A NEW equestrian arena has been unveiled at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire ahead of the venue hosting the prestigious British Showjumping National Championships for the first time next week.
The National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre (NAEC), which manages the event venue at Stoneleigh Park, has invested £250,000 in resurfacing an all-weather arena to London 2012 Olympic standard in time for the Championships.
The new surface has been installed by Andrews Bowen Ltd who installed the arenas for the London 2012 Olympics and is an extremely advanced surface specialised for equestrian competition.
The British Showjumping National Championships take place from next Tuesday (August 11) to Sunday (August 16) and will see world-class riders competing for coveted titles including the International Stairway League title and the chance to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show.
The Stoneleigh Horse Show, a brand new addition to the showing calendar, will run alongside the Championships.
Eight arenas, both outdoor and indoor and including the grand ring and the all-weather, will be in use during the Championships which is expected to attract up to 12,000 visitors over the six days, including approximately 4,000 competitors.
Tim Stockdale, one of the most well-known faces in British and world show jumping, will be among the competitors as ambassador of the Championships.
“We are delighted to have secured the British Showjumping Championships for five years and look forward to growing the event from its debut here to reflect its prestige within the equestrian community,” said Helena Pettit, managing director of the NAEC, Stoneleigh.
“The venue has undergone intense preparation to ensure it is the premium platform to host such a greatly anticipated event in the showjumping calendar.
“The resurfacing of the all-weather arena has been our biggest single investment in time for the Championships and will provide superior jumping ground for competitors.
“We will also be installing 600 temporary stables and a horse walk on site.”
The 2,600 ton resurfacing of the 120m by 110m all-weather arena is the latest investment by NAEC, Stoneleigh to improve the exhibition, conference and event facilities.
It follows the creation of a third exhibition hall earlier this year with plans to now improve the main entrance to exhibition halls within the Blackdown Centre.
Other major equine events to benefit from the improvements include the National Dressage Championships, The Pony Club Championships and Trailblazers Championships.
Colin Hooper, estates director at Stoneleigh Park, added: “Stoneleigh Park has a long association with the equine world and is proud to be greatly enhancing that heritage by hosting the British Showjumping National Championships and Stoneleigh Horse Show.”
Spectator admission to the British Showjumping National Championships and Stoneleigh Horse Show is free and parking will be charged at £10 per car.
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