CLINTON COUNTY — Saddle up! The largest indoor equestrian sports facility in the world is still growing and adding more exciting features.
The World Equestrian Center — with more than 200,000 square feet of riding space — hosted the Wilmington Spring Classic and an open house for The Paddock Club last weekend. The new gathering space is one of the newest updates the center has seen.
The Paddock Club building had already been there as a banquet hall, but it was revamped to better accommodate the Center’s many visitors, according to Candace FitzGerald, President of Dobbin Group International, a business that specializes in PR and marketing for the equine industry.
It was updated to be a place where attendees can relax, play pool, or enjoy a drink or meal while there.
“We ran 23 weeks of horse shows in the winter. What has ended up happening is that a lot of people ended here and they needed a place to go. Maybe they just want a simple dinner and they have shows to do” and didn’t wish to leave the facility, said FitzGerald.
She noted that people still go into Wilmington to eat and stay; the updates offer some more convenience for them.
One of the goals was to have accommodations for everyone on a team. She estimated that every horse that comes onto the property has three or four people with it.
“They’re on their horses at 6 o’clock in the morning sometimes. So, they have to be close by. Giving them proximity was important to us,” said FitzGerald. “We’ve gotten great feedback. They’re certainly appreciative that they have a brand new place to stay.”
To help with this, the mobile home park across from the Center was purchased and updated. This was done with the help of Charles Lagarce, who also works for the Roberts Centre near U.S. 68 and I-71.
“The equestrian community has embraced it and it will certainly be a big economic engineer for the community, ” said Lagarce.
He said that since others stay in hotels in or around town for an extended period, they’ll spend time and money in Wilmington having fun.
“What it’s done is that it’s brought a lot of people to Wilmington. I wasn’t around back then, but back in its heyday they had shows every week. We’re pretty much back to that,” said Lagarce.
Other lodging options include cabins within walking distance of the arenas and barns. Riders can also bring their own RVs and use one of 98 hookup spaces.
For more information, visit worldequestriancenter.com.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574