SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials 2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19
Established in 1990, the Blenheim Palace Horse Trials is one of the most prestigious events in the equestrian calendar. Sadly, this year’s event, which was due to take place between 17th – 20th September at the historic landmark, has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
On 27th April, the organising team of the event announced: “Having considered all options, following the government’s latest comments over potential future social distancing restrictions, it is with huge regret that [we] write to advise you that the Organisers – British Eventing and Blenheim Estate, in conjunction with our title sponsor SsangYong Motors UK – have taken the difficult decision not to run the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials in 2020.
“Clearly Coronavirus has impacted on everyone’s lives and, whilst we are massively disappointed not to be able to put on the showcase event that we have been planning and preparing, the longer term health and safety of the public, competitors, exhibitors, volunteers, officials and staff; sustainability of the sport and those who support us is paramount.”
Adding that they hope to welcome visitors and competitors back to Blenheim Estate next year, their official statement continued: “We would like to thank all of our competitors, sponsors, exhibitors, officials and volunteers, and all who support us in any way, for [your] understanding and ongoing commitment to the event and sport, and we hope to see you all back at Blenheim in 2021.”
Reflecting on the news, Equestrian Surfaces Head of Sales, Alex Goldsack, said: “It’s very sad. We were involved with the event last year as exhibitors, and sponsors for the road crossings. I was also involved personally, as my daughter rode in the four-star. It’s a stunning event and I know everyone in the eventing world is very sad to hear this news, especially considering it has come so soon before the event was due to take place. I suppose it’s yet another example of the impact of the COVID-19 virus. I hope that we’ll win our battle against it, and that the world will be able to bounce back again soon.”
The Equestrian Surfaces team would like to express their condolences to the family of Liz Edgar, international showjumping champion and committed ambassador for the sport.
After her recent passing at the age of 76 following a short battle with cancer, Liz Edgar will be fondly remembered for her record five Queen Elizabeth Cup wins, her success as a showjumper, and the incredible impact she made upon the sport.
Liz’s passion for her sport began at a very early age. After beginning her career with her first jump at the age of 12 at the Horse of the Year Show, Liz soon found international success, representing Great Britain in esteemed championships and at a number of Nation Cups, before going on to become the first woman ever to win the five-star Aachen Grand Prix on Everest Forever.
In 1965, she married international showjumper Ted Edgar, and together they ran their equestrian business from their farm in Leek Wootton, Warwickshire. After Ted sadly passed in 2018, Liz had continued with the management of the business alongside their daughter, Marie.
Spending almost 25 years as a member of the executive British Showjumping board, and acting as Vice Chairman for eight years, Liz was a highly respected figure within the discipline, who was regularly admired for the fluency and accuracy in her riding, and she will be dearly missed.
A spokesman from British Showjumping told Horse & Hound Magazine: “Liz was known not only for her competitive spirit and incredible talent, but also for her very stylish and classical way of riding.”
Iain Graham, British Showjumping’s Chief Executive, added: “We will miss Liz greatly. She was an incredible competitor who put showjumping on the map for many.”
Widely regarded as a lady of principle and dignity, Liz Edgar was fiercely dedicated to her sport and has been established as an inspiration to many. The equestrian world has lost a true legend, one who will be remembered always for her commitment, talent and incredible achievements in showjumping.
In light of the recent advice issued by the government regarding social distancing and staying at home amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association (BFBA), in liaison with BEVA, The Horse Trust, and World Horse Welfare, have released guidance for registered farriers to ensure that horses can continue to be cared for properly whilst we all adhere to social distancing guidelines.
At the end of March, the Farrier’s Registration Council confirmed its agreeance with DEFRA’s judgement of farriery work being considered essential during this troubling time, allowing farriers to continue practising whilst respecting the restrictions that are currently in place.
The BFBA have advised that all non-essential travel should be avoided where possible, and have broken their guidance down into a colour-coded system:
Circumstances under this bracket are deemed non-crucial, and so a farrier should not make plans to attend an appointment. These circumstances will be applicable to horses whose hoof care cycles can be easily extended or adjusted without causing any long-term detrimental effects.
Amber is applied to those circumstances where the timing of regular hoof care appointments is an important factor contributing to maintaining soundness. It should be noted that farriers should consider the possibility of extending the time between appointments, as long as such an adjustment to the hoof care schedule would not lead to a horse falling into the ‘Red’ category.
Red is applied to situations where hoof care is considered absolutely crucial, i.e. in cases where to not attend a regular appointment would lead to serious detrimental effects for the horse, causing discomfort and pain. This also includes the care of foals.
What should I do if I need to make an appointment with my farrier?
Firstly, you should contact your farrier and discuss the current condition of your horse in order to determine whether or not an appointment is absolutely essential.
If your circumstances fall under the ‘Red’ category of the new evaluation system, you should look to arrange an appointment with your farrier at a time when it will be most convenient for both parties. It’s also vital that you advise your farrier if you have recently been ill, or if you have been in contact with anyone who is or has been ill.
In present circumstances, all horse owners are advised not to be in attendance at any appointment, whether farriery, veterinary, or otherwise. Instead, you should tie your horse up and ensure it is secured, before moving away to a safe distance to allow the farrier or veterinarian to work.
An update on our services in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the cancellation and/or postponement of many equestrian events throughout the calendar, we have been asked by a number of private clients whether or not we are still able to carry out works to the arenas they have at home, as many horses will be grounded and being kept in work on clients’ private yards, until restrictions are lifted.
As the work we do is quite solitary and allows for our ground workers to keep social distance from clients, and even from one another within their own teams, we would like to assure our customers that we will still be able to carry out any required works and installations at this present time.
For more advice and guidance on how best to protect the welfare of your horse during the COVID-19 outbreak, please click here, or contact the team on 01282 834970 if you have any queries.
Modern day horse sport is one of the most popular sports enjoyed across the world and, in every discipline, the heritage is rich and its practices are steeped in tradition. When considering the origins of equestrian sport, it’s possible to trace a line of progression in common riding-related customs throughout the centuries, many of which are still applied to the sport today.
They’re customs now, but where did they come from?
Many riding customs we now adopt were first applied to military practices for the safety and practicality of mounted troops. For example, traditionally a soldier’s sword would be carried in a scabbard on the left-hand side of his body, leading riders to mount from the left and carry the bight of the reins on the right-hand side. The horse’s mane would also lay to the right to ensure it wasn’t caught when a solider drew or sheathed his weapon. The sword may have been left in the hands of the soldier, but his basic practices have been carried forward to modern day equestrian sport.
Where did dressage start?
Practicality can also be credited with the evolution of classic dressage. Athenian general, historian and author Xenophon observed the natural movements (collection, pirouettes and lateral motion) of horses as they moved freely in a herd. After his findings were documented in a book titled On Horsemanship in around 360 BC, it was decided that these evasive manoeuvres could provide a distinct advantage on the battlefield if it was possible to train the cavalry horses. Later, the ability to carry out such manoeuvres was developed into a sport by civilians, who retained the focus on the classical principles of lightness and impulsion.
Where did show jumping start?
We can trace the origins of show jumping back to the late 19th century. When the Inclosure Acts were put into place, they presented new challenges to hunters who followed fox hounds. Enforcing a law which brought about fencing and boundaries to many parts of the country, hunting foxes now involved jumping over these obstacles if there was any aim to travel across greater distances.
In early French horse shows, competitors would set off across a landscape and jump over the fences, but this never really took off as a spectator sport as audiences weren’t able to follow and watch. Before long, fences began to appear in the arenas for jumping competitors, and the competitions themselves were labelled Lepping. In 1869, ‘horse leaping’ came into prominence at Dublin Horse Show, and fifteen years later the sport travelled across the Celtic sea and was introduced to Britain. By 1900, most of the bigger horse shows had Lepping classes, as well as classes for ladies who rode side-saddle.
The first major show jumping competition in England was held at Olympiain 1907, before the sport appeared in its current format five years later. The 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, were a landmark event in the world of equestrian sport, where horses and riders competed to perform a “military test” which combined aspects of all three riding disciplines; what we now know as jumping, dressage and eventing.
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Teaming up with the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show 2019
We’re celebrating! Equestrian Surfaces Ltd is pleased to have been selected as the official surface supplier for the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show 2019.
Returning to the M&S Bank Arena this December, the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious events in the equestrian calendar. Playing host to a whole programme of competitions and performances, the show is set to offer world-class equestrian action alongside unrivalled entertainment to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Taking place between 28th-31st December, the show promises to offer horse-lovers and riders of the UK the best way to see in the New Year with the family.
2019 welcomes two brand-new acts to the arena, both of which provide an exciting visual spectacle and an awe-inspiring show. With live music acts, LED trail bikes complete with dancing Tron Girls, an indoor shopping village and champagne bar, a kids’ zone and a host of restaurants all under one roof, this year’s show promises to be the best one yet!
Find out more about what’s on at the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show here.
Equestrian Surfaces Ltd will be supplying 900 tonnes of Cushion Track Premier for some of the world’s highest-ranked show jumpers and riders to compete on, as well as surfacing the warm-up and lunge pens backstage for use during their stay in the city.
Come and see us in the shopping village, where our team will be on-hand at the trade stand to chat through any ideas you may have for a future project.
Equestrian Surfaces Ltd are pleased to have retained ISO 9001 Accredited status!
Following a recent surveillance visit, a lead assessor found that our system continues to meet ISO 9001 standards for the manufacture, supply and installation of all-weather riding surfaces for equestrian use.
Achieving this accreditation means that our products and services have met the requirements for surface manufacture within the industry, guaranteeing the best quality of surface for our customers.
What is ISO 9001 certification?
ISO 9001 sets the international standards against which all quality management systems (QMS) are measured. Outlining strict requirements, the certification provides proof of an organisation’s ability to meet customer and regulatory requirements and maintain consistency in the products and services that they offer.
About Equestrian Surfaces Ltd
At Equestrian Surfaces, we have always valued innovation and striven to remain at the forefront of the industry. In our 35 years of business, our product range has developed over time alongside the needs of horses and riders of all disciplines, and our passion for product innovation and development has made an impact on the surface industry.
Renowned across the world for both the range and the quality of the products on offer, we are the only company to manufacture our own equestrian surfaces in-house in the UK, with the capacity to ship and install worldwide.
Dedicated to maintaining consistency throughout all of our surfaces, we have invested in top-of-the-range computer systems which guarantee the highest degree of accuracy in the manufacturing process. Every grain of sand and thread of fibre that forms the content of each surface is meticulously monitored, offering very little room for variance or error and enabling us to have complete control over the content and quality of the final product.
From Equestrian Surfaces, you can expect a tailored service suited to your needs, preferences and budget.
All of our riding surfaces can be purchased on a supply-only basis, allowing you the freedom to manage your project in your own way. We have years of experience with working alongside independent contractors and will always be flexible where we can to help your project glide through to completion with as little hassle as possible.
We like to offer customers complete freedom over the logistics of their project. With this in mind, you can opt to have your materials delivered straight to your site, or you are welcome to arrange your own haulage service to collect your materials from our UK warehouse.
If your project involves the refurbishment of an existing arena or surface for renewed performance, our teams are on hand to ensure every stage of the process goes smoothly.
Whether you’d like to fit a brand-new surface or simply ‘top-up’ your existing surface with our highly-rated blend of silica sand and fibres, we can guarantee you will feel and notice a difference straight away.
With a vast portfolio of clients from around the globe, the installation teams at Equestrian Surfaces are both highly skilled and extremely professional, carrying out all work with accuracy and efficiency to the highest degree.
Contact us today to find out more about the range of products and services that we offer.
Brexit looms, and at present we’re not 100% sure about the particulars of how a no-deal Brexit will impact the way that goods are brought into and shipped out of the UK. However, if the recent reports from some of the UK’s main ports, such as Portsmouth and Dover, are to be believed, it looks to be almost certain that Brexit will have an impact on the way we trade goods with other countries.
Reports made by several news providers suggest that the post-Brexit chaos that most likely awaits us has already begun to affect the productivity and efficiency of our main ports, as well as impacting the towns and cities that surround them.
With more than 10,000 lorries passing through Dover each day, many already fear the lengthy delays that are anticipated for importers and exporters due to the new paperwork that will be required post-Brexit. After speaking with members of the public in Dover’s surrounding towns, The Guardian has reported fears of a massive increase in congestion, impacting hugely on the daily lives of local people who are bound to face delays in their daily commute. The public have also expressed worry for their smaller local businesses and the local economy as a whole, fearing that people will begin to avoid travelling into the town centres that surround the ports due to the traffic, and instead take their business elsewhere.
Despite some relatively minor plans having been put into place, with the district of Kent receiving £2.6m in funding to help with alleviating the stress at ports such as Dover and the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone, many believe that the only way to avoid such chaos at UK ports would be to refuse a no-deal Brexit and set some form of agreement in place with the EU for UK intercountry trade. However, in our current position, no one quite knows when or how we will be leaving the EU, and so preparations are being put into place for a worst-case scenario.
Another worry expressed by many is that the stress caused by these logistical issues at our ports will not only impact the lorry drivers and the companies they work for; as a result of all the delays they are almost certain to face, businesses will soon be forced to increase their prices in order to compensate, meaning the lives of consumers are likely to be impacted by the growing costs of imported products.
There is hope that as a result of all this, consumers will begin to reinvest in products that are made here on British soil. Without the threat of paperwork complications and increased waiting times at ports (some estimate delays of up to 2.5 days), British businesses whose products are “home-grown” will be able to retain their regular prices and keep existing customers happy, as well as have an increased potential for attracting new customers who may usually have invested their money in products from overseas.
Here at Equestrian Surfaces, each stage of the manufacturing and production process is managed in-house in Britain. The materials that form our surfaces are all sourced within the UK and transformed into high-quality riding surfaces in our Lancashire-based warehouse. Managing everything in-house in Britain allows us to avoid any complications surrounding the import of materials, allowing our customers the reassurance that our prices are unlikely to rise after the UK leaves the EU.
Looking to invest in a new quality riding surface for your arena or gallop? Get in touch today for a chat about your needs, and find out more about the surfaces and services we offer.
With so many surface options out there, it can sometimes be difficult to know which is right for you. Purchasing a new surface, arena or gallop is a big investment, and it’s important to do the research before you take the plunge.
We’ve compiled a brief buyer’s guide on waxed and non-waxed equestrian surfaces, which should shed light on some of the key differences and help you to make an informed decision.
Waxed surfaces are known for their versatility and ease of maintenance. The wax in their makeup offers a resistance to freezing in cold weather, whilst also reducing the need for irrigation during warmer spells.
Waxed surfaces are safe to use all year round, meaning you never have to miss a day of riding. Being unreliant on the weather, a waxed surface will offer the same level of performance day in, day out, making it the perfect option for professionals who rely on the use of their arena to earn a living.
Our waxed surfaces are made using multi-washed silica sand, environmentally-friendly synthetic stabilising fibres and wax, the quantity of which varies between each surface in the range.
Designed to be hard-wearing and durable, a waxed surface also provides superb support, good cushioning and exceptional energy return to keep your horse performing at optimum.
The waxed surface range features surfaces that are suitable for professional training centres, competition grounds and race tracks, as well as a selection that are suitable for leisure pursuits and private use.
Non-waxed (or dry) surfaces are slightly lower in cost, but do require more regular maintenance. Perfect for arenas in wetter climates, the non-waxed surface will need to be watered often in dry climates in order to maintain its structure and performance.
When investing in a non-waxed surface, the maintenance of the surface is quite a big commitment. However, dry surfaces do offer a great low-cost alternative without compromising on quality or performance.
Our range features seven synthetic surface options suitable for indoor and outdoor use in all weathers, for all disciplines.
We know how much of an investment a new surface is and understand that our customers want a surface which best suits their needs. With over 35 years in business, you can trust the experts at Equestrian Surfaces to help you select the best surface for you. Our team strive to provide the highest level of customer service, and will be more than happy to provide you with sound advice and guidance throughout the planning and construction process.
The surface that is perfect for you will be dependent upon a number of factors, including budget, purpose, and regularity of use. You can browse the surfaces in our range and read overviews of each on our website. However, should you require more information, the Equestrian Surfaces team will be able to provide reliable recommendations after establishing your specific circumstances and needs.
Our cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option for improved stability
When purchasing an equestrian surface, it’s important for you to feel that you’re investing in products and services that you can trust.
Follow the links to read overviews, testimonials and case studies of each of our surfaces, or call today on 01282 834970 for further information, sound advice and a service that is tailored to your requirements.
How arena surfaces affect your horse's performance
The arena surface you choose to ride on can impact not only the health of your horse, but also its performance. Different surfaces are better suited to different disciplines, so before you make the decision on which surface you’d like your horse to be working on, it’s important to understand the ways in which a surface can affect your horse.
In order to find out which is the best surface for your discipline and practices, you should consider the phases of footfall your horse will move through. Below we have highlighted the three key phases that occur when riding.
In the landing phase, the hoof comes to a stop as it makes contact with the ground, sliding forwards slightly into the surface as it does so. This movement and redistribution of weight causes compression between bones and joints in the leg. The impact of the landing itself causes shock waves to travel up the leg, and these waves of shock need to be evenly distributed in order to avoid a hard and harmful landing.
When in the loading phase, the whole hoof makes contact with the ground and is forced to carry the full weight of both the horse and the rider. A shock-absorbing effect is created by the fetlock, flexor tendons and suspensory, whilst an increased pressure accumulates under the frog, stimulating blood circulation through the hoof. The weight endured in the loading phase will fluctuate depending on the movements being carried out, such as when galloping or landing from a jump.
During the rollover/push-off phase, the heel rotates off the ground, rolling over the toe to push into the next stride.
The ideal surface will provide the perfect amount of support, allowing for efficient movement through the footfall phases. The surface should be shock-absorbent, minimizing concussion during landing, providing support during loading and returning energy back to the horse in preparation for the push-off.
The best equestrian surface will provide the perfect combination of firmness, cushioning, cupping, rebound and grip.
The firmness of the surface will affect the level of support it provides and the absorbance of shock through the leg during the landing phase. To find a surface with the ideal firmness, it needs to be one which is firm enough to provide support with minimal concussion, yet soft enough to aid in absorbing shock.
The cushioning factor should be determined by the level at which the surface can dampen the shock experienced by the horse as it comes into contact with the ground and moves into the loading phase. Ideally, the surface should provide enough resistance to allow for good balance, distributing shock down through the arena surface whilst returning some energy back to the horse and allowing for enough movement to move efficiently into the push-off phase.
During the loading phase, the hoof capsule expands. An increased pressure then accumulates under the frog, helping to supply blood to the structures in the hoof capsule. The hoof then contracts as the weight is released, encouraging blood to pump up the leg and through the body. The ideal surface should cup into the sole and collateral grooves of the frog to provide resistance, weight support and to aid with distributing and returning the force.
The rebound quality of a surface relates to its ability to return to its original form after impact, as well as its ability to return some of the energy from the impact back to the horse.
The ideal surface is one that is active and springy, returning energy at the same rate as it was applied and aiding the horse in gaining momentum without having to overwork.
The grip of a surface is determined by its tightness; how compact the surface is. The grip element of a surface aids in absorbing shock during the landing phase, as well as providing support and traction in turns and on push-off.
When landing, the surface needs to be loose enough to allow the hoof to slide and the ground to absorb the impact, yet compact enough to provide stability for the horse, without being so hard to cause concussion or provide a landing which is harsh on the bones and joints.
How Cushion Track Premier Impacts Your Horse
Our Cushion Track Premier is made from a unique blend washed silica sand and environmentally-approved synthetic fibres. With a higher wax content than any of our other surfaces, it provides the perfect levels of firmness, cushioning, cupping, rebound and grip in order to keep your horse healthy and performing at its best.
Cushion Track Premier has been installed in various venues across the UK, including Arena UK, Addington Manor, Chard Equestrian, Ingliston Equestrian and Vale View Equestrian. Ideal for showjumping and racing, it is also the surface used for the annual Scope Festival.
Charlie Mann, Racehorse Trainer at Lambourn, reviewed our Cushion Track Premier:
“Since installing Cushion Track Premier in 2006, the surface has become widely known as the best surface in Lambourn. Younger horses can work for longer without soreness, and we are able to use it 365 days of the year.”
How Sound Track Impacts Your Horse
After three years of research alongside gait analysis expert, Russel Guire, from Centaur Biomechanics, Sound Track is our most recently-developed surface.
Sound Track’s elite provision of comfort, shock absorbance, support and energy return has led to the surface becoming renowned for promoting soundness in horses. Firmly endorsed by Kingswood Equestrian, Moody Dressage, Simon Constable Vets, Hughes Dressage and Astrid Bolton Sport Horses, our Sound Track surface helps to prevent lower-limb injuries and has been designed with the welfare of your horse in mind.
How Economy Track Impacts Your Horse
A dry, all-weather surface, our Economy Track consists of environmentally-approved stabilising fibres blended with a multi-washed silica sand and boasts all the advantages of a pre-mixed surface supplied at an economical price.
The unique blend of materials used for the Economy Track ensures it is suitable for use in all weather conditions and is particularly favourable in areas with dry weather as the surface has an excellent capacity for water retention, meaning there is less irrigation than with some other dry surfaces.
Taking the time to understand more about what you require from your equestrian surface is essential. Our team of experts is always available to provide you with all the information and support you might need. Get in touch today to discuss the various surfaces we offer.
Here at Equestrian Surfaces Ltd, we are celebrating a big birthday milestone. Now with 35 years of experience in the trade, we are so happy to see that customers still rely on us for top-quality riding surfaces, impressive arena instalments and excellent service, and we’re now seeking to improve customer experiences by undertaking a rebrand!
For many years, Equestrian Surfaces Ltd has been the number one choice for elite riding schools, racecourses and arenas. The surfaces we produce, along with the arena excavation, irrigation and construction services that we offer, are considered amongst the best in the world. Amongst our portfolio are racecourses and arenas built for royalty, as well as champion trainers and prestigious private customers, and as a British business we are proud to be accredited by both the British Horseracing Authority and the Environmental Agency.
Since our business was established in 1984, we’ve remained at the forefront of modern equestrian surface technology. Over the years we have stayed conscious of the ever-developing market and have ensured that our products and services have adapted over time alongside the needs of riders and trainers.
We are now working with marketing and design agency Root Fifty-Two to develop and enhance our brand, website and social media with the aim to tell the story of our business as we reach this incredible milestone and look to the future.
Heritage and quality are two factors that mean a great deal to us, and we’re excited to incorporate both into our new look.
Moving from a rather bland, utilitarian website, our new site promises to be more attractive and user-friendly, displaying exciting case studies from around the world and providing easy-to-digest information on riding surfaces, arenas, gallops, construction and maintenance.
We’re excited to increase our social media presence, sharing our achievements and making information about our products and what we do more accessible to a wider audience.
At Equestrian Surfaces Ltd, we are enthusiastic to celebrate the successes that have brought us to where we are and we look forward to making changes and modernising in order to see our reputation upheld for the future.