A SCHOOL in Ryedale has a new outdoor equestrian arena.

Last month, British Eventing’s high performance coach Christopher Bartle opened Ampleforth College’s new waxed sand/fibre 60m by 40m outdoor arena, which was installed by local company Hymas Arenas.

The new facility, which includes dressage and show jump facilities, will enhance the opportunities for day pupils to train and prepare for the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) and other events.

The opening of the arena,

which was blessed by Fr Ambrose, was overseen by head teacher Deirdre Rowe. In her opening speech she cited a quote from Allan Hamilton saying that horses are “divine mirrors”, as they reflect back the emotions you put in.

Following the opening, Mr Bartle gave a couple of masterclasses to students. Watched by the audience, Charlotte Armitage gave a dressage demonstration and Louis Pern gave a showjumping display.

Eliz Cook, equestrian coordinator at the school who project managed the installation of the arena, said: “We are delighted with the new facility; Hymas Arenas have completed the arena to a very high standard, which incorporates a mounting block within the perimeter fence, and rounded corners, which encourages the rider to use all the space available to them.

“The installation of this new facility demonstrates the school’s commitment to nurturing the confidence and competency of our equestrian teams.”

The college currently has riders representing the school in eventing, showjumping, dressage and jumping with style competitions. It has an up-and-coming eventing star in Issy Saxby, and a showjumping one-to-watch in Alex Verth.