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Facility Update: Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. Horse Complex - Raleigh, NC

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Facility Update: Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. Horse Complex - Raleigh, NC

If you've been to the Hunt Horse Complex recently, hopefully you've noticed some very exciting improvements and additions to the facilities.

Two of the outdoor practice arenas (the one next to Youth Center Road and the one behind the E barn) have been renovated with the installation of underground drainage, laser leveling, positive slope and new footing. Not long after the renovations were made a three inch rain fell in less than an hour with the footing still in great shape to safely ride on immediately afterward. A recent show held hunter classes all day in the E barn arena and showed straight through a 0.6" rain and bragged about how well it held up. Assistant Fair Manager Ray Frost and the Director of Property and Construction for NCDA & CS, Kent Yelverton were impressively effective in coordinating these projects to make this all happen. Plans are being made to renovate the large outdoor arena next as soon as funding becomes available.

There are now four huge 24' diameter fans hanging in the indoor arena. What a huge improvement these make to the comfort level for the exhibitors and show officials on the arena floor. Larry Little, on behalf of the NCQHA, the Tarheel Triple Classic, and the Little Futurity recently worked with Dale Barnett, the new facility manager, to get these fans donated to the facility. Additional fans to help cool the seating and concourse areas and the covered arena are being sought next. Please check out www.bigassfans.com if you are not already familiar with their Powerfoil fans.

As you enter the main arena from the covered arena exhibitors now have a very attractive and safe white powder coated steel plank fence to escort them in, compliments of the Buckley Fence Company. A concrete curb will be installed at the base next to help hold the footing in place and to protect the posts from equipment going in and out of the arenas. This great fencing product can be viewed at www.buckleyfence.com.

An arrangement was recently negotiated by Angie Crone, sponsorship coordinator for the NCSF, with AGCO and Louisburg Tractor for the facility to have the use of a Massey Ferguson cab tractor to work the arenas for a year. The Hunt Horse Complex would like to acknowledge and thank bull riding event promoter, Jeff Mullen (Carousel Farms), for the contact and introduction to Louisburg Tractor (www.louisburgtractor.com) to make this possible. Jeff is also trying to help find a sponsor to upgrade the speakers in the main arena and install an electronic display from the ceiling in the center of the arena to promote our sponsors, and we sure wish him success in pursuit of this request. Anyone that can help with this effort is sure encouraged to do so.

The sponsors and individuals that have helped obtain donated items of significance are just an example of how the industry can get involved to make your facility what you want it to be to better serve your needs. If anyone would like to make a major contribution to the facilities or can help with making contacts with those in a position to do so please let Dale know. The NCSF is in the process of establishing a 501(c)3 foundation to encourage and enhance opportunities for major contributions.

NCSF Manager, Wesley Wyatt, and staff engineer, Bill McClure, recently announced that bids have been awarded to start the construction of the new RV campground on the old "soccer field" where the dressage arenas are located on the hill behind the Hunt Complex. As part of this project a new 230' x 300' dressage and H/J pad (complete with an underground drainage system) will be constructed west of the E barn arena and F barn. The entire area formerly known as "Pitzer's Peak" will be cleared and leveled to provide more parking for trailers at the west end of the Hunt Complex next to the hotel and Backyard Bistro. Speaking of the Backyard Bistro, they are now an official sponsor for the Hunt Horse Complex and the exhibitors are enjoying dining there when showing in Raleigh. Co-owners Joe and Lance both have daughters that ride and show and they are really enjoying the interaction with the exhibitors at both the show grounds and the restaurant. When you go in simply ask to meet them and request their horse show discount for patronizing their business.

Barn repairs are ongoing and the facility continues to ask for everyone's patience while funding is sought for proper renovations. A majority of the shows and exhibitors are asking to have the aisles paved but there is a certain facet of the industry that is strongly against this being done. Everyone agrees that the aisles and stalls need to be free of the red clay, level and more consistently maintained. The Hunt Club's stall grid flooring system is being tested in a few stalls in the A barn, and is on display in the sponsored Barn Master building as a way to accomplish this in the stalls but major funding is needed to make this possible. Please e-mail Dale at dale.barnett@ncagr.gov to let him know what you would like to see done to the aisles and the 484 stalls in the five permanent barns.

It takes a lot of serious money to maintain and expand facilities of this magnitude of course. Over $3.1 million has been invested by the NCSF back into the Hunt Complex for capital projects and improvements alone over the past eleven years. Most of this money has been spent on infrastructure that often goes un-noticed by those using the facility. Current management has identified the need for another $1.5 million just to upgrade the existing facilities. Anyone that would like to see this list is welcome to request this information via e-mail.

The master plans for the NCSF and Hunt Horse Complex, as released by Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, this spring call for a new covered arena at the west end of the facility and an additional barn as high priority once the funding is obtained. These big ticket capital improvements have to be funded from private funds or from legislative appropriations. Anyone interested in supporting this cause is sure encouraged and welcome to get involved! The overall master plan is available to the public and can be requested as well.

Everyone is encouraged to please go out of their way to thank Commissioner Troxler, Chief Deputy Commissioner, David Smith, and Wesley Wyatt to let them know how much all these improvements and plans are appreciated. It is easy to find fault in any facility; they all have needs and none are designed or operated to everyone's exact individual liking. Favorable results will only continue to happen at the Hunt Horse Complex if the industry will remain unified, positive and appreciative of the money and efforts being spent.

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