New horse pens at fairgrounds

 More equine events coming to Simcoe

Three mature trees on the infield at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds were taken down recently to make way for two new pens for horse show purposes. The total value of the upgrade is $100,000. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

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Equestrian events at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds promise to be more frequent now that the fair board is making a substantial investment in new infrastructure.

Three mature trees on the infield were toppled in recent days to make way for two regulation-size pens for show jumping and the like.

The new pens will be located at the north end of the infield next to the Homecraft building. The state-of-the-art pens will replace the one large pen that has been located near the centre of the infield for many years.

“It’s an effort to improve our grounds,” says George Araujo, general manager of the fair.

“They will be more attractive to participants in our horse show and will be available for equine events all through the year. We are determined to re-establish the Norfolk County Fair as the premier horse show. You can’t do that without premium facilities.”

The fair board recently made a major investment in the fairground’s heavy horse barn. The budget for the new pens is $100,000.

The fair learned hard lessons this fall about constant rain and what it can do to the horse show component of the fall classic. Some events were postponed or cancelled because the infield was muddy and provided unstable footing.

The new pens will have much better drainage.

The plan is to excavate the top soil, put down assorted sizes of gravel, and then finish with a top layer of sand. This configuration discourages standing water and will drain quickly after a storm.

The rectangular pens will run in an east-west direction. Araujo said no more trees in the infield will have to come down to accommodate the project. Araujo added his team is always on the lookout for opportunities to plant new trees at the 50-acre property.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

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