Keysoe International’s new multi-million pound all-weather cross-country facility, which was recently unveiled by eventers Laura Collett and Piggy March and presenter Sara Cox, is the first stage of an ambitious development of the equestrian venue.

The Bedfordshire setting is being transformed thanks to investment from owner, and businesswoman, Sarah Stoute. The aim is to develop the 700-acre site into a world leading training venue for riders and other athletes, and the new cross-country training facility is the first of these plans.

Future phases include an athlete development hub equipped with state-of-the-art gyms, rehabilitation suites, swimming pools and water treadmills for both equine and human athletes, media training facilities, along with extensive equestrian training arenas.

“Our vision for Keysoe is to take the centre to a world class facility for national and international athletes, to train here for all team and individual competitions,” said Sarah. “The aim of the centre is to be world class, starting with this new cross-country arena.

“We want it to be very inclusive, for all levels of rider, and it’s really important for us to have feedback from riders, with the right environment, the right facilities, so that we can keep progressing and keep bringing home those medals.”

Piggy described the unique cross-country facility and its impressive design.

“We don’t have many facilities around the country that has an all-weather training facility for the cross country like this does,” she said. “Not only is it all weather, but you’ll also see when you look around here it’s undulating as well. And it’s just incredible it’s been designed by Eric Winter.

“The jumps are a very high standard, and it will really benefit riders of all levels. But, for us personally, at a high level, it’s just incredible to be able to have this opportunity to come and train here.”

Laura applauded the inclusive nature of the new training offering.

“It’s a brilliant idea and concept to be able to come and train at such an amazing venue with so many options,” she said. “I think its really exciting that there’s an opportunity for grassroots riders, Pony Club riders, to come and training with some of the elite riders here, it gives them a real buzz and something to aspire to.”

Broadcaster and horse lover Sara was also enthused about the prospects for Keysoe.

“What’s really exciting about Keysoe is that it’s an equestrian place but it is going to in the future open up to all different athletes and all different sports,” she added. “I think equestrian sports are a little bit separate from different types of sports – from rugby, from football, from athletics, so what’s exciting is that these sports are going to come together because the facilities here are going to be some of the, well probably the best in the UK.”

To date, the new cross-country arena has hosted the Wesko Equestrian Foundation, along with members of the New Zealand, Irish and British teams all aiming for selection for this Paris Olympics this Summer.

Plans for the next phase of development are to be submitted later this summer. A schedule of coaching and individual access to the new Keysoe International cross-country facilities will be open in due course.

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