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Fernhill Equestrian Centre's new all-weather arena


About the client

A premier equestrian facility, Fernhill is home to many of Australia's champion horses, both in racing and show jumping.

Greg and Tom McDermott both have strong equestrian and racing backgrounds.  Greg represented Australia at the Seoul Olympics, the 1990 World Cup final in Germany, and was selected for the 1990 World Equestrian Games; upon retirement from showjumping, Greg took up racehorse training, breaking in and pre-training.  

Tom’s equestrian career began when, aged 12, he won the Australian Junior Showjumping Championships, before going on to win Australian Young Rider Showjumping Championships.  At 18, Tom won his first Australian Senior Championship and Young Rider Championship in the same year; Tom's the youngest rider in the world to win a World Cup Showjumping championship, and was also awarded the FEI Rising Star Award in 2012.

The challenge

Initially, we were engaged by the McDermott’s to improve the drainage on their existing arena, and to revamp the sand surface – reducing the sand movement and slipping before and after jumps (in particular). Secondarily, the Peppertree Contracting team were tasked with increasing the size of the arena with minimal earthworks.

The solution

The team began by scraping back the sand from the entire arena as well as pulling back the surrounding, overgrown arena edges by 4-5m; then, separating the grass out of the mix. When this “surround sand” was combined with the existing arena sand, we had more than enough to work with.

Creating an edge to boarder/separate the new GeoPro + sand blend and the grass was next on the list; followed by laser levelling and compacting the entire arena based,which was now 5 to 7 metres wider around the whole arena.

To ensure the ideal GeoPro Footing blend for Fernhill, we then methodically combined the required mix of fibres with the existing sand, prior to spreading the new surface to a depth of 125mm over the whole arena.  The surface was then levelled again, watered,groomed and ready to ride on!

The McDermott’s were delighted that this whole process only took 4 days, and they’re thrilled with the result.  The Fernhill Equestrian team are now enjoying the benefits of their decidedly bigger, reduced maintenance, all-weather surface!

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