‘It’s hard to en­cour­age Bri­tish in­vestors’

Jay Halim on why Euro­pean shows are a bet­ter bet

Horse & Hound - - Show Jumping -

MOST shows in Bri­tain at this time of year are go­ing to be cold, wet and muddy — and Keysoe was cer­tainly that. But the great pos­i­tive about cen­tre owner Si­mon Bates is that he looks to the fu­ture. He has gravel ready to tidy up the car park and plan­ning per­mis­sion to build an in­door hos­pi­tal­ity area.

The staff at Keysoe are lovely. From the ladies on re­cep­tion to the cafe­te­ria and col­lect­ing ring, they are a great team and the shows have a won­der­ful at­mos­phere. My only cri­tique is that the in­door arena can seem gloomy, but Si­mon says he plans to top it with a lighter sur­face, which should hope­fully brighten it up.

The Bri­tish win­ter makes it hard to en­cour­age in­vestors into the sport and is one rea­son why rid­ers like me travel to shows in Europe, where our own­ers are catered for on an­other level.

CLEAN AND TIDY

I’M hop­ing to go to Lier in Bel­gium for a tour soon. At the mo­ment, I have a team of young horses, so it’s more about pro­duc­ing than com­pet­ing. How­ever, it will bring on the horses and give them a great ex­pe­ri­ence, mainly be­cause the cour­ses at Euro­pean shows of­fer such con­sis­tency. In Europe, young horses, for in­stance, usu­ally jump fig­ures of eight, with straight lines and noth­ing tricky. They seem to learn so much more that way. These venues also have beau­ti­ful, clean restau­rants and the sta­bles are im­mac­u­late. This means com­peti­tors re­spect the cen­tres and help keep them clean and tidy

Be­cause some venues in Bri­tain look tired, the com­peti­tors don’t seem to bother ei­ther. As these cen­tres and our na­tional sport are the rea­son Bri­tish Showjump­ing (BS) ex­ists, the big ques­tion in my mind now is whether BS is help­ing them enough.

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