Riders are being invited to train at Hickstead from this autumn, on new “top-class” cross-country facilities.
The additions to the venue, part of a £500,000 project, can be hired from October to May and include two arenas connected with an all-weather track, and around 60 cross-country type obstacles ranging from 80cm to 1.10m plus a water complex.
A Hickstead spokesman said: “Ring three has been transformed from a grass ring to a state-of-the-art Andrews Bowen surfaced arena, while adjoining ring four has been extended and now features a vast water complex.
“A number of leading eventing experts have assisted with the creation of these exciting new facilities including Badminton course-designer Eric Winter, who oversaw the plans for the initial project, and Olympic course-designer David Evans, who was consulted in the design of the course.”
The spokesman said the venue is “ideal” for grassroots riders, young and novice horses and those competing up to British Eventing novice level. Jumps will include a wide range of single fences and combinations with plenty of skinnies, corners and arrowheads. He added that the water complex is expected to be a “huge draw” with several options.
Showground manager William Bunn said this is “just the start”.
“We’ll be creating a large stock of additional fences that can be rotated in and out of the arena, allowing us to refresh the design and build new combinations according to riders’ demands – as well as increasing the height of some fences when event riders begin preparations for their spring events,” he said.
“We believe it’s going to be the biggest and best facility of its kind in the south east, and it is going to be of huge benefit for local riders. Not only will it draw eventers, it will also be a boost for riders from all disciplines and levels, who want to vary their horses’ routines, try something new or just come and have some fun.”
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The venue marked the launch by holding arena eventing classes at the All England Jumping Championships on Sunday (1 September) with eventers Gemma Tattersall, Francis Whittington and Emily King in attendance.
Gemma Tattersall said: “I am extremely excited about the new cross-country schooling facility at Hickstead. It’s so close to us so to have the option of coming here in the winter to train on an all-weather surface is beyond brilliant – what a great opportunity for all of us that live in the south.”
Riders can book online. One-hour sessions will cost £36 per horse and if three sessions are booked, the fourth is free. Hire is also available to riding clubs and branches of the Pony Club for clinics and competitions.
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