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Work begins on Earl Warren Showgrounds equestrian projects with hopes for more donations to complete future projects

Earl Warren Showgrounds equestrian area
John Palminteri
Work is underway at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in the equestrian rings and nearby Kramer arena while a master plan for the remaining part of the property is being designed. (Photo: John Palminteri)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The equestrian side of the Earl Warren Showgrounds is getting a major improvement as donations are coming in from a wide range of supporters.

The landmark facility has been in deteriorating condition and a master plan is in the works in the months ahead. That plan is still in the formation stages.

The equestrian community however, has stepped up with a set of projects between now and April that will help return the facility to a condition solid enough for horse events and other related activities.

Currently crews are digging up and and redesigning the horse ring area.

"We're really in a great position. We are making progress and we are on schedule," said Kathy O'Conner with Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evac. 

The organizers say they have been assisted with special pricing rates from Bob's Backhoe and Granite Construction to make the current work possible and go beyond their original budget plan.

Karen Christensen with Equine Evac said, "we expect to have this base torn down in two weeks and built up with a solid hard base that will handle all sorts of events." 

That will mainly be equestrian events with various disciplines but it could also include monster trucks if a proposal works, or other events that have yet to be presented.

Equine Evac says it sees a mutual benefit to the improvements. "Without equine events here, horse shows, we won't be able to be here either. So it was in our best interests to be supportive and help and fundraise and do whatever we can," said O'Conner.

During many of the recent fires in the local area and Ventura County the facility was a primary activation spot for Equine Evac to handle horses and other large animals that were evacuated during the disasters.

Another partner with a $25,000 donation was the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Stock Horse and Rodeo Show. Representative Lisa Novatt sees benefits during their event and year-round from these improvements. "We like the footing that is here we just want to make sure that all of the disciplines have footing that we can all ride on together," she said.

The current project is mainly on the rings, inside the arena and three barns along with the sound system and fencing. More work is ahead on the rest of the barns and judging booths once the next wave of donations comes in.

The Earl Warren Showgrounds is in the 19th Agricultural District. The equestrian facilities were built in 1958.

To make a donation go to: Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evac

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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