Saratoga County

Two-day horse, tack expo to raise Horse Park funds

The two-day Saratoga Horse and Tack Expo opens at 10 a.m. today at the Saratoga Race Course in suppo

The two-day Saratoga Horse and Tack Expo opens at 10 a.m. today at the Saratoga Race Course in support of a horse park that could eventually be located in the town of Wilton.

The expo will include commercial vendors, a horse tack swap meet, silent auctions, a boot fitting clinic and three performances daily by Australian horseman Guy McLean.

Some of the events will be held in the Carousel Pavilion at the historic racetrack on Union Avenue.

Admission will be $5 for adults and $10 for families with children under 12 admitted free. Parking is free.

Plans for the New York Horse Park have been discussed since 2006 with advocates pointing to horse parks in other states, such as the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Va., as having very positive economic impacts on their regions.

Dot Christiansen, board member and secretary for New York Horse Park Inc., headquartered in Saratoga Springs, said her organization is negotiating with landowners for 600 acres on the east side of the Northway between Exits 15 and 16 in the town of Wilton. She would not identify the property owner.

She said her organization would like to have the land acquisition in place by next year or 2013, when the Saratoga Race Course will celebrate its 150th anniversary.

New York Horse Park Inc. is looking for a variety of funding sources, primarily from the private sector, Christiansen said.

New York Horse Park ( is a not-for-profit corporation. Horse park advocates say a large horse park that could accommodate a variety of equestrian events is missing in upstate New York and would provide a major economic benefit to the greater Capital Region and preserve green space at the same time.

McLean, the Australian master horseman, is a performer who works with four horses at the same time.

“He’s just magical in the way he can connect with animals,” Christiansen said. McLean controls his four horses through body language and his voice, she said.

He will provide horse owners with tips on how better to control and manage their horses. He will also recite Australian Bush poetry and give whip-cracking demonstrations.

Christiansen said the expo, which will be held at the Race Course from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, is a fundraiser as well as an “awareness raiser” for New York Horse Park.

The Virginia Horse Center is the site of more than 100 events each year.

The 600-acre horse center has a 4,000-seat indoor arena, eight barns that can accommodate 1,200 horses, 19 show rings and two additional indoor arenas. It is operated as a nonprofit foundation run by a board of directors, according to its website.

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