Our purpose-built training facilities
The Clifton Eventers eventing base in New Zealand
Although Clifton Eventers still owns the facilities at Muriwai, since Jock's move to be based most of the year in the year in the UK with the top Clifton horses, the facility has been leased out and is currently not used for training eventers. This page provides a historical perspective.
After WEG in 2006, where two of the six horses representing New Zealand in the eventing competition were Cliftons, the decision was made to consolidate in one place the majority of our 20-odd horses, which at that time were distributed around the country with several different riders. The intention was to have one principal rider with a supporting team at one purpose-built facility.
Plans were put in place to set up New Zealand's first purpose-built eventing training facility and to do this to world class standards.
In June 2007 we bought 20 ha (50 acres) of rolling farmland and bush near Muriwai, a seaside community about 30 minutes northwest of Auckland (see Auckland Regional Council's page, Wikipedia, Muriwai's own community site or see a good selection of photos).
We selected Muriwai for four main reasons:
- The sandstone geology makes it much more practical and usable country than most areas around Auckland, which are predominantly clay, allowing us to work horses pretty much all year round on good footing.
- Its proximity to the excellent facilities developed by Chris and Shelley Ross at Woodhill Sands, just 15 km up SH 16 from Muriwai. They have a full schedule of events that we find very useful, particularly for the younger horses.
- It's only 30 minutes from the centre of Auckland and even less from the North Shore, thus making it very accessible for riders and owners wanting to use the livery facility.
- Lastly, it's close to Muriwai Beach with its firm black sand and Woodhill Forest, 12,500 ha of pine forest providing all weather trails.
In November 2007 we commenced development of the Clifton Eventers training facility, with the health and safety of the horses, riders and others paramount in all decisions.
The facility became operational in February 2008 and was largely completed by October that year when the New Zealand Prime Minister and the local electorate MP, John Key, officially opened the Clifton Eventers' facility with the theme of 'A leg up for Gold', as Jock and Clifton Promise targetted a gold medal at the London Olympics.
The facilities include:
- Thirty-three individually fenced paddocks.
- Super horse-safe Gallagher EquiFence horse sighting wire.
- Specially designed two-rail gates that minimise risk of leg entanglement.
- Every paddock equipped with automatic water troughs of unique design. Made from high impact UV light resistant polyethylene, the partially covered Sunblock water troughs minimise the risk of physical injury as well as protect the reservoir from algae growth, dirt, spray, faecal matter and fertilizer.
- Several additional large paddocks for groups of horses
- 70m x 42m all weather arena, designed and engineered to withstand intensive use all year round. Excellent drainage base with sand and rubber surface, providing a perfect footing for both flat work and jumping.
- Open plan design stable block with one side completely open to the arena, thus providing horses with an uninterrupted flow of fresh air and the ability to watch their friends train in the adjoining arena.
- The stable block comprises eight 5x4m stalls plus two large and secure 7x4m stables, one of which was used as a tack room. The floor surface of all the stalls was compacted stone over a free-draining base that was both kind to the horses' legs and minimised smells.
- A four-horse cross-tie area with separate wash-down bay with hot and cold water, plus a laundry with a commercial washing machine for rugs and saddle cloths.
- A six-horse walker with variable speeds and direction to warm-up and cool-down horses, plus basic fitness work.
- A three hectare cross country training paddock with large water jump complex, ditches and bank plus a variety of mobile fences allows a safe and adjustable training environment for horses of all levels, from pre-training to 4-star.
- A 500m grass gallop track with a rise of 45m for fitness work.
- An oval sand trotting track for additional fitness work.
- Hacking tracks around the perimeter of the 20 ha property.
- The spectacular Muriwai Beach, with over 50 km of black sand, is only 10 minutes away by truck. Below is an unfinished video of one day when we took a truck-load of horses to the beach.
As Jock is now based in the UK and the founders of Clifton Eventers in France, the Muriwai property is leased out. However, it remains owned by Clifton Eventers so it could be resurrected as a training facility in the future.
Find out more about the development of the training base at Muriwai.