World-Class Equestrian Facility Provides Opportunity for All Disciplines
Story compiled by Kim Roe
Few things in life are more enjoyable for horse enthusiasts than riding their horse in beautiful country. But open space for horseback riding is dwindling, and privately owned equestrian facilities are being sold and developed at an alarming rate. Across the nation, many privately owned horse facilities cannot afford to stay in the business of hosting large equestrian events.
In Washington State we are very fortunate. Nestled in the Central Cascade Mountains is one of the finest equestrian facilities to be found anywhere: The Washington State Horse Park.
Less than 80 miles from the Bellevue/Redmond area, the park lies just off of Interstate 90 in Cle Elum. It’s five minutes from Suncadia Resort which offers a variety of lodging, dining, and recreational amenities in addition to those in the towns of Cle Elum, Roslyn and Ellensburg.
A model of a public-private partnership, the Washington State Horse Park is a non-profit organization. It is neither a government or privately-owned facility. It began with the gift of 112 acres from Suncadia LLC to the city of Cle Elum. An additional $3.5 million was obtained through the state legislature to build the first roads, utilities and revenue-generating facilities. The park opened in 2010. Many volunteers have put in hundreds of hours of time helping to plan and develop the park to benefit all horse owners.
World Class Facilities
The Washington State Horse Park has rapidly become the premier destination for equine activities in the Pacific Northwest. Set in the peaceful and idyllic pine forests of the central Cascades, the 112-acre park has amenities that will please even the fussiest of horse owners. The park offers four large sand arenas, more than 160 covered stalls, two cross-country courses, a competitive trail course, wash racks, lunging areas, cattle pens, a dressage court, show jump courses, and access to miles of surrounding woodland trails. Camping close to your horse is possible with 36 RV hook-ups with water/sewer/electricity, plus free camping is available outside of the RV hook-up spaces. Showers are also available.
The park serves the recreational, competitive, and educational needs of riders and horse enthusiasts of all disciplines, age groups, and skill levels. The venue’s ample facilities accommodate small-to-large size shows as well as less formal activities. People of all ages are drawn to the horse park, and special consideration is given to youth programs and therapeutic riding. Emphasis also is placed on fostering education and training through clinics, demonstrations, seminars and camps.
This world-class venue has become the go-to place for western competitions, hunter/jumper shows, three-day events, dressage, combined driving and competitive trail riding, to name a few. Local, regional and national competitions are attracted to the site for its comprehensive offerings and stunning setting. The park is the perfect destination to just get away from it all and spend some quality time with your family or friends, camping, using the arenas, trail course, or hacking out through the woods. The park is also used by many clubs and organizations for get-togethers and mounted meetings.
Final Phase and Exciting News
The park is beginning the final phase of its development. Very exciting news is the approval of funding for a large covered arena. The covered arena will include a 150’ x 300’ lighted competition space with a 25-foot wide “porch” that will wrap around the competition space. This porch will protect horse and rider from weather while waiting to compete and will also be used for spectator seating and amenities. The covered arena will extend the horse park’s season from five months to nine months.
In addition to providing new opportunities for those involved in equine sports, the horse park stimulates Washington’s economy by creating jobs, increasing demand for goods and services, and attracting new tourism.
If you’re interested in hosting an event or just having a relaxing weekend with your friends or family, you can contact the park via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.wahorsepark.org for more information, upcoming events, and additional contact information.
Kim Roe grew up riding on the family ranch and competed in Western rail classes, trail horse, reining, working cow, and hunter/jumper. She trained her first horse for money at 12 years old, starting a pony for a neighbor.
Kim has been a professional dressage instructor in Washington state for over 30 years, training hundreds of horses and students through the levels. In recent years Kim has become involved in Working Equitation and is a small ‘r’ Working Equitation judge with WE United.
Kim is the editor of the Northwest Horse Source Magazine, and also a writer, photographer, and poet. She owns and manages Blue Gate Farm in Deming, Washington where she continues to be passionate about helping horses and riders in many disciplines.