An article written for the Swedish magazine and website of Hippson.
Join us as we discuss the importance of a good arena with Henrik Lannér, Christoffer Andersson and Bart Manderveld. And find out why these Swedish riders chose to work with the international company BM Service.
Bart Manderveld has a great knowledge in sand, so big that he has become one of the absolute best in the world in constructing riding arenas. The secret to success is a good preparation and a good mix. In this way, he creates riding arenas that suit the world’s best riders.
When Christoffer Andersson, who runs the Nydala Equestrian Center outside of Jönköping, was in the Netherlands to try horses, he was so impressed with the footing of the arena he was riding on that he decided he wanted one like this himself. The arena turned out to come from the Belgian company BM Service. Christoffer chose to work with Bart because he listened carefully to his needs and everything happened in consultation throughout the project, to get the best result.
A good footing should be able to vary between soft and firmer and it should be stable and resilient for the horses, says Christoffer Andersson in response to the question of why a footing is so important.
Bart Manderveld is the son of a national Belgian showjumping rider but has not ridden much himself. He worked on a gravel pit and one day one of his father’s friends asked for help with the construction of his riding arena. It became the first arena of many. Today Bart has built arenas in over 15 different countries, including Morocco, Florida and Russia. In Sweden he has done around 40 arenas so far.
A chef becomes lyrical when he feels he has made the perfect meal. For me, it’s the same with riding arenas. It’s all about mixing the perfect sand with the perfect fibers, explains Bart Manderveld.
A really good footing has several ingredients according to Bart. First of all, the total build-up of all the layers, even the ones that will not be visible in the end, are as important as the top layer. Bart’s company, BM Service, attaches great importance to the total concept of building an equestrian arena.
Like everything else, the arena needs a good foundation and then you have to keep into account what the surroundings look like, where the track will be placed and the local climate explains Bart.
For the toplayer itself, it is important to take into account how and for what purpose it will be used, in order to produce the right mixture.
The fiber is just fine tuning, it’s the sand that’s really important and that’s where I’m very picky.
Many of my suppliers think that I am a little difficult, but I know how crucial the quality of the sand is, says Bart. That is also why I analyse all the sand that I use myself, to make sure it is all the same quality.
The fibers always come from Belgium, while the sand is picked from selected sand quarries in the region where the arena is to be built.
But where exactly in Sweden I pick up the sand for the footings I cannot say, I have a couple of selected places, Bart smiles. The unique thing about BM Service is that the sand is always mixed before it is placed in the arena. This way every part of the arena feels the same.
Exactly the overall equality is something that is appreciated by Henrik Lannér, Swedish national team leader for the juniors in jumping and himself former national team rider.
I hate uneven ground. It is so easy for a careful horse to lose its trust and become tense by slipping on an uneven riding track. It’s so unnecessary, says Henrik Lannér.
Henrik has had his track from BM Service for 11 years. Twice, Bart has been to Skåne Löddeköpinge to level the arena. However, no filling of fibers or sand has ever been necessary.
The arena is as good after all those years as it was on day 1 and I haven’t put a penny in it since I built it, says Henrik Lannér.
For Bart Manderveld, the most important part is that the customer is satisfied with the result on long term.
And what the customer needs varies a lot. Christoffer Andersson has both competitive and training activities on his arena, so it must be possible to make some slight changes in the footing depending on the use.
Henrik trains top showjumping horses, this requires a different type of footing, Bart explains.
In the future, he hopes to work more with Swedish customers.
I really enjoy working in Sweden. You have knowledgeable people, you know what you want and are straight forward, this creates a pleasant working atmosphere.
Our love for horses is what we have in common. By combining Bart’s knowledge of sand and the riders’ ideas about what they want for their horses, we create products that give the horses the trust to perform at the highest level.
For the article in Swedish please visit: https://www.hippson.se/artikelarkivet/sponsrad/flyger-varlden-runt-for-att-anlagga.htm
Special thanks to:
Christoffer Andersson (Nydala Equestrian): http://www.nydalaequestrian.se/se
Henrik Lannér (Stall Lannér Horses)