A new “world class” horse riding centre is set to open in the north east of Scotland.
Bogenraith Equestrian Centre is creating a new “one-stop shop” for equestrian sport in Durris, Aberdeenshire, to attract more riders to the region and keep local talent.
Many riders in the north are forced to undertake long journeys south to bigger purpose-built venues.
Once complete, the venue will have a state-of-the-art cross-country course, show jumping, and dressage arenas designed to hold competitions at grass roots level right through to those at an affiliated level.
The idea for the centre came after its owner, 50-year-old Marion Dreelan, took up the sport six years ago and began to realise the miles required to compete.
She said: “We decided that Scotland was missing something on this scale and particularly Aberdeenshire where we have a high turnover of horses and upcoming riders but not the facilities to help them.
“We also wanted to stop people driving six or seven hours and become a one stop shop for your competitions and training and hopefully this will attract more riders and trainers to the area too.”
Ros Canter is the first of the internationally renowned trainers to come to the centre since opening.
The 2018 World Eventing Champion has been teaching local riders, who are keen to learn from her expertise.
She said: “Talent can come from anywhere. If you can get the right trainers into the right places then you access the riders at a lower level that have that talent for the future.
“For trainers like me this is perfect, it’s easy to get to and it’s all indoors for our teaching.”
The number of Scottish eventing fixtures has dropped in recent years.
Floors Castle in Kelso and Glamis Castle are amongst the latest venues that announced they wouldn’t run horse trials this year due to the cost.
John White from British Eventing Scotland said new centres like Bogenraith are very welcome.
He said: “The cost of living crisis has meant it become more expensive for competitors to travel, so I think we need to look at bringing events closer to riders.
“This facility is wonderful, and we’d encourage its owners to press on, we’d like to see more events up in the north east of Scotland.”
Daniel Scott, 31, is a professional rider based in Fife and said the new facilities bring a unique opportunity for riders to train and compete.
He added: “Our season begins in March and then on weekends will spend six to seven hours on the road to get to a competition. You have to be committed and comfortable in the horse lorry.
“Scotland and Aberdeen are very lucky to have this, and I think it will encourage young riders and put a lot back into the area.”
Orcadian rider Katherine Wood is no stranger to travelling long distances.
She and her 12-year-old sport horse Jock marked up 7,000 miles travelling to competitions last year.
She said having purpose-built facilities in the north east will help her goal of competing at the Badminton Horse Trials in 2025.
The 22-year-old said: “We take the ferry down to Aberdeen which is about seven hours and then drive from there which is sometimes hours to get to an event.
“But this was easy for us, we got off the ferry and it’s half an hour away, it’s fantastic.”
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