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Over century-long horse show tradition benefits from million dollar contribution

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- The Santa Barbara National Horse Show wrapped up after 2 weekends at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.

This over-beloved tradition has brought horse enthusiasts from all over Santa Barbara County for over a century.

Equestrian Dana Dalsemer is no exception. She loves these shows and has found refuge riding horses during the pandemic.

“I went every single day because that's where I could go to. So it was a Godsend to have horses during Covid for sure,” said Dalsemer.

Dalsemer wants to bring the same comfort and protection to horses that they brought to her.

She said “This [Earl Warren Showgrounds] is the place where horses come for evacuations when when we have fires. So we have to have this venue. Absolutely have to have it. So it's like two thirds there, but we just need a little bit more.”

More than a million dollars has been put towards renovating the Earl Warren Showgrounds so that horse enthusiasts like Dalsemer can feel safe bringing their majestic creatures to the Santa Barbara landmark.

Dalsemer explained, “People that have very expensive horses don't want to ride in rings that are unsafe.”

Horses can face injuries if the ground they run on isn’t soft enough for landing jumps. Dalsemer believes the million dollar investment for the show grounds benefits everyone.

“Earl Warren can make money because horses come. People want to come. More and more people. And then that’s how we survive,” said Dalsemer.

The love for horses runs deep in Santa Barbara County.

“I grew up as a horse crazy kid and started sweeping barns, cleaning stalls, brushing horses. And now look. A few years later, a horse show manager of one of the most the oldest and most prestigious shows in California” said Santa Barbara National Horse Show Manager Lance Bennett.

The 102 year old tradition continues with a new generation.

“Well, when I'm riding, it feels like I'm the only one there, and it's, like, just really nice,” says 10 year old rider Delaney Jessee.

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.

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