Jacksonville Equestrian Center Hosts Groundbreaking Event

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center (JEC) held an official groundbreaking ceremony on May 3rd, 2018 for its new covered arena, part of its long term plan for progress and expansion.
“The new arena will be the largest clear-span covered arena in the southeast providing the necessary space to support a wider variety of activities and multiple events at the same time”, explained Peggy Fuller, DVM the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Board of Directors Chair, addressing the attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony. The new covered arena will be 300’ x 300’ and will attach to the existing 150’ x 300’ coliseum via a covered 130’ x 80’ livestock pavilion “Essentially we are doubling the number of covered rings we currently have available. We’re thrilled that this new building will increase our capacity to offer diverse events to all members of the community.” Fuller thanked the City of Jacksonville council members and officials, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Board members and staff, World Development Group International and the many members of the community who have supported the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, making the improvements possible.
Jacksonville City Council members, Doyle Carter, Joyce Morgan, Al Ferraro, Greg Anderson and Parks and Recreation Director, Daryl Joseph joined the Jacksonville Equestrian Center executive board members in commemorating the groundbreaking event.
The celebratory evening included an introduction to therapeutic riding by H.O.P.E. Therapy Director, Becky Davenport. She highlighted the benefits hippotheraphy programs provide to individuals with a wide range of special needs. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center will allow all Premiere Accredited Therapeutic Programs use of the facility. This will enable the facility to be utilized, even when not booked for events. H.O.P.E Therapeutic is currently the sole local Premiere Accredited Therapeutic Riding Program, and plans to make use of the facility. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center has a specially equipped carriage with a wheelchair lift and special needs mounting ramp that accommodates wheelchairs and walkers. The new covered arena will enable The Jacksonville Equestrian to host more events like the Special Olympics Area Qualifiers and Championships, which were held at the facility in 2017 and 2018 and provide an all-weather training and teaching location.
The commemorative evening also honored winners of the “Take it to the Jax” Agricultural Art Contest. Two Duval County Schools, Fort Caroline Middle School and Enterprise Learning Academy, participated in the contest. Councilman Doyle Carter and Councilwoman Joyce Morgan presented the students with their awards.  Fort Caroline Middle School 7th grader Bria McClary was a first place winner for her piece titled, The Rooster. Elian Salami was awarded second place for Horses and Isabelle Hampton was presented with third place for Orange Horses. Fourth graders from Enterprise Learning Academy were also recognized for their artistic talents. Kayle Lewis received first place for Teal Owl, Ava Linn was awarded second place for Horse and Barn, and Keira Collins received third place for Zebra & Tigers.
Attendees were treated to a celebrity barrel race that featured Jacksonville City Council Members and Jacksonville Equestrian Center Board members. Carolyn LaRose Jacksonville Equestrian Center Board of Directors Vice Chair raced to the fastest time. City Councilman Doyle Carter was second and the Center’s Board of Director’s Chair, Peggy Fuller, was third.  Local supporter and experienced barrel racer, Jodi Coxwell announced the event and provided expert coaching to the celebrities who braved the race. The barrel horses were graciously provided by Diamond D Ranch and Michael Griffin, all of which earned “equestrian saint” status for taking care of their riders during the fun event.
The celebration was capped off with a delicious Taco Bar Dinner by Anthony’s Catering, followed by a team roping demonstrations from this week’s NTRL Rope For The Truck competitors.  To catch a recap of the some of the evenings highlights follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWezFjmE0Hw
The evening’s events highlighted the venue’s versatility and capacity to host a wide variety of equestrian and community events. The facility hosts an extensive range of popular, family-friendly gatherings throughout the year, such as car shows, family fun days, dog agility trials, bicycling events, and equestrian competitions for every breed and riding discipline. For nature lovers, the property also features miles of hiking and riding trails as well as a picnic pavilion. Visit Jacksonville Convention Services Manager Becky Parker and Senior Manager, Courtney Hartert were on hand at the event to remind guests that this easily accessible center is only a short drive to the city and Jacksonville’s beautiful beaches.
Known for its varied amenities and ideal location, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is now expanding to offer more to both the equestrian community as well as the Jacksonville community, alike. For more information and to learn more about upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.
Photo: Jacksonville Equestrian Center Ground Breaking officiants (from left to right) Councilmen Greg Anderson, Councilwoman Joyce Morgan, Councilman Doyle Carter, Chair of the Board Peggy Fuller, Vice Chair of the Board Carolyn LaRose, Construction Chair for the Board Joanne Connell, Secretary of the Board Betty Griner, and Director of Parks and Recreation Daryl Joseph.  (Photo courtesy of JRPR, no photo credit necessary)

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Wraps Up Another Successful Spring Classic Series

For the third year in a row, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center wowed riders and spectators alike during the Jacksonville Spring Classic, held April 4 through April 15, 2018.
The facility, which boasts an impressive set-up including a larger-than-life indoor stadium, several outdoor rings and a derby field, attracted 500 hunter and jumper pairs from as far as Dallas, Texas.

The highly anticipated two-week series featured a myriad of hunter and jumper classes, with favorites including the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby sponsored by Glen Kernan Gold and Country Club, and the $35,000 Regional Grand Prix sponsored by Sidelines. Prize money totaled more than $260,000, adding to the allure of the springtime show.

The show also offered Opportunity Classes for those riders who are not USEF members and wanted to compete at a USEF-rated competition – cementing the series’ ideal environment for all types of riders, including junior, amateur and professional competitors ranging from unknown, local amateurs to household names, like Kelley Farmer.
Farmer, known by the hunter community as a derby queen, captured the coveted the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby aboard her new partner, David Glefke’s Verdict. The impressive pair blew the competition out of the water with 20 points above the runner-up in a field of 23.
This year, many competitors were return customers, after enjoying the simultaneous comfort and excitement of previous years’ events. Derek Petersen, of Archer, Florida, for example, commented about how thrilled he was to return to the show. After taking second in last year’s grand prix, much to his pleasure, this year he took the blue in the $35,000 grand prix.
Equally happy to participate in the show, first-time Jacksonville Equestrian Center rider and winner of the $7,500 Welcome Jumper Amanda ‘Happy’ Comly, also expressed her enjoyment.
“It’s so nice to be here with the Classic Company,” she said. “It’s a lot more personal than other shows I’ve been to — it feels like the organizers care about what I think and how I’m doing. I’m grateful to be a part of this community.”
Of course, the show is just as thrilling for spectators as it is for riders. Conveniently located near lodging and attractions, like the Jacksonville Zoo and the Riverside historic district, spectators, who enjoy free admission and parking to the series can, find lots of entertainment.
To learn more about this year’s Jacksonville Spring Classic series, go to http://www.classiccompany.com/. For more information about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and the myriad of equestrian events that call it home, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call 904-255-4215.

Photo 1: Derek Peterson and Diamant’s Legacy winners of the $35,000 Grand Prix during the first week of the Jacksonville Spring Classic. (Photo courtesy of Allison Hartwell Photography) http://www.alisonhartwell.com/
Photo 2: Haley Gassel and Quite Dark 2 owned by Westwind Equestrian winners of the $35,000 Sidelines Grand Prix during the final week of the Jacksonville Spring Classic. (Photo courtesy of Allison Hartwell Photography)http://www.alisonhartwell.com/

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Brings A-Rated Hunter/Jumper Competition to Northeast Florida with New Show Series

Jacksonville, FL (June 26, 2017) After the debut of the 2017 Jacksonville Show Series at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center this month, hunter and jumper competitors can look forward to getting in the A-Rated show ring once more during part two of the new series. Part one, the Jacksonville Spring Encore, ran June 1-4 and offered rated hunter and jumper competition at the state-of-the-art Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The series will continue on September 21-24 with the Jacksonville Fall Festival, and will offer new and returning riders another chance for big success in the show ring.

One of the successful competitors from the Jacksonville Spring Encore was rider and trainer Nashae Powell. Powell rode Temptation, a Warmblood owned by Alexis Newman, to the first-place finish in the USHJA Hunter Derby. The seven-year-old gelding was recently imported to the U.S., and trainer Powell has been riding and showing him for less than three months.

The Jacksonville Spring Encore offered a chance for Temptation to get into the show ring and “get some miles” at an A-Rated show, according to Powell. The show demonstrated his potential. “He’s come a long way really fast, so we’re all really excited about him,” Powell said.

Powell works with Coriander Farm Inc. owned by Katie Young and based in Jacksonville, Florida. The team had great success at the Spring Encore with placings with multiple different horses throughout. The performance from Temptation was a clear highlight for the team during the show.

“His personally is actually really neat,” she said. “He’s like a little human, really; like a little puppy dog.”

The rated status of the 2017 Jacksonville Show Series was a huge draw for Powell. “An A-rated horse show right in your backyard is pretty hard to pass up,” she said. Powell and her team have competed before at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, including circuits earlier this spring. They are familiar with the many amenities that the facility offers exhibitors, including a 125,000 square-foot indoor arena inside a coliseum that seats 3,700 and over 400 permanent stalls and 78 RV hook-ups.

“The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a nice, big place,” Powell said. “The barns are nice, and the indoor ring is probably the biggest perk. The fact that you can get indoor ring experience is great because we don’t have a lot of those around here, so you can get experience indoors for competitions at the national level. 

Hunter/jumper competitors can next plan to attend the USEF “A” Rated Jacksonville Fall Festival on September 21-24. This show will feature special classes and classics that will capitalize use of the facility’s turf field and enormous indoor coliseum, making it perfect prep for the upcoming indoor shows that many riders will head to afterwards.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s close proximity to downtown Jacksonville, hotels, and restaurants, as well as pristine beaches and outdoor activities, makes it the ideal location for equestrian, educational, community and sporting events throughout the year. The upcoming event schedule includes the Bubble Run 5K in August and horse shows throughout the summer. For more information about the approaching Jacksonville Fall Festival, or other upcoming events at the premier Jacksonville, Florida, venue, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call 904-255-4215.