to serve the region
County horse enthusiasts
eager for facility to open
Helen E. McKinney
Kentucky Edition Cover
(February 2009) Betsy Webb has spent the past four
years planning a state-of-the-art Louisville Equestrian Center that
would serve the region. Finally, she is about to see her dream of operating
such a facility come true.
The Louisville Equestrian Center, now under construction in eastern
Jefferson County, will be geared toward the rider, said
Webb. She first opened Betsy Webb Stables LLC in 1999 on 22 leased acres
at 11950 Ellingsworth Lane, located off Blankenbaker Parkway near I-64.
This property was sold in 2005, and Webb moved her stables to rental
property at 4700 Routt Rd., near Fisherville. As a saddlebred trainer,
she offers riding lessons, plays host to horse shows and organizes a
large day camp every summer.
Her stables will become part of the new Louisville Equestrian Center,
located at 2612 S. English Station Rd. The center will be adjacent to
the 21st Century Parks project along the Floyds Fork Corridor.
This center is being designed as a year-round facility able to accommodate
100 horses and 500 clients in the saddlebred community.
Webb said she believes the Louisville area is underserved with equestrian
facilities for providing riding lessons and a space for people to enjoy
horses. Many of the existing facilities are older, and this will be
a brand new one with new amenities. She will be the president and CEO
of the Louisville Equestrian Center.
The center will include two large indoor riding arenas, a viewing area,
lounge, boarding facilities, storage areas and a barn with 100 climate-controlled
stalls. It will have the capacity to play host to social and corporate
events for large crowds, said Webb. Equestrian brokerage and national
horse show management services will be available.
In October, developers purchased the 28 acres of land on English Station
Road for $811,000 and began construction in December. Greenberg Development
Corp. is managing the construction project, which is being financed
by local investors. The center is expected to be completed by April
1, said Webb.
renditions show what the
future Louisville Equestrian Center
will look like when it is completed
in eastern Jefferson County.
Estimated cost for the project is $3.4 million. Capital
has been provided through a combination of private financing, sponsorships,
structured real estate leverage and SBA financing through Commonwealth
Small Business Development Corp. and Farmers Bank & Capital Trust
of Frankfort, Ky. Pallas Partners Inc. is the lead financial and strategic
advisor for the project.
Matthew Saltzman, CEO and managing partner of Pallas Partners Inc.,
said his firm was brought into the deal by the developer to help
assist Betsy in developing a strategic plan, creating the financing
package, and helping to execute the business plan after funding.
Polo Fields Development Corp. is the architect for this project. The
area absolutely needs a top level equestrian center, and Betsy is well
positioned to fulfill that need, said Saltzman.
He said the project is unique in that it is family oriented, open
to riders and families of all ages and abilities, affordable and will
sit in the center of a brand new park system with a state of the art
Webb said such amenities as paved walking paths and a lounge and viewing
area with closed-circuit video, are family-friendly and perks that will
set the center apart from other equestrian facilities. Mothers or siblings
can relax in the lounge while children take lessons.
With everybody so busy in the world today and Louisvilles strong
horse tradition, Webb said such an Equestrian Center was definitely
needed in the area. By being right off of the Gene Snyder Freeway, its
close proximity to Oldham County will benefit Oldham County residents,
I think the Equestrian Center is a great economic development
and tourism opportunity for Oldham County, said Deana Epperly
Karem, executive director of the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce.
As a business, it adds jobs, and as an attraction, it brings in
tourism. It would also offer businesses and groups a venue to
gather in and improve Oldham Countys quality of life, said Karem.
I think this would attract Oldham Countians, particularly if the
arena is large enough, said Oldham County Judge-Executive Duane
Murner. If not, then I would still like to see an arena built
in Oldham County.
Murner is referring to an all-weather equestrian arena that he would
like to see built in Oldham County because of the impact it would have
on regional tourism. Many in the community back this plan, but the opportunity
to build such a structure has not presented itself yet.
The potential for an Oldham County Equine Center remains
valid, according to Doug Wampler, executive director for Oldham Ahead.
I hope that the county government, the Oldham County equine community,
and the Fair Board can refocus on this initiative in 2009 and produce
the financial details that will support the feasibility of an equine
center as an economic stimulus for the county, he said.
The Equestrian Center on English Station Road looks wonderful,
but it appears to be designed solely for saddlebreds, said Murner,
a horse farm owner himself. He pointed out that a saddlebred arena is
long and narrow and would not be suitable for other breeds, especially
for gaming purposes, such as barrel racing, stakes racing and other
In addition to saddlebreds, Oldham Countians raise Arabians, Quarter
Horses, Appaloosas, Morgans, Miniatures and Paints. The variety of breeds
calls for an equestrian center with a variety of amenities and uses,
Murner conceded that if Webb constructs a full arena, it would
work very well for all exhibiting and would be a great addition to the
area. Plans call for 100 stalls, which Murner believes is not
enough to handle an extended three to four day show. All of our
pro-formas were done with a minimum of 400 stalls, and I think this
is what it would take.
Angela Ariatti of Ariatti Equestrian Services in Skylight, Ky., said
any type of equestrian center is only going to help the industry.
For eight years, Ariatti has operated her business at the 45-acre Alta
Vista Farms, owned by Mary Lowry. Ariatti has more than 20 years of
equestrian teaching experience.
She said an equestrian center in Oldham County would be a positive thing
but not likely to happen any time soon. She cited the Lexington Horse
Park as a large endeavor that is not supported by the state but rather
by many private patrons. Many of these individuals are from Oldham County,
Ariatti said, and she cant see them investing more of their money
in another facility in Oldham County.
But Lowry said things are starting to move forward for some
type of equestrian center in Oldham County. Lowry believes the holdup
has been the availability of land and a question of where exactly such
a facility should be located.
Lowry said an equestrian facility in Oldham County would require more
land than Webbs center. Saddlebreds are just one discipline,
said Lowry, with minimal impact. A facility in Oldham County needs to
accommodate other breeds to be accessible to a wide range of people.
For now, Oldham Countians will have to travel into Jefferson County
to the nearest equestrian center, once Webbs center is complete.
But that isnt so bad, say those horse enthusiasts who are familiar
with her work.
Webb often brings people into the horse business, said Ariatti.
She is the best public relations person in our industry. The Louisville
Equestrian Center will be a big benefit to the area.
Watch for more information on the Louisville
Equestrian Center at: www.LouisvilleEquestrianCenter.com.
Back to February 2009