Equestrian arena build under way

Deb Smith, her daughter Claire and horse Hennessy are excited for their new equestrian arena to...
Deb Smith, her daughter Claire and horse Hennessy are excited for their new equestrian arena to be completed. PHOTO: NIC DUFF
There will be no horsing around with a new equestrian arena being built in Pukeuri.

Deb Smith and her daughter Claire moved down from Mid Canterbury last year with the dream of building their own arena.

The 4ha property on State Highway 1 was perfect to fit the arena.

They have named it Clandeb Equestrian Park, after the business that Mrs Smith’s daughter ran in Mid Canterbury, Clandeb Performance Horses.

The structure is 65m in length, 35m wide and took a "massive feat of engineering" to build with no structural support on the interior, Mrs Smith said.

"There’s only a couple of companies in New Zealand that can do that sort of size.

"It’s big enough to fit a full showjumping course. It’s big enough to run barrel racing and reining."

They still need to re-lay the surface to make it safer for the horses and she hoped to add lighting as well.

Mrs Smith did not have a date she was hoping to have it finished by.

"The company that built this told me I’d have it by July of last year and here we are nearly July this year. No time frames on anything, I’ve learned patience and humility through this process."

It is fully self-funded and has cost about $450,000 so far.

In the grand scheme of things, it was a bit of bargain as a fully enclosed arena with a solid roof would cost about $2million.

"I’ll just be paying for it until the day I die," she joked.

"It’s a bit of a risk and it’s a little bit scary at times to think I’ve done this but hopefully it’ll be really positively received."

Mrs Smith hoped to share the arena with the North Otago horsing community.

"We’re actually trying to do a good thing. Our heart is in the right place.

"Wherever we can give back and wherever we can help, we’d love to. It’s too big of an asset for just us on our own.

"If anyone wants to come and talk horses with us, we’ll happily do that. If anyone wants to come and ride with us in it, we’re happy to do that too."

The "ultimate dream" would be to host large-scale events at the arena, but the resource consents she has, are only for private use at this stage, Mrs Smith said.

"Hopefully one day we can do things like [host events] but in the meantime it’s just for private use and for friends and family to join us and have some fun."