Padise Equestrian Centre,
VENUE FOR THE FEI YOUNG HORSE ENDURANCE
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2023
A few months ago, Clean Endurance International visited Padise Equestrian Centre (EST) where the 2023 FEI Young Horse Endurance World Championships will be held.
We were curious to visit, as we had heard a lot on social media about this venue tucked away in one of the easternmost points of Europe. We had our own ideas about how we expected it would be, but the venue was totally different from what we had imagined.
Estonia was very easy to get to. We flew into Tallinn airport, which is a small airport, in the main town of Estonia. As a side note, it is well worth a stay in Tallinn even if it is just for a day or so, to see the amazing old town area which has some great architecture and some lovely restaurants if you have time.
We went by car to the endurance venue. It’s an easy drive of around an hour from Tallinn. The roads were well-maintained, and we passed through fields and forest areas.
The area was quite flat as it is near to the sea.
To get to the venue we left the road and passed onto a hard track suitable for vehicles, arriving at ample parking for cars and horse trucks, etc on one side, and the venue on the other.
One of the first things that we noticed was how well-maintained, spacious and sensibly laid out the venue was. It’s been designed to enable the officials to constantly see the horses at the venue.
The different areas are fenced and well-signed. The venue is designed to give the horses and riders the freedom to move around the site, whilst keeping the general public behind the fences.
On arrival the horses go to the stable area, the stables are wooden boxes, with security fencing around them. There were stewards at the entrance to the stables checking accreditation. More stabling can be added if needed with temporary boxes.
The Vet Gate
The vet gate is well laid out, with shade or shelter from the elements for the vet inspections. The trotting alleys were wide and of ample length.
Special care has been taken to give a good even surface for the horses to trot up on even though it is on grass.
Several small buildings for the officials and ride staff to use on the day of the competition are at the edge of the vet gate area.
There is a spacious warm-up area enabling the horses to prepare for the ride and for the officials to make any last-minute checks of the horses and riders. An additional emergency vet stable at the start/finish line has also been installed, enabling immediate vet treatment if needed.
The beginning of the course is very wide. Ideal for a large starting field without forcing the horses to be bunched up together.
The course was fairly flat which is not a surprise as it is near the coast, but what did surprise us was how varied the tracks were with sand in a range of depths, grass, road, and gravel.
It will take an alert rider to successfully navigate this course, which on first glance looks easy.
The slightly undulating tracks allow for smooth riding if the rider remains vigilant and focused.
Loop arrows/markers were large, well-placed, and easily visible from a good distance.
The crew points on course were ample and within guidelines.
The cooling area.
This area has been clearly built by someone who has really thought about the crews and horses because it is really well laid out for ease of access for the crews to work efficiently and the toilets are nearby for the crew and riders.
Many water points are available in the cooling area, which means the crews don’t have to walk too far or queue to refill buckets. This will assist the crews and increase the speed in which the crewing can be done.
There is ample space for the horses and crews here, without crowding each other.
In this area which leads onto the vet gate, the horses remain easily visible to the officials.
The Hold Area
Here we saw permanent open sided shelters so the horses can be shaded from the rain or sun whilst remaining visible to the stewards at all times between loops.
2 shelters exist already in this section of the venue and the OC are building more.
Water is available in several locations on both sides of the hold area, making crewing more efficient and less tiring.
The OC has really put time, thought and effort into the organisation of the site and ride loops that we saw.
We look forward to seeing the FEI Young Horse World Championship here in 2023.