Middleburg, VA — Last week marked the kick-off of the 46th annual Menlo Charity Horse Show in Atherton, CA. Hundreds of competitors from all over the country, amateurs to professionals, come to ride for top honors in this historic venue never knowing that five short days before the show began, the warm up ring wasn't even there.
One of only a dozen horse shows in the United States (out of 2,600) to earn the prestigious designation of a Heritage Competition from the U.S. Equestrian Federation, the Menlo Charity Horse Show has gone from a small-town fundraiser to a world-class, AA-rated hunter/jumper competition with a waiting list of riders vying to compete.
Over the years, the Menlo Circus Club, one of the most exclusive private clubs in the country, generously opens its doors to the public for the show. The Menlo Circus Club is one of the few social clubs in Northern California with a premiere equestrian facility located on its grounds. Two of the three competition rings and the warm ups are located on the polo field.
Through the years, the polo field has taken a beating from the heavy use over the span of the show's ten day run. The show's organizers knew that this had to change in order to give their competitors a world-class venue. The idea was presented to install a temporary warm up area to be removed afterwards. The footing would be trucked in and taken away, leaving the polo field in good shape for the season ahead.
The first installments worked to a point but needed refinement. But it still wasn't the answer till the show's organizer Liz Crowell decided to call in the expertise of Nick Attwood of Attwood Equestrian Surfaces.
"We needed to create a surface that would be a fabulous warm up for the jumping, that would leave the polo field in near perfect shape. The first footing we put in there was some unevenness and slipping. What we really needed was Attwood's knowledge," said the organizer.
Five days before the first horse would step into the ring, Nick Attwood and his team started work creating the warm up area. The process required laying down 5,000 interlocking mats to create a base for the footing. Then 800 tons of footing was mixed to exacting specifications and trucked to the polo field. Then for the next two weeks the footing was tended to on an hourly basis so it would be as perfect as possible from day one to day ten.
"It's really something that we could turn such a large area into what you could call a pop up warm-up in just five days. And then return it to pristine condition when it was all done. I have to say its has been one of the more interesting challenges we've faced over the years." said Attwood.
This year the MCHS enjoyed a record turnout. The improvements to the warm up are just one of the myriad of reasons for the show's long-term success. The Menlo Charity Horse Show is the biggest fundraiser in the year for the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
For further information about Attwood Equestrian Surfaces, their products and services, please contact Andrew Camp at 888-461-7788. #whatmakesgoodfootinggood #MENLOW2017 #showjumpers #USEF #horsehour #attwoodequestrian