‘It’s great for riders and organisers’: major equestrian centre set to reopen

  • Newton Rigg Ltd has announced the re-opening of its equestrian facilities at Newton Rigg college in Penrith, Cumbria, following the college’s closure in 2021. The facilities make a welcome return, having been a prime show and training venue in the north for many years.

    The equestrian centre had been out of use since Newton Rigg college was closed last year by previous owners Askham Bryan college. Since then, Newton Rigg Ltd has been campaigning to retain use of the site and facilities for education, while also working to rebuild land-based education by offering a growing range of courses as Newton Rigg (NR) Training.

    The equestrian centre underwent major improvements between 2014 and 2015 and currently has a large outdoor arena, an indoor school with a seated viewing gallery and modern stabling.

    Newton Rigg Equestrian Training and Events, part of community organisation Newton Rigg Ltd, will provide training courses and facility hire for showing, showjumping and dressage events as well as mounted archery.

    Newton Rigg Ltd says this is a historic first step in the rejuvenation of activity and education at the Newton Rigg site, thanks to the “generous support” of the site’s new owners, who share their commitment to rebuilding land-based education in Cumbria.

    “The reopening of Newton Rigg’s fantastic equine facilities marks a pivotal moment for Cumbria,” said Professor Andy Cobb, chairman of Newton Rigg Ltd. “We are holding discussions about reopening other parts of the site for education, and believe that this step will be the first of many as our rural community works together to restore the educational provision at Newton Rigg for Cumbria and beyond.”

    Equestrian events will take place from 15 February, kicking off with BSPS Area 1B’s training day with showing producer and event rider Richard Telford.

    Debbie Wicks, who will be managing the services on offer, said: “I am thrilled to be able to help develop the equestrian facilities back at Newton Rigg. Our aim is to provide a top-class facility and we have the team to do that. The response to date on our social media has been phenomenal.”

    Ellen Jones, organiser of Sparket Equestrian Events and chairman of BSPS Area 1B, based her fixtures at Newton Rigg until the closure.

    “It’s great to be back and have the facilities for local organisers and riders to use,” she said. “It’s the ideal size for local shows, is close to the M6 and the layout means I am able to run my events very efficiently. Plus, it’s hard to find a smaller venue with an indoor arena. I’m very grateful to the venues who have hosted us in the meantime, but I’m delighted to be back with a roof over our heads.”

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