A $45,000 investment to improve the all-weather arena at the Gore A& P Showgrounds will benefit the entire town, Southern Equestrian Park trustees say.
The all-weather arena, which was covered in lime and washed sand, was installed at the showgrounds in 2010.
In October last year the first instalment of Treadlite, a recycled tyre product, was spread on half the 11,200sqm area.
The rest of the arena was covered in the product recently.
Trust chairwoman Marlene Parkinson and trustee Fiona Sharp said the new surface would bring more people to Gore for equestrian events.
“It gives people confidence to travel to Gore because riders, whether it be show jumping or dressage, want good facilities.
“If they are going to travel distance they want to know they are going to be competing on a superior surface,” Mrs Parkinson said.
Unlike some facilities in other parts of the country the arena had the advantage of being located in the town which meant people could walk to where they needed to go, Mrs Parkinson said.
“It’s just another asset for Gore,” Mrs Sharp said.
The trust had already noticed an increase in use of the arena since the Treadlite was laid.
Four dressage arenas and a warm-up area could fit in the area or two showjumping rings and a warm-up area.
The new surface had “shock-absorbing benefits” which would be easier on horses’ legs and feet, Mrs Sharp said.
“It saves wear and tear on their hooves and joints and it provides a much securer and safer surface to work the horses on or to jump them on.”
Previously the lime and sand mixture brought its own challenges.
“It’s worked well but the down side is when it gets too dry it gets too hard and dusty,” Mrs Parkinson said.
The new Treadlite surface does not get dusty but also copes with downpours and does not leave puddles.
Grants from the Mataura Licensing Trust ($20,000), Community Trust South ($10,000) and the trust ($15,000) paid for the upgrade.
The surface should need minimal maintenance for several years, Mrs Parkinson said.
“There will have to possibly be top-ups.”
Contractor Lachie Hutton volunteered his time and machinery to help spread the product and Gore District Council lent staff member Aaron Phillips to load the product into the spreader.