A BRAND new high-class equestrian facility has opened to the public at Duntisbourne Abbots.

Rectory Farm, just off the A417 dual carriageway between Cirencester and Cheltenham, now boasts a smart 80m x 50m all weather arena which is available to hire for training and competitions.

The facilities include a hard standing lorry park and picnic area.

The arena opened for business last week and has already attracted the attention of several top name riders, including eventers Paul Tapner and Neil Spratt.

Rectory Farm is managed by local eventer Jenna Jewitt, who lives onsite and teaches budding riders of all ages, as well as managing Rectory Farm’s busy livery yard.

“We’re really excited as there are no other facilities like this in the Cirencester area,” said Jenna.

“It has been planned for a long time and we are glad that we can finally open.”

The venue boasts the highest quality sand and fibre topping so it is ideal for jumping; it also has a brand new set of show jumps imported from Germany, which also supply Hartpury College. Jenna and her team have already planned several competitions and training clinics for the upcoming season.

“We will start by hosting small competitions and progress from there. We have also been lucky enough to secure the services of five top coaches who will be coming to Rectory Farm in July when we hold a series of clinics for riders of all abilities to attend.

“We have already hosted the VWH Hunt branch of the Pony Club and the arena is getting more and more booked up as time goes on.”

Riders can choose to receive private or group tuition in a number of classes with a selection of the country’s finest riders, including Badminton winner Paul Tapner, Great Britain chef d’equipe Richard Waygood MBE and top eventer Harry Meade. The clinics take place from July 16-18.

Rectory Farm will also be hosting its own unaffiliated dressage series, on evenings throughout the summer, starting from June 7.

The Rectory Farm dressage series will culminate in a championship final in September.

The arena is available for hire for £30 per hour for four horses and £5 per horse thereafter. For more details about the arena and the upcoming events please go to the website www.rectoryfarm.com.

INTERNATIONAL dressage rider Olivia Oakeley, a member of the World Class Start Programme, has secured a 12-month sponsorship deal with London-based stockbroking firm Old Park Lane Capital Plc+.

Nineteen-year-old Olivia who is now studying at Hartpury College, has regularly represented Great Britain since the age of 12 and has formed a formidable partnership with her top horse Donna Summer.

Michael Parnes, CEO of Old Park Lane Capital, said: “We are thrilled to assist such an ambitious and talented young rider.”

Olivia added: “I am delighted that Old Park Lane Capital Plc+ are prepared to sponsor me and I will do my utmost to ensure their investment in me gives them a good return.”

BEAUFORT Polo Club in Tetbury played host the 2012 Charity Polo Day in aid of national charity, the Willow Foundation at the weekend in glorious weather.

The event, now in its fourth year, showcased a 12-15 goal exhibition polo match with young England prospects.

Fundraising activities on the day raised more than £30,000 for the Willow Foundation – monies that will fund more special days for seriously ill young people in the South West and throughout the UK – providing quality of life for individuals and their families at the most difficult of times.

DEAN CLOSE School’s equestrian team have become National Schools Cross County Champions at the event held in Gawcott, Buckinghamshire on Easter Monday.

Every team member rode skilfully, completing the course in very testing conditions underfoot and all chose the large bonus fences to gain maximum points.

Five of the team went completely clear.

Winners: Dean Close Team 11 - Greg Hall, Philli Hall, Ollie Hall and James Norris.

Fourth place: Dean Close Team 1 - Ginny Troughton, Philli Hall, Maddie Millington-Drake and Caitlin Belsham.

Individual: 3rd James Norris; 4th Becca Maddern; 8th Ollie Hall.

ELSEWHERE, Dean Close pupil Tess Harwood achieved two fantastic results in an extremely high class Dressage Qualifier competition.

Fifteen-year-old Tess not only won the Restricted Advanced Medium Dressage at Abbey Dressage but came third on her other horse to qualify both horses for the National Winter Regionals.

The demanding competition saw her riding against adults, both amateur and professionals, so this was a huge win for a young teenager.

Head of Equestrian Activity at Dean Close, Paula Watson commented: “For one so young, Tess is holding her own and is up there with the seniors, some of whom are professionals. “To qualify on one horse is great but on two, is amazing.

“We all congratulate Tess who is dedicated to her sport but is also keeping up on her academic work and is determined to do extremely well in both.”