Friday, October 8, 2010

Open For Business

Even in the early days of the economic recession, Washington State voters approved funding for the development of a "State Horse Park," on land donated (for write-off purposes, I'm sure) by the owners of a major resort being built outside of the "thriving" metropolis of Cle Elum. The location was centrally located for the whole state, and only about an hour east of the Seattle area, with easy access from both east and west on Interstate 90.

Late this summer, the Washington State Horse Park started hosting a few events, including an Arabian show, cowboy mounted shooters, a trail challenge clinic, and, coming up, a Pony Club clinic and "hunter pace."

The Kittitas Valley Trail Riders caravaned up to go on a "Fun Ride" sponsored by the Park Foundation itself, to let folks explore the area a bit and become familiar with the facitilies.

Here are some of the temporary stalls set up for now. Permanent barns will be constructed as funds are raised. Electric and water lines are already in, and RV hook-ups and nice wash stalls set up.

That's KVTR member Jennifer, with her two horses: her dad was in the registration line.

These pavilions were set up for registration (and later, serving lunch). They had expected perhaps 200-250 riders--total registrations: 519! It may have been the biggest ride of it's kind in the state for this season!
The one large arena that is currently fenced. KVTR member Warren, trying out the footing at the future site of a smaller arena.
On the trail: much of the area is fairly open evergreen woods like this.
[Underneath his chaps, Chuck has buckaroo boots with bright yellow tops that match his "glad rag" scarf!]The woods were thicker, with more deciduous trees, along a creek that will shortly join the Cle Elum River. This was fairly early in the ride, or I think we may have stopped to let the horses drink.
As it was, one rider had an equipment malfunction (his bit broke!), so once we resolved that issue (he borrowed a rope halter and rode his fairly cooperative gelding the rest of the way in that) we decided we needed to keep moving.
Riding a small ridge: we were a little surprised that there were some small hills--from the freeway the area seems to just be flat until you get farther north, towards the Easton Ridge
Kate's ears seem to be trying to compromise between the pink-white-and-blue ribbons that marked the trail, and the back end of Michelle's horse, that she was following.
Back across the flats to the developed area, for a lunch of homemade pulled pork sandwiches or pizza (which was brought in at the last minute as the number of riders multiplied!).
It was a beautiful day, and everyone could see the great potential of this location. If you have a chance to attend an event, be sure and take advantage of it!


  1. Can't wait to get up there to explore. We plan to scout trails soon for an ENDURANCE RIDE there next summer!!!

  2. That sounds like a really cool place to ride! If Im ever down there, I may have to check it out.

  3. WOW. I can't imagine 500+ horses all heading out on a trail ride together. There were only 200 at Tevis this year! That's just mind blowing.

    What a cool facility. Yall are so fortunate!

  4. Wow! What an awesome facility! 500 horses and riders?! How many acres is this park, and how many miles of trails are available?
    I'm so envious because I don't know of any horse specific parks in the entire state of New Mexico. There are only a couple placesthat I know of that are only open to horses, too. Most allow mountain bikes, ATVs, and loose dogs.

    You all are so lucky to have such a nice equine resource so close to you. Enjoy!


  5. I think the Arabian event was the Region 5 trail ride that was just a few weeks ago. They were there for three days and had rides each day. I didn't get to go so it's great to see all these pics of the place to see what I missed.

  6. This location has tremendous potential! Total acreage is 112, with 37 in the main developed area (arenas and barns, camping and RV spaces), and 75 more natural acres west of there to have a polo field, cross country (eventing) area, and a trail challenge course (currently partially (?) completed).
    As for trails, we rode a loop trail that day, that might have been 8 or 10 miles, all on the property. But the plan is to make connections to developed trails at Suncadia, the John Wayne Pioneer Trail (which connects to the Pacific Crest, not too far away), the Coal Mine Trail, and numerous routes in the surrounding National Forest.
    The state money was all for location and site development (infrastructure), and has been exhausted. All future construction (arenas, barns and courses) will be funded with donations, fundraisers (like this ride), user fees and memberships.

  7. Thanks for sharing about this.

    Cle Elum is one of my favorite places to ride, I brought my man there for one of our first horse camping trips in 2006.

    What about the SW Regional Equestrian Center? A buddy of mine, Larry Hewitt, was the project manager for this but I have no idea if it was ever built. (Winlock area.)