The Coast News Group
Stables at Del Mar Horsepark. Boarders have been told they need to find new homes for their animals. Courtesy photo
Letters Opinion

Letter: Stop Del Mar Horsepark from permanently closing

We must act now to stop the 65-acre Del Mar Horsepark from being closed and turned over to developers. This irreplaceable community treasure at the corner of Via de la Valle and El Camino Real is our region’s only remaining public equestrian facility and public riding school in operation for the last 26 years.

If Del Mar Horsepark were to close permanently, equine sports would become endangered in San Diego County. This beautiful, iconic park provides:

  • One of our region’s few remaining public riding schools

Del Mar Horsepark provides a home for families to introduce their children to the joy of riding without the expense of owning a horse. Kids learn responsibility, empathy, and develop mental and physical self-confidence through horses. The retired race horses and older show ponies who work at Horsepark would have few other options if this facility closes.

  • Reliable pandemic-resistant annual revenue exceeding $1 million

2020 revenue totaled $1.34 million from horse shows during pandemic, a significant revenue source during Covid-19 along with Fairground’s racing meets. Horse shows provide jobs for thousands of ancillary businesses—veterinarians, feed stores, equipment vendors, farriers, grooms, and trainers—as well as significant visitor-serving income to local lodging and restaurants.

  • Preserves and protects our agricultural and equestrian heritage in San Diego County

People live here for the open spaces and to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, which for many involves horses. Horsepark’s equestrian use upholds the mission of the 22nd DAA (District Agricultural Association), the state agency that owns the facility and the Fairgrounds. It is not suitable for more intense use as it is located on a 50-year floodplain, bisected by high-energy transmission lines, without adequate sewer or water infrastructure for residential development.

  • Significant public and equine community support

Over 9,000 people signed our change.org petition: http://change.org/SaveDelMarHorsepark. We all value our region’s agricultural heritage, open space and Horsepark’s 42-year legacy of horse shows, public riding school, and equine therapy enjoyed by generations of children and families.

Instead of closing Horsepark, we urge the 22nd DAA board to consider proposals by experienced equine operators who would improve water remediation, renovate the facilities, retain the public riding school, allow Fair parking, and generate needed income. This aligns with the 22nd DAA’s agricultural mission, equestrian heritage, and our community character.

Further information can be found on the Friends of Del Mar Horsepark website at www.friendsofdelmarhorse.com.

Carla Hayes, Solana Beach

Laura DeMarco, Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe

Robin Crabtree, Del Mar

Evangeline Gonzalez Stanley, San Diego

 

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