Bicton Arena scoops prestigious national awards
Last year Bicton Arena staged Devon's first international horse trials which proved a popular addition to the eventing calendar, with many well-known riders competing, including several who rode at the European Championships.
Helen said: "The feedback we received following the event was very positive and it was wonderful to see so many well-known riders competing here."
Helen is a rider herself and has represented Great Britain at Junior and Young Rider level. In 2015, riding Eebay, she won the high jump, jumping 6ft1ins at Blenheim International Horse Trials. Using her experience she has been able to develop events that are in line with the demands of today's competitive rider.
She said: "The two international classes ran over courses which were separate from the novice and intermediate tracks, and often at competitions this is not the case, with the course virtually the same. I think the riders really appreciated this. The tracks were also educational and a lot of riders used Bicton as a stepping stone to Houghton International."
"We were also praised for the dressage arenas and for staging the showjumping in our main arena which gave horses the chance to compete in that sort of atmosphere."
Bicton Arena is also very active on social media, and has developed a large following. Helen said: "This is very much down to our arena assistant Beccy Barratt who is brilliant on social media. It's a very effective way of keeping competitors informed and it's fantastic that our efforts have been recognised."
There was more local success at the awards with Exeter's Miranda Collett named best event secretary of the year for her work at Bicton and Keith Watkins, who volunteers at both Bicton and Pontispool Equine Sports Centre, awarded Volunteer of the Year.
Helen said: "It was a super evening and lovely that Bicton Arena was recognised in so many difference ways. But Bicton Arena's success is very much down to the fantastic team we have who all work so hard to put the arena and Devon on the map. We are constantly evolving, and we constantly listen to what competitors want and that, we hope, encourages more people to head west for Devon."
You can follow Bicton Arena on Facebook and catch up with the latest tweets @BictonArena
View a PDF of this story here.