XC Schooling Area on Prepared Footing Examples?

Hey everyone! About a year ago, I discovered this video of the Loch Moy derby cross and fell in love with the concept. It’s been on my mind ever since. I love how the arenas are stringed together with banks and a ditch in between. The water complex is so cool!! I’m curious if anyone has seen these elsewhere: an XC schooling area on prepared footing spread out over some distance. I’ve seen single arenas with the derby style competition, but the space in the Loch Moy example really intrigues me.

I live in Seattle, where our eventing season only runs from May 15 to Oct 2. You may be able to school on the east (re: dry) side of the mountains in late March (3–4 hours away if the pass is open), but most of us don’t school until late April/early May. Our last school is in late Sept/early Oct. (I grew up riding in Area 3 so this is… a little painful :sweat_smile:) It doesn’t rain as much as people say, but it doesn’t get a chance to dry out either. The mud is a real thing, but the weather is pretty mild, all things winter considered. I think our area could benefit from something like this and looking into some research.

I board near Loch Moy and am very familiar with their set up. It’s 3 very large bluestone pads - to get from 1 to 2 you go along a short track, and from 2 to 3 you go down a steep hill or jump down a bank. They have a full set of portables that they use for their recognized (which go up to FEI level) and unrecognized competitions. The pads are used for SJ and dressage rings in competition season.
It is a great resource in winter, but it was a very big endeavor that grew over years. The last thing they added was the water and ditches in that one corner of the lowest pad.


Derbies on prepared footing are unheard of here in the land of three seasons of mud — Area 1. I imagine that would be a costly and enormous undertaking.

We have a good derbycross presence. Most of them are run on the same tract as proper events, some may go into stadium rings if they are unfenced but this is rare.

Horses are the ultimate four-wheelers. Don’t forget!

Just to clarify (and I was there this weekend as TD at their Starter Championship),I don’t think Loch Moy allows SCHOOLING over their Derbycross course. And they very rarely allow schooling over the competition cross country course. They have a separate cross country schooling area (on the other side of the ravine, next to the entrance to the facility) that is open most of the year, but that is on regular Area II dirt/grass footing.

The fancy footing is there because those arenas are normally used for multiple dressage arenas (they were running 4 this weekend, but sometimes have 5 or more) and for show jumping. When they expanded the lowest one a few years ago they added the water and drop, but I am pretty sure the derbycross was not the primary reason they expanded it.

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No, they do all winter.


There’s a few here in the UK and more are popping up.

e.g. Hickstead


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Yeah like @Highflyer1 said, once they have the portables moved to the arenas, they are open pretty much all winter for schooling unless there is a ton of ice or right before one of their derbys.


I was also going to suggest looking at some of these kind of things in the UK. I’ve seen some really lovely all-weather xc areas like this in sales horse videos. They have similar weather to the PNW but they seem to manage to school year round. Although I think they’re a lot less picky about footing than we are here in the states.

In theory, it’s a great idea, but it’s expensive enough to put in one nice arena. I can’t imagine how much it would cost to make a large enough area to do a full derbycross style event like this one!

Also, am I the only one that was bummed that “Sleigh Ride” wasn’t playing through the whole ride? It never would have crossed my mind, but now that I’ve heard it, it sounds like the perfect song for a Christmas-themed XC ride!

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Apple Knoll actually has one! They take out the dressage rings from the extra large outdoor in the fall/winter and set up their portables. I know there are banks, but not sure about ditches or water.

Love Loch Moy’s derby course! It is open all winter and they do an excellent job of treating the footing, dragging, etc to make it accessible all winter long.

The video shows a good representation of what it’s like. The banks (and a double bank) between the arenas are really fun.

Some horses get a little confused at the concept of leaving one arena to go to another- I’ve had several balk at the fence line but they figure it out eventually!


This is what I’m planning on building at my place in the future for XC schooling and derby type eventing shows. I’m in the planning stages now. I want a bigger sand area and a bank etc too so we can school in the spring and fall here.

These are screen shotted off FB for the reference, not me.

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Yes, as others have said, the bluestone rings at loch moy have a ton of portables put out over the winter and are open pretty much all the time for schooling.
The footing holds up really well but when it is wet it gets on EVERYTHING from horse legs to tack and hardens into cement if you don’t hose it off promptly.
Luckily the facility actually has wash stalls too… it is really a great resource.


You see these a ton in the UK and IRL.