Year round cross country schooling whatever the weather.

13:56 23 January 2014

Pontispool Equine Sports Centre near Taunton, Somerset, will no longer be held to ransom by the vagaries of the weather when its vast new all-weather arena officially opens at its first eventers’ challenge competition on February 1, writes Lucy Johnson.

Measuring two acres in total, the huge space has been created by joining two smaller arenas together and encompasses a range of permanent cross country fences including a water complex, ditches and a bank.

Owner Richard Mitford –Slade first put in action a plan to provide year round cross country schooling opportunities following the appalling weather of 2012 when dozens of competitions were lost to the weather including high profile events like Badminton Horse Trials and The Festival of British Eventing.

“We knew that potentially a large slice of our income could be lost if we had another very wet year as we would not be able to hire out our facilities so we decided to create a much bigger all-weather arena. This means that riders can now compete and school their horses over cross country fences whatever the weather,” said Richard.

Professional event rider Lucy Wiegersma, who will be building the courses at the eventer challenges, said: “I think it is a fantastic idea and it will be a huge bonus having such a great facility in the Westcountry. I’m very pleased to have been asked to design the courses at Pontispool as course building is an area I am very interested in. The whole idea is very innovative, and I believe there is only one other facility of this size in the country. The fences are very impressive, and gone are the days of only using portable fences in all-weather arenas.”

The move is already paying off following another very wet winter, and its first eventer challenge on February 1 is very well subscribed and the dates available for cross country schooling are already fully booked.

Richard said: “We didn’t actually believe we would ever have such a wet time as 2012, but we certainly have which further vindicates an investment of this scale.

“We are really looking forward to our first competition, which involves showjumping immediately followed by cross country.”

Parking for vehicles on a hard surface has also been increased thus ensuring Pontispool is fully equipped to become a year round training and competition venue, something that is becoming increasingly necessary in light of the prevailing weather conditions.


Other Sport Stories

Yesterday, 21:45
2015 World Endurance Championship.

Round 2. 

Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. 

30th April - 2nd May 2015. 

Photo: Drew Gibson.

Harry Tincknell goes in search of his first sportscar championship title in Portugal on Sunday (October 18).

Read more
Yesterday, 21:45
Honiton runners at the Studland Stampede

Several Honiton runners took a mini bus to Studland Beach in Dorset to take part in the Studland Stampede which is a seven-and-a-half mile off road run, writes Judy Davey.

Read more
Yesterday, 21:43
Swimming pool

More than 20 swimmers from Chard and District Swimming Club made the journey to Millfield School to compete in the ASA Somerset Development Meet, with a vast number of personal best and county qualifying times achieved, writes Paul Harrison.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:22
Martin Keep scores for Honiton 2nd XV with Joe Keep (11) in support

Honiton 2nd XV entertained South Molton on the second pitch and bolstered by a few late availabilities they started brightly and with a dominance in the three quarters they scored four tries in the first half, writes Paz Parrott.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:49
AVR athlete Graham Newton at the Mendip Muddle

Steve ‘Retro’ Reynolds and Geoff Woodward decided to have a go at the Glencoe Marathon last Sunday, writes Dave Mutter.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:10
Somerset Rebels versus Edinburgh Monarchs. The Somerset duo of Brady Kurtz and Rasmus Jensen battle it out with Edinburgh's Robert Branford and Erik Riss. Picture: COLIN BURNETT

The ‘Cases’ Somerset Rebels hopes of an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League Championship Grand Final came to an end on Sunday afternoon when they were defeated by the Glasgow Tigers 91-89 on aggregate, the Rebels taking the tie into a last heat decider at the Peugeot Ashfield Stadium before they finally lost out to the Tigers, writes Ian Belcher.

Read more
Sunday, October 11, 2015

Honiton Hornets recorded their biggest league success in the past decade with an emphatic 12-0 home win over Sidmouth and Ottery (SOHC) fourth team.

Read more
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Football flag. Ref exsp 7256-33-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Budleigh Salterton Reserves travelled to Upottery intent on gaining passage into the next round of the Firewatch Devon County Senior Cup last Saturday, writes SpursTom.

Read more
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Sophie Keech

Dorset golfer Sophie Keech is targeting a Ladies European tour card after deciding to turn professional on a hugely successful amateur career.

Read more
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Football generic picture

“O dear what can the matter be Uplyme have gone and locked up the referee!” is certainly not the usual way to launch a football report, but it actually happened when Millwey Rise FC visited their Devon Intermediate Cup opponents at Uplyme, writes Dick Sturch.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 9°C

min temp: 7°C

Most Read Sport

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Find a job in Devon

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

Find planning applications