Community gift aids equestrian community

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When the rains struck, it caused houses to flood, roads to wash out and left many temporarily homeless, including a large part of Arvada’s equestrian community.

September’s storms threatened a large part of Arvada’s equestrian community, including the horses boarding at JK Ranch, who had to immediately relocated to safer ground.

For the JK Ranch horses and dozens of others, that safe ground, along with a strong roof and dry stalls, came in the form of Arvada’s new equestrian arena.

“Just being here calmed everyone, the horses and their owners; everyone was happy,” said Arvada’s Manager of Parks, Michael McDonnell.

Arvada’s Indoor Equestrian Center, 7650 Indiana St., was donated in summer of 2012 by Sydney Keith as a gift to the community. It’s the largest single donation the Arvada park system has ever received.

Although the arena wasn’t open for use, with the approval of the Arvada Parks, Golf and Hospitality Director Gordon Reusink, it swiftly became an unexpected shelter and temporary home for those horses that were displaced by flooding.

“It was dark, foggy and raining,” Reusink said. “So they led the horses, one at a time, through the rain to get them here.”

A total of 53 horses were housed at the arena for about a week and a half. Every stall was occupied, and some had to be doubled up.

“That night, we were here and they (the horses) were really talking they were happy to be here,” McDonnell said. “Timing is everything and it worked out really well.”

Prior to the flooding, the Arvada Indoor Equestrian Arena building and property had been undergoing necessary repairs to be readied for use.

The grounds surrounding the arena, which span 7.5 acres, include four structures, a groundskeeper house; two outdoor barns and the main building, the indoor arena. A large arena encompasses the majority of the building, which can be used for training, exercise and shows. Along both sides of the arena are two halls with 33 horse stalls and three tack rooms to house equipment.

The arena remains closed to the public, and while there hasn’t been a final decision regarding the use of the arena, the Arvada Parks and Recreation department’s value input from the community and welcome any ideas, comments or questions regarding the arena and its future use.

Arvada’s irrigation crew supervisor, Wayne Wyatt, who helped at the arena throughout the floods, was grateful to have the space available at this crucial time.

“This is a gift that we received that was great, and having it allowed us to open up and let the community use it,” Wyatt said.

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