It had been a long wait for the new sand surface arena at the Elmshorn Holsteiner Verband facility.
At the Holsteiner Horse Days opening ceremony of this new gem, the Verband chairman, Thies Beuck, dedicated the arena to Herbert Blöcker, in memory of a man who had launched his international career at Elmshorn, who had trained and prepared here for his exceptional achievements in eventing. Following the uncovering of the memorial stone at the arena’s entrance, Rita Blöcker, the widow of Herbert Blöcker who had passed away much too early in 2014, said thank you using the words her husband might well have chosen: “That’s reallly nice, but you shouldn’t have”…
Prior to this, it had been Thies Beuck’s major concern to thank all the many sponsors and donors. “Without them, there wouldn’t have been an arena“, he said, mentioning the family of Wolfgang Herz and Manfred von Allwörden representative for all the others.
Well in fact, there are two arenas, a show ground at 90 m x 60 m, and – separated by a ridge - a warming-up arena at 50 m x 60 m built on the inner area of the former Elmshorn harness racing track. The arena’s sand surface, a so-called ebb and flood system providing consistent humidity, ensures a stable base and footing and a secure touch-down and take-off for the horses. Following heavy rainfall, the arena is ready for immediate use again, as well. And the spectators at the side-lines – as well as the horses – will appreciate they are not being covered in dust. ”This is definitely brilliant“, said Christian Hess, emphasizing that the arena surface is the same for the show ground and the warming-up arena, “which is rather uncommon”, he said.
The sand arena will also be available to outside riders and breeders for training purposes. Upon previous notice, Holsteiner Verband members may use the arena on Mondays (4 pm to 7 pm), Wednesdays (1 pm to 7 pm) and Fridays (4 pm to 7 pm) at a fee of 10 euros per horse or 50 euros per hour. The fee for non-members is 15 euros/horse and 90 euros/hour. Construction work for the arena at a total cost of around 500,000 euros had started about a year ago, financed among others through Holsteiner Verband resources and members waiving credits with the Holsteiner Verband.
During this afternoon, words of greeting were delivered not only by Verband chairman Thies Beuck, but also by Elmshorn major, Volker Hatje (no party affiliation), and Heiner Rickers, a horse fancying CDU member of the Schleswig-Holstein parliament. Volker Hatje appreciated “this arena as an expansion of the Holsteiner Verband offer to Schleswig-Holstein riders“. And Heiner Rickers, bringing the greetings of state premier Daniel Günther, called the arena “an advertisement for Schleswig-Holstein’s horse country status“. Speaking on behalf of the active riders, Harm Sievers said: “Building this arena which also meets international requirements has been a step in the right direction.”
Inauguration of the Herbert-Blöcker-Arena: Rita Blöcker, daughter Meike, the grandchildren Mathis and Mirja, and Thies Beuck
Photo: Janne Bugtrup