designed the fences in the 14-acre schooling field and will be running weekly clinics over the summer.

    “We are crying out for decent cross-country schooling in our area. It’s a fantastic new facility and really needed,” he told H&H.

    A manege will be installed at the end of the year, subject to planning permission to enable the park to run BE events.

    Meanwhile the Gaddesden Estate, about 20 miles from Great Westwood, reopens its eight-mile cross-country ride on 1 June.

    The course was shut in 2013 due to high insurance costs, but a more affordable premium has been negotiated.

    A dedicated maintenance man has been appointed to look after the cross-country course, horse-friendly catches put on gates and many of the jumps renewed.

    The 32 natural fences range in height from 2ft to 3ft3in and include a jumping complex in one field and a five-furlong gallop.

    “We are being supported by the BHS and over the summer will be running four park and ride events,” said a spokesman for the estate.

    For more details visit: Great Westwood Equestrian Park and www.gaddesdenestate.co.uk

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