ONE of the most outstanding equestrian locations in the South East is Coombelands Equestrian at Pulborough, run by Gaye Harwood. Gaye has ensured that facilities she offers for riders on the Coombelands estate have kept pace with competitive needs by adding to the long standing cross country schooling course with other facilities over the years. There are more than 100 fences catering for all standards, plus show jumping schooling facilities, dressage arenas on grass and all weather gallops available for hire.
A number of One Day Events ,Hunter Trials and clinics are held throughout the year, as well as a British Eventing Horse Trials with classes from BE80 to Novice Standard in October each year. It is a testimony to the quality of facilities that one of the regular users is top British rider Scott Brash, with his team of horses.
Scott, whose yard is in West Sussex, has achieved major international successes with his top horse. Hello Sanctos, including an historic victory when taking the 2015 Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping with consecutive victories in the Geneva Rolex Grand Prix, Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen and the CN Grand Prix, all in 2015 and a feat never achieved before
This winter the Coombelands cross-country schooling field was closed to protect it in the very wet winter months but re-opened for 2016 on Sunday March 12. It has all the schooling fences needed to prepare a horse for first events, and has a range of all different types and heights of fences, from 70cm to 1.10m. These include corners, skinnies, angled combinations, water, steps and ditches. Unless there is some exceptionally dry weather fields for schooling will not be open until after one-day events begin in May.
Not only are there more than 100 fences, ranging from 2ft to 3ft 6ins to cater for all standards, open for most of the year, but there are show jumping, schooling facilities, dressage arenas on grass, and all weather gallops also available for hire. Recent investment has brought an all weather warm up arena to add to a main all-weather arena installed three years ago- and all facilities have stunning views across downland to the Sussex coast.
The main arena is used for well-supported clear round and show jumping events, with the subsequent addition of unaffiliated competitions to cater for other riders. Unaffiliated events encourage riders back into competition when they have been away from it for some time, enabling them to build up to affiliated events.
There is a warm-up arena, plus an area for very young riders coming off the lead rein, where they can also learn to go up and down small banks in a safe environment.
Horsham and District Riding Club has been using the facilities since the outset, with a regular hunter trial one day event and pony clubs also benefit from the facilities. To cater for the younger riders, Gaye has increased the number of Junior BEF Show at Coombelands.
A UK chasers course around the farm, which at 2,800 metres is the longest novice course for BE eventing and includes a section of the grass gallops, is another attraction. Horsham District Riding Club holds a hunter trial and team chase event there and top event riders including Tina Cook and Pippa Funnell use it to prepare their horses for an event.
A range of top clinics, hunter trials and a wide range of competitions is featured every year, giving all levels of riders the chance to use these outstanding facilities. Show Jumping events to look forward in the remainder of April include: Sunday April 10, Senior British Show Jumpint Category 2; Thursday April 14, Senior British Show Jumping Category 2; Sunday April 24, Unaffiliated Show Jumlping 60cm-90cm; Thursday April 28, Senior British Show Jumping Category 2.
For information on all events, see www.coombelands-equestrian.co.uk/events
In addition, top local equestrian photographers- LRGPhotography, are official photographers at Coombelands, recording riders of all levels in action.
See www.lrg-photography.co.uk for more information.