Just over a year ago, I wrote the RSF Post’s most widely read article in its eight year history. It was about Horsepark’s surprise and sudden shutdown. I think the community’s strong showing of support for continued equestrian operations at the treasured facility caught the government appointed 22nd DAA by surprise and most likely shaped their policy responses.
So I’m pleased to announce that finally, after a do-over RFP, the 22nd DAA has told Dale Harvey that his West Palms Event Management company won the ability to run Horsepark on essentially a ground lease basis.
What This Means
We could have horseshows by this summer. That’s assuming contract negotiations with the 22nd DAA go smoothly and West Palms secures temporary approval from the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board for their water remediation plan. This agency has indicated in the past they would help to make this happen.
West Palms Event Management
West Palms is an experienced horse show management company that has produced top level hunter jumper shows for over twenty years. They were the management company that produced the annual spring Del Mar National shows at the Fairgrounds.
In talking to Dale Harvey, he wants to maximize Horsepark’s utility without causing neighbor disruption.
A key element to his re-opening plan is to have a permanent therapeutic riding program, most likely in partnership with Cornerstone. This would give people with disabilities, and all manner of people with PTSD (from military to first responders) the possibility of enhancing mental well being through the program.
Events and Competitions
Dale is looking to both produce and lease out the facility to all manner of equestrian, animal, and human athletic competition and shows. West Palms will produce both high end A level hunter jumper shows as well as less expensive county level shows. He is open to leasing the facility to other equestrian operators.
Dog shows, flyball, cat shows, agility competitions, all are possible. He is also interested in attracting human agility and strength competitions such as the Tough Mudder competitions.
He wants Horsepark to be seen as more of a public facility where there’s always something interesting going on.
I personally would like to see Dale be so successful (and profitable for the 22nd DAA) such that they don’t ask him to turn the facility into a giant parking lot every summer for the Fair.
Building new permanent structures will be hard (most of the land sits in a floodplain), but upgrades are still possible. In particular, Harvey laments the current “ugly” RV area and wants to revamp RV services to make it both more attractive and more useful for RVers.
All these activities will result in lots of hungry mouths, and Dale thinks these can be serviced by high end mobile/modular restaurant facilities.
This may end up being the 22nd DAA’s most profitable single decision. The energy of a committed entrepreneur will soon be unleashed and I cannot wait to see what comes of it. It won’t happen all at once, but I am looking forward to seeing the evolution of Horsepark going forward and keeping track of all the different events it will support. Hopefully it will become a community jewel.