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7 February 2004
Showjumping around an Irish Neolithic site

A new cross country course for horse riders has been built around a prehistoric site in Ireland. The course is situated at Ballygraffan in Strangford Conservation Area between Comber and Killinchy. There will be a Novice and an Intermediate course and there will also be an Open intermediate class running on the day. Both classes will perform their showjumping around a neolithic burial mound and the cross-country course diverts to meander alongside an ancient mill.
     For the past four months, Ballygraffan has been the site of intense activity as course-builders and designers have worked at a feverish pace to put together the first fences on a completely new cross-country course which will run on April 24. In addition to building fences, a huge amount of work has gone into creating a suitable infrastructure
     The course weaves through ten fields, many of which are bound on all sides by ditches. Initially, many ditches had to be culverted to increase access and prevent the course becoming a series of ditches and trakehners. Luckily, a source of stone was discovered in one of the crosscountry fields dit supplied eighty tonnes of stone for culverting, lane-building and the construction by local stonemasons of a decorative dry-stone bridge which will be incorporated into the course. Also uncovered was an eighteen ton boulder which now occupies a prominent position on the course and has become a local landmark.

Source: Farming Life (4 February 2004)

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