The Del Mar Horse Park will not offer boarding or host any horse shows this year. Surprisingly, not because of Covid-19. Instead, the park, located on the San Dieguito River, is closing due to toxic groundwater issues.
According to the parks board of directors, they need to evaluate “the necessary investment required to meet water quality requirements for equestrian activities;” and closing the park will allow them to do that. However the closure was a surprise to many, so many in fact that a petition was started to avoid the it. The petition was addressed to not only the fair board, but also to Gov. Gavin Newsom and, as of today, has amassed 11,561 signatures.
“We would have liked to know that this was actually going to happen and we could have made different arrangements,” said Ellie Hardesty, whose organization has held shows at the park. She noted that shows are planned at least six months in advance.
It has been reported that Fairgrounds staff will attempt to move horse shows to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The staff said the Fairgrounds have undergone upgrades “that can accommodate large-scale equestrian events.”
With that being said, some residents are worried about the loss of revenue that horse shows brought to neighboring businesses. Rochelle Putnam said the closure will be “a huge gap to fill.”
“I’d have to think that provided significant economic boosts to Del Mar and Solana Beach and everything in terms of hotel stays, restaurants, Mary’s Tack and Feed is right there (across the street from the horse park),” she added. “There are a lot of businesses that really benefited from hosting these big, successful horse shows.”