New equestrian center opens in Jackson County
BY SHARON HOGAN
Jackson County officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday at the new Jackson County Equestrian Center on Wheeler Cemetery Road, near Maysville.
The center is a joint effort of the county and Mountain Stream Saddle Club.
Jackson County Parks and Recreation Director Ricky Sanders said he was approached by members of the saddle club last year to see if the county had any property available for an equestrian center. Sanders said the club was put in contact with a family that owned 25 acres adjacent to the Hurricane Shoals property. The club was able to purchase the land and then lease it back to Jackson County for 99 years to use as an equestrian center.
The saddle club paid for the arena and the building and the county helped with the infrastructure, Sanders said. The building and the arena were completed in 12 weeks.
Mountain Stream Saddle Club President Billy Burdette said the club has been located on property in Barrow County since 1983 but that property around them had been built up and members felt like it was time to sell and re-locate. Burdette said a lot of the club members are Jackson County residents.
Burdette said this is a facility that can be used by the county 4-H for events. The equestrian center will be open to the public for riding in the ring from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sundays and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“We will be working on trail areas in the next few weeks,” Burdette said.
Burdette said several events have already been planned at the new facility. The District 4-H Clubs archery shoot will be held on June 21 and July 4th weekend an all youth show will be held for ages up to 19-years-old. The first Saturday of each month, Mountain Stream Saddle Club will hold an open show for anyone that wants to enter.
Burdette said the vision is to get the Jackson County 4-H involved more with horses and to host some bull riding events, rodeos and running shows at the facility.
Sanders said a lot of county departments helped with this project, including: Ricky McElroy, assistant director of park services; Larry Guthrie, county road department; Johnny Weaver, Jackson County Correctional Institute warden; Jerry Lord, county building department; and Marty Rubio, Jackson County building maintenance department.