Perfection Sought for Footing at Takapoto
Excellence and Takapoto go hand in hand, so it is no surprise the Plaw family has pushed on to improve the footing in both competition and warm-up arenas. The three competition arenas have all had a major revamp, with a new warm-up arena in the same footing.
Takapoto principal Mitch Plaw says the venue can now cope with just about anything the weather may throw at it. “It will be interesting to see but everything has been 100% redone.”
There are two warm-up arenas in addition to the three competition arenas – each with its own set of German-imported jumps. The 150mx60m sand arena is brand new from the ground up, the surface of the grass arena was completely removed and rebuilt to ensure optimum footing and no puddling should it rain. “I believe we have done everything we can to provide a really good grass arena,” he says. “It blows me away how it looks now but I guess the proof will be in the pudding.”
The scheduling means classes will run alternately between the Bellevue Main Arena and APL Sand Arena 1 allowing competition to shift from one to the other if need be.
There are currently two big converted feed mixers churning 120-tonnes a day for the arena. It will take 30 days to complete the job.
“I am looking forward to hearing the feedback from riders on the footing,” says Mitch. “I am very driven to provide the best possible footing.”
Mitch and his team are taking things one step further with plans to put in a more economical arena at an offsite property and once happy with that, will make it available for others to replicate.
“When you think about it, you spend the least amount of time competing, then warming up, and a massive amount of time training at home. If footing and horse health and welfare is important then the most important arena is that one at home.”
Takapoto will provide others with the ‘recipe’ for the optimum surface or assist with the project. The physical sand and imported fibre blend will be identical to that used at Takapoto with a change to the infrastructure beneath it.