Equestrian sport is quite literally riding high in Britain - with Team GB winning medals in dressage, showjumping and eventing at the Tokyo Olympics, the passion for horses has never been greater.
Emma Hyslop-Webb and Julie Hyslop have developed Vale View Equestrian as one of the leading venues for dressage, showjumping and eventing.
Specialist riding arena surfaces have transformed the possibilities for venues wishing to offer training and competition opportunities all-year round, but require regular, skilled maintenance. A leading venue in Leicestershire has invested in a Kubota L-1382 compact tractor to help them achieve this.
Vale View Equestrian offers extensive facilities for all three disciplines: a state-of-the-art all-weather cross-country arena which replicates the terrain and obstacle challenges of a grass course plus its adjacent practice arenas span 2.5 acres. Then there are 66x26m and 70x30m indoor arenas ideal for show jumping and dressage, plus two other large outdoor arenas and a new lunge pen.
"The surfaces have to be harrowed every day, in preparation for events and during them," explains Julie Hyslop, who founded Vale View Equestrian with husband Mark and daughter Emma Hyslop-Webb. "We have used a quad bike in the past but it lacked the power needed and became unreliable. The special sand mixture contains wax, which makes it difficult to pull through, but we are renowned by the leading riders for the quality of our surfaces, so we have to be able to harrow and level effectively."
Local Kubota dealer Farmstar had previously supplied an F Series front mower which is used to cut grass areas around the site, so Mark approached the company to source a tractor.
"We were originally interested in a smaller tractor, but Farmstar suggested the 38hp L-1382 and it was the right choice to give enough power to pull the harrow," he explains. "Yet it is very manoeuvrable with its hydrostatic transmission and power steering - we can even harrow around the jumps during a break in the showjumping competitions to ensure that we are offering the ideal footing to every competitor."
The tractor is driven by a several members of staff including Olivia Toone and Fran Segalov who have a varied roles in the business, and two part-time groundsmen who set up the arenas with jumps or dressage markers.
"It's a big plus that the tractor is so straightforward that anyone can drive it," comments Mark. "Access for daily checks is also very quick and logical."
While the L-1382 is kept busy with the harrow much of the time, it has also been deployed to move trailers carrying showjumps and portable cross country fences. Emma says that it will be used for a wider range of tasks in the equestrian centre's grazing paddocks in the future.
"It will be really useful for topping up water troughs, manure clearance and maintenance of fencing in the future."
"It's the perfect equestrian tractor in our opinion," she says.