The new Ecotrack arenas at Hamburg Horse Show (May 13-16) won widespread praise from riders and organisers, impressing with their ability to “act” in unpredictable weather as well as enhancing the surfaces’ energy-return. Following the successful introduction of Ecotrack for jumping warm-up at Hamburg last year, Martin Collins International (MCI) installed further dressage competition and warm-up surfaces for the 50th running of the Hamburg Dressage Derby this year.
Volker Wulff, managing director of EN GARDE Marketing GmbH, said the surfaces exceeded all expectations. “Everybody was very impressed and enthusiastic,” he said. “The surfaces received high praise by both dressage riders and show jumpers. Improving the jumping warm-up as well as both dressage arenas with Ecotrack has rounded off the facilities of the Hamburg Derby, and made it a true international class venue.”
“The surface conditions on the warm-up as well as the main ring were outstanding,” said German dressage rider Petra Wilm. “The horses felt very comfortable on them during the days.” Dressage Derby winner Falk Rosenbauer agreed: “I was enthusiastic about the surface, it was great to ride on all Derby days, despite the difficult weather conditions.”
German show jumper Christian Ahlmann said: “The surface is great. The horses feel very comfortable on it,” while Ireland’s Denis Lynch said the Ecotrack was: “Fantastic - couldn’t be any better!” Judy Anne Melchior of Belgium said: “My horse jumped well here, and I think it has a lot to do with the warm-up ground.”
EN GARDE chose Ecotrack for Hamburg following great references from many professional riders. Ecotrack was used for the 2009 European championships at Windsor, where it impressed Rodrigo Pessoa; he installed an Ecotrack canter track at his own centre in Belgium soon afterwards.
MCI has entered into a four-year collaboration with EN GARDE Marketing GmbH, which is expected to encompass other horse shows. Martin Collins commented: “We felt privileged to become involved with such a historic event as Hamburg and are obviously delighted to have delivered what the riders want. Hamburg’s global importance provides a great showcase for our surfaces as we continue to grow our business in continental Europe.”
About Ecotrack Waxed Surfaces
Martin Collins has been the UK market-leader in synthetic surfaces for 30 years, utilising “waxed” surfaces which comprise silica sand and fibres, blended with a wax coating. They provide superior energy-return, reduce the need for watering and can be manipulated using specialist equipment to optimise conditions for different disciplines.
MCI’s Ecotrack and Polytrack surfaces have been in regular use at leading UK shows for many years, including the London International Horse Show (Olympia), Hickstead and Windsor, where Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas achieved all three of their dressage kur world records in 2009. MCI is also the chosen surface supplier for the Youth Olympic Games 2010 in Singapore.
Laura Bechtolsheimer, the European silver and bronze dressage medallist, is a long-term user of MCI surfaces. She commented: “A good quality surface is hugely important when you are riding and training top class dressage horses. We train on a Martin Collins’ surface at home, and to compete at a venue on a Martin Collins surface gives me the confidence that we can perform to the best of our ability.”
Britain’s number one show jumper Ben Maher said: “Some other surfaces can often undermine a horse’s confidence. Show jumpers would describe a ‘dead’ surface as one when you don’t get a push off the floor. On Ecotrack you can place a horse better, the ground is level, they get the same feeling over a jump and the horse can do a better job.”
MCI has always striven to reproduce the equivalent of “good going” turf and the company’s research and development programme also embraces unique involvement in global horseracing – they have surfaced 15 of the world’s 27 all-weather racecourses, across four continents. The equestrian industry does not have a recognised technical standard for surfaces but the British Horseracing Authority does, and Martin Collins is among only four suppliers whose surfaces have passed its rigorous tests involving energy-return, toxicity and cohesion at temperatures from-10 to +40 deg C.
In the past few years MCI and its associate companies have cooperated with 90 other installations across continental Europe. These also include Berlin Horse Show, the Portuguese National Horse Fair, the Slovakian National Stud, Amadeus Horse Indoors in Salzburg, the Fest der Pferde, Vienna, and Budapest Horse Show.
Clopf, Martin Collins’ fibre additive, can materially improve the energy-return and drainage capabilities of an existing sand or sand/pvc granule surface and is used at Verden and Valkenswaard.