British Open riders speak out over arena surface

  • This year’s British Open Show Jumping Championship has been marred by the going, with a number of top riders expressing their concerns about the conditions.

    Reigning British Open Champion Jessica Kurten won the second leg of the British Open competition yesterday on Quibell, but was considering withdraw the mare from the rest of the competition.

    “I’m not sure I’ll jump Quibell again because of the ground,” said Jessica. “She’s only just come back after six months off. These are expensive horses we are competing; good ground is very important.”

    Nick Skelton produced an outstanding performance from Russel to win the Accumulator class, but was scathing about the going after the class: “I’ve got one word to say [about the going] — crap.”

    The surface has been provided by Equestrian Surfaces, who have an ongoing contract with Grandstand, organisers of the British Open Show Jumping Championships and the Horse of the Year Show.

    Mark Wein of Grandstand told Horse & Hound: “We are just as frustrated as the riders are. But when you have got 640tonnes of surface down you can’t just rip it up and replace it mid show.

    “We have got a long term contract with Equestrian Surfaces and to start with the surfaces were fine. We will be meeting with senior members of the company as soon as they are back in the country.

    “To give the Equestrian Surfaces staff their due, they have worked every night on the arena, watering it, adding more fibre and rolling it to try and produce the best surface they can.

    “We have had some terrific jumping so far and we will continue to work on the going as the show goes on.”

    Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full report from the British Open in next Thursday’s magazine.

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