Collingwood, Ontario – Originally scheduled to move to its new location at Thornbury Horse Park in 2007, the two-week Collingwood Horse Show has announced that it will remain in Collingwood, ON, for its 21st anniversary.
The Collingwood Horse Show features the ‘Collingwood Festival’ from August 8-12 and the ‘Kubota Collingwood Classic’ from August 15-19 and attracts international-calibre show jumping competitors including Olympic, World Championship and Pan American Games veterans.
“Our decision to remain in Collingwood for one more year is due to a very dry spring that impacted the development of the turf at Thornbury Horse Park,” explained two-time Canadian Olympian Jay Hayes, President of Cedar Run Corp and Collingwood Horse Show. “A five-week draught meant that the grass failed to germinate in some of the periphery areas of the Park. For the safety of the horses as well as for the comfort of the competitors, vendors and spectators, we felt it was necessary to make this decision.”
Turf or ‘footing’ is one of the biggest concerns in international show jumping sport as jumping obstacles set in excess of five feet in height on poor turf increases the potential for horse injury. Only a handful of top show jumping venues in Canada feature grass footing, which was used at the 2004 Olympic Games and 2006 World Championships, placing Thornbury Horse Park among an elite group.
“The delay only means that, on opening day, the Thornbury Horse Park will be at its very, very best,” noted real estate developer Peter Lush of Lush Realty. “I am very excited about what we have created in our equestrian centre and village in Thornbury.”
In consultation with all major stakeholders including the Town of Collingwood, the Town of the Blue Mountains, presenting sponsors and supporters, the Collingwood Horse Show made the decision to stage its 21st edition on the driving range of the Dunn property in Collingwood, ON, adjacent to Fisher Field, pending Town of Collingwood special event permit approval.
“Thanks to the Town of Collingwood, most notably Peter Dunbar, Director of Leisure Services, and Larry Dunn of Linksview Corp., we have the opportunity to remain in Collingwood for one more year,” said Hayes. “We could have moved the show to another location outside of the Collingwood area, but out of consideration for our exhibitors and the economic impact that the horse show has on the community, we felt it was important to find a local solution.”
John Gilliland, National Marketing Manager for Kubota Canada, Ltd., presenting sponsor of the ‘Kubota Collingwood Classic’, added, “Kubota Canada Ltd. fully understands and supports the site change from the Thornbury Horse Park for 2007. I have been personally watching the progress at the new location and I am genuinely excited for this world-class facility. We look forward to seeing the riders, horses, trainers, coaches, owners and visitors during the two weeks in August.”
Despite a change of plans for 2007, Hayes is looking forward to the completion of Thornbury Horse Park, which he has developed in partnership with Peter Lush, and the subsequent debut of the Collingwood Horse Show. To date, over $5 million has been invested in the facility with another $1.5 million earmarked for the second phase of construction.
“Work on the Thornbury Horse Park has gone extremely well and the venue is truly spectacular,” noted Hayes of the equestrian facility that will feature three Grand Prix rings, four hunter rings, an indoor arena, 20 paddocks, and 300 permanent stalls plus temporary stabling for an additional 1,400 horses. “Our reason for delaying the horse show’s debut for one year was not due to a lack of effort, money or planning, only that it would have been a bit premature. We want everything to be perfect when the Horse Park opens its gates.”
People will have a chance to tour Thornbury Horse Park during an open house and cocktail reception held during the Collingwood Horse Show. Located in the Town of Blue Mountains just 16 km west of the former Collingwood Horse Show location, the Thornbury Horse Park is a 250-acre equestrian community featuring a state-of-the-art horse facility combined with residential condominiums as well as club amenities under one management and ownership umbrella. Over 60 memberships have already been committed and that number is expected to reach 100 during the Collingwood Horse Show.
As always, the Collingwood Horse Show will showcase the highest standard of show jumping competition. During the ‘Collingwood Festival’, the focus during the week will be on the hunter classes while the weekend will feature show jumping competition with courses designed by Rick Smith. The ‘Kubota Collingwood Classic’, part of the Kubota Cup Show Jumping Series, will feature one of the richest show jumping weekends in Canada with the $50,000 Miele Grand Prix held on Saturday, August 18 and the $60,000 Kubota Cup Grand Prix on Sunday, August 19. The courses will be designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, who will have just completed his duties as course designer at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.