The jumping field at the Nepean National Equestrian Park is as good as any in the world, said Jay Hayes, organizer of the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments — but the rest of the venue is not really up to par.

“The stabling area is horrible,” he said.

“We should be over 800 horses here, but people will not come back because of the stable area.”

Last year, almost half of the 600 stalls were waterlogged when it rained.

The problem, said Hayes, was that the roads built around the stables acted like levies that turned the area into a series of reservoirs.

This year, the problem was solved by some simple trenching and drainage pits.

It’s a good start, said Hayes, but it still needs improvement.

He would like to see more permanent infrastructure — almost everything on the site is set up just for the two weeks during the tournament.

Despite the problems with the stables, Hayes said he is optimistic about the future of the event.

“It’s been a rough first two years ... This year is not going to be financially much better but I’m feeling great about the future.”

Many local riders will be in the event this weekend, but it also draws riders from around the world, with jumpers coming from across North America, New Zealand and Turkey.

Hayes expects up to 6,000 spectators on Sunday to watch the two $75,000 Grand Prix.

The Ottawa area is also home to one of Canada’s most vibrant show jumping scenes, thanks in part to the work of the stars of the sport like Ian Millar and Jill Henselwood who have been mentoring the region’s younger riders, such as up-and-comer Alex Loiselle, 20, from Rockcliffe.