Tripadvisor take note: Parwood, Southern region’s newest affiliated competition centre, ticks all the “good venue” boxes: easy access, appropriate trailer/lorry parking, super surfaced arenas, winter-sheltered indoor warm-up, fast results and super refreshments, including Proper coffee!!!

IF YOU are not familiar with Parwood Equestrian Centre just off the “Hogs Back” south of Guildford, then listen up! You should definitely be putting it in your competition diary. Dates for BD competitions over the next six months are: 1 February, 22 March, 27 April, 17 May and 1 June. (Other dates TBA.) Unfortunately, the BD Schedules database and magazine failed to publish details of the centre’s first show of the season, on 11 January, but some 40 or so competitors managed to enter and find their way there.

The centre is situated four miles or so from the A3 and is set in beautiful Surrey countryside. For postcode GU3 2JE, the Out And Dressage satnav and (rebellious) driver enjoyed a tour of the Surrey university campus but abandoning the satnav and approached from the Normandy signposted turn-off on the A31, it’s easy. The centre is accessed from Westwood Lane between Wanborough and Normandy.

Those who arrived with trailers were able to park and unload on to grass. The parking for lorries is on hard surfacing although a bit dirty in this wet January, so you might have mired the edges of your specially polished, crocodile skin/crocodile printed Swarovski-bejewelled boots.

The setting is totally tranquil — no busy road or aircraft noise — but on this day, the Army could be heard practise firing in the distance. One competitor, Jane Collins, commented: “All of the competitor parking and the livery yard are well away from the arenas so there are no distractions. I’m thinking of taking my youngster there for his first outing.”


Jane Collins reported: “The surfaces are great and the show was well-organised and friendly. I asked for specific times for my tests to fit round school runs and they were very accommodating. They were also incredibly efficient at getting the results out!”

(For the fast results thanks are due to scorers Nikki O’Carroll and Veronica Morris.)


Warming-up is in Parwood’s indoor school, and if the winter weather is unfriendly there is only a 20m or so walk to the two 20 x 60m outdoor competition arenas. The arenas are contained within a space large enough for them to be widely separated, minimising between-ring distractions. As their farther edges are against the perimeter fence, competitors enter their competition space to ride round before the judge sounds a horn from the parked-vehicle judges’ boxes.

The surface, a wax-coated sand/fibre mix provided a little ‘cut’ but was firm and supportive. Most waxed sand surfaces seem to freeze but experience will show whether these do

Parwood’s events co-ordinator Sam Osborn acquired the services of List 1 judge Mark Ruddock (pictured top) and South-West BD chairman and List 3A Susie Cumine. Their writers on the day were Lisa Fahy and Lucie Prowse. Sam told Out and About Dressage that she hopes to invite a wider pool of judges than is usually seen at Southern shows rather than always use the familiar names.

One of the competitors contacted after the show, Stephanie Jamieson from Liphook, said : “I sent Sam Osborn an email saying ‘thank you so much’.

My horse and I were a bit nervous because we’re a new partnership. The stewards were so efficient and friendly. From the moment you arrived at the lorry park they were telling me it was quite a busy day and directing me to the right place to park.


Stephanie: “In the warm-up a steward kept an eye on us and as the horse before me had withdrawn she kept me up to date saying I could ride early if I wanted to. The whole atmosphere was professional, efficient and friendly. I will definitely be going back there.”
(Thank you to stewards Alice Seymour and Paulina Zywno.)

Food is important! And it doesn’t have to be all about bacon butties and beefburgers. “Four fillies” a catering enterprise which Helen, one of the fillies told me, also involves some ge…sorry gentleman…) is dedicated to providing quality refreshments. “Barista” style coffee and tea (at corresponding prices) — and similar quality ‘proper’ eatables.

Of course, in civilised Surrey, loos are properly plumbed in and in permanent structures. Hurrah!

For a comprehensive ‘what’s on at Parwood’ see

© Out and About Dressage, 14 January 2018

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