Ace Cross Country - Reviewed by Hesteyri Horses
ACE Cross Country is a venue that we visit quite a lot because of the work we do with young horses.
ACE has expansive fields of cross country fences, but also has fully marked dressage arenas and a show jumping field.
The jumps start off about as small as it’s possible to go, so that horses and ponies can work up gently and have a very positive experience.
ACE is often our backers’ first outing as the fences start so small and we can take a friend to help them round.
The small jumps are often replicas of the larger jumps, with mini corners, chairs, combinations, skinnies and roll tops, instead of just little logs. This is great for getting horses used to a wider range of jumps, ready for the bigger and more technical exercises.
The small ditches are very friendly but they also have larger ones which really help to increase the difficulty level, ready for competitions.
ACE used to have just one fairly big trakehner but they have also introduced a slightly smaller one along with a lovely ditch palisade.
The step complex is rather extensive and is so helpful for people to be able to work up from a single, small step to slightly larger combinations, as well as the step in and out of water!
The water is a bit of a horse scarer, for no obvious reason! It is a bit green but the slopes in and out are perfectly friendly! What we find really useful is that there’s not a designated run through, the slope goes around a lot of the edge which is great when you’ve got a spooky horse who’s just going sideways as you don’t bump into things or run out of room and can just keep working on it. The step in and out used to be a bit too much of a challenge for the babies but there is now a smaller step which is perfect for their first taste of jumping in and out of water!
While the complexes themselves are fantastic, the jumps in between are also perfect to add into any combination and get a lovely, flowing course.
The jumps are beautifully prepared and painted (sometimes a little too well painted, according to the spookier horses!) and the ground has always been incredible, perfect to jump off, even with all of our barefoot horses! Every time ACE shuts for a wet day or week, it’s done with the safety of horses and riders in mind. We never have to worry about rutted ground and there isn’t gravel in front of each and every fence because the ground is always so good to jump off!
The ‘playground’ is a new field of little fences which is great for horses and riders to have a play and find their brave pants. We personally prefer warming up in the little area to the left of the big field as the field is slightly smaller, meaning our ponies can get used to being in an open space before we put them in a really, really open space! We also find that the way the little logs gradually increase is perfect for every horse we have taken there.
After that, we head to the little jumps next to the tyres and then we make our way around the fields, jumping whatever we think is right for the ponies!
Though the jumps only go up to about 90cm, we have taken eventers there and still found useful and challenging combinations for our Novice horse (who was mainly there to babysit youngsters). The jumps are also perfect practice to head straight out and compete on. We took one mare and jumped around the week before her event and she went Double Clear!
Although there are some amazing things about ACE, the best by far is the amazing owner, Lynsey, who keeps ACE as one of the friendliest venues we’ve ever been to! Lynsey is a real breath of fresh air in a world which can be very judgemental and difficult. You never feel judged on your riding or your horse!
We love this venue so much! Our favourite parts are:
Pictures! Although we have our cameras and always try to get as many pictures and videos as possible, Lynsey is always there with her trustee camera, making sure everyone has a great keep sake of their time at ACE. The pictures are totally free and uploaded to their Facebook page at the end of the day or week.
Facilities! We really appreciate when a venue goes above and beyond with facilities. As riders, particularly ones who have spent a summer camping, we’re used to roughing it. It’s really nice not to have to though! Our supporters and owners also like to use an actual toilet instead of a portable toilet or the horse lorry! Being able to wash off our horses with a hose was fantastic too. The bucket and sponge does the job but clean, running water does it better!
Vibe! The equestrian world can be a judgmental place so we always love a chat with someone who is genuine and friendly, as well as always being on hand if you have any problems, though not overbearing
Course! Last and most importantly, the cross country course and jumps are well presented, laid out and anchored down. There were introductory complexes as well as more advanced combinations. They really offer something for riders and horses at different levels and it is a great schooling course to move up to a higher height and build confidence. We wouldn’t go anywhere else to give our youngsters their first taste at cross country, or to build confidence in horses!
Find out more by visiting their site > https://www.acecrosscountry.co.uk/
Thank you for reading our review of ACE Cross Country! We are Hesteyri Horses, Gloucestershire based horse trainers specialising in giving all horses a chance. You can read more about our work and horses on our Horsemart and Facebook pages > www.facebook.com/hesteyri-horses