Tag Archives: Jacksonville Equestrian Center

After Hosting NTRL Finals, Jacksonville Equestrian Center Gears Up for More Crowd Pleasing Events

Photo courtesy of SDPhoto.

Jacksonville, FL (February 12, 2018) – The momentum remains strong at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center (JEC), a world-class facility that hosts a wide variety of events and leisure gatherings – from equestrian competitions to BMX biking – each year. Over the four days of January 25-28, riders attending the NTRL (National Team Roping League) National Finals got down to business at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, while competing on world-class arena footing and enjoying the many amenities the center has to offer. With over $500,000 in cash and prizes at stake, competitors from around the U.S and the league’s top contenders in the sport of team roping displayed high speed teamwork and “edge of your seat” excitement.

“This was our biggest finals yet!” exclaimed Katie Smith. “We finished the weekend with 2,559 teams, a cash payout of $425,000, and a prize line payout of $90,000. Not only was this the biggest payout yet at the finals, it’s also the largest ever East of the Mississippi.”

After hosting the NTRL Finals at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for 13 straight years, the league remains dedicated to the center. Located about 12 miles east of downtown Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 400-plus permanent stalls and huge indoor coliseum, which includes a 123,000 square foot arena with permanent seating for 3,700, makes the center a perfect choice for NTRL competitions.

“We really love having our finals here,” Smith added. “There are plenty of stalls and RV hookups to accommodate everyone. The whole facility is top notch; the location is central and great for us. We ran a second arena outside this year that allowed us to run more teams in less time. Once that arena is covered, those advantages will become even bigger without the weather factoring in.”

Also held in January, the Pals and Paws Dog Agility Club, a group of dog agility lovers from the Jacksonville, Orange Park, and surrounding areas, came together to enjoy this wonderful canine sport. The club hosts four trials each year – open to all breeds – and has a top-notch practice field for use by members and to host weekly classes. Pals and Paws, which began in the early 1990s, will offer agility enthusiasts another chance to catch the dogs in action at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in late March. As always, spectator admission and parking are free of charge.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center also has a variety of must-see events scheduled during the month of February.  From February 13-15, Construction Career Day, designed to introduce school students to the wide range of career opportunities available to them in the construction industry in a hands-on environment.

For equine enthusiasts, The First Coast Classical Dressage show, a schooling show attended by First Coast group members but open to the general public from 8a.m.-5p.m., will take place in the Dixon Square Arena on Saturday and Sunday, February 17-18. The Florida Paint Horse Club hosts the Zone 9 Southern Classic February 16-18 from 8a.m.-8p.m., featuring horses who display their unique splashes of color and all round athleticism in a variety of classes. Next up is the Florida Reining Horse Association Florida Classic, Feb 21-25, offering Open and Non-pro Derbies as well as many super classes for rookies and green reiners, show times 8 a.m.-8p.m. daily.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center looks forward to welcoming a variety of crowd-pleasing events to its facility throughout the winter and spring months. Plans are also in place to enhance the facility with even more additions and construction projects in the future. The facility hosts a wide range of popular, family-friendly gatherings throughout the year, such as car shows, family fun days, dog agility trials, bicycling events, and equestrian competitions for every breed and riding discipline. For nature lovers, the property also features miles of hiking and riding trails as well as a picnic pavilion.

Known for its extensive amenities and ideal location only a short drive to the city and beautiful beaches, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 80-acre facility includes two outdoor 36,000 square foot show rings, four permanent barns, 422 stalls, 78 full hook up RV spaces, indoor and outdoor vendor spaces, and access to an Olympic sized swimming pool. For more information and to learn more about upcoming events, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4215
tjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Jacksonville Equestrian Center Hosts BrieStrong Memorial Barrel Race in Honor of Brie Ahearn

One of the many riders showing their love of Brie, wearing the BrieStrong shirt rounding the barrel. (Photo courtesy SDPhotography)

Jacksonville, FL (January 22, 2018) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center may be a destination on the map for riders from across the United States, but it still retains the small-town feel loved by the equestrian community that calls Jacksonville, Florida home. This month, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center paid tribute to a young equestrian from its own community who passed away tragically in a car accident last year. The first annual BrieStrong Memorial Barrel Race was produced by No Bull Barrel Races and held on January 12-14.

Brieana (Brie) Taylor Ahearn died at the age of 18 on January 19, 2017. “She was a vibrant, smart, and beautiful lady. She has been barrel racing since she was old enough to sit on a horse, which was her true passion all throughout her life,” Ahearn’s family stated.

Ahearn was known for her fierce bravery around the barrels, strong heart, and determined mind. In addition to racing barrels, she competed in track and weightlifting. She was a senior at Baker County High School at the time of the accident.

At the BrieStrong Memorial Barrel Race, members of the Jacksonville community came together to support Ahearn’s family and celebrate her passion for horses. Show sponsor Rick Horne said, “Brie went to school and rode horses with my daughter. Some of our best friends were the first ones to reach her on the night of the accident. It’s a small town, and we all want to help.”

No Bull Barrel Races was honored to be a part of the tribute through producing another of the company’s well-known races. Winners included Ashley Davis, who raked in prize money throughout the weekend, and Jamie Hodges, who won the WBRL Futurity.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center made the perfect location for the union of a competitive barrel show and a memorial for one of Jacksonville’s own star barrel racers. The spacious facility was glad to be a part of honoring Brie Ahearn’s memory and sharing comfort and sympathy with her family and the entire local equestrian community.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center will continue to host equestrian events for all disciplines throughout the rest of the year, including the Gypsy Vanner National Championship, Florida Feathered Horse Classic, Special Olympics, and Team Roping Finals, which all take place this month. To find out more about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4215
tjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Tim Jones Takes the Helm as New Executive Director of Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Jacksonville, FL (January 3, 2018) — The Jacksonville Equestrian Center grounds first got its start as a former U.S. Naval base. When the Navy closed down the base, they donated 2,000 acres of forestland to the city of Jacksonville, earmarked for a regional recreational park. The city then created an 80-acre, world-class equestrian center on the property, capable of hosting many kinds of events and often has multiple events simultaneously.

The task of running the versatile, multi-faceted facility in Jacksonville, Florida is now in the capable hands of Tim Jones. Although Jones spent the last several years in Kentucky horse country, he is happy to now call the warmth and balmy beauty of the sunshine state of Florida home.

Jones graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture (agronomy/animal science). “I grew up on a farm in far western Kentucky,” he drawled softly. “But I really did not become involved with horses until I attended The University of Kentucky where I began working part-time on a local Thoroughbred farm to help pay for college.” After starting off hot-walking racehorses, an enthusiastic Jones began to learn the horse business from the ground up. He went on to become a groom, and then an exercise rider.

After a short stint as an assistant farm manager in Ohio, Jones moved back to the Lexington area as the event-coordinator of the legendary Kentucky Horse Park. “Although my position at the park wasn’t hands-on with horses any longer, I was heavily involved with the Mounted Police unit there and was fortunate to ride with them on several occasions, including a musical ride and many public relations functions.” It was at the Kentucky Horse Park that Jones learned about the horse show industry. “I loved the job, and I grew with the department during the next 17 years. We added rings and barns, and it was a really good time to be there.”

Next up for Jones was a seven-year stint as the director of Western Kentucky University’s Agricultural Expo Center in Bowling Green, where he was in charge of the operation of a climate-controlled 2,000-seat indoor arena, an outdoor arena and event stabling. “The Expo Center hosts a number of equestrian and livestock events annually,” Jones explained, “as well as providing classroom and support to the Agriculture Department of the University.” Bowling Green was a much smaller facility, and he says he “missed the larger events at a place like the Kentucky Horse Park.”

“So that’s what brought me to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center,” explained Jones. “More than anything, I like diversity and the variety of lots of different events. Horse shows have similar aspects but there are differences. A barrel racing competition is different from a dressage show, which is different from a hunter/jumper show, which is decidedly different from dog agility. Every day is different.” Then he happily added, “I’m definitely excited about not having to put my snow-and-ice-removal skills to the test!”

Jones’ vast experience will serve him well as he heads up the exciting new phase of construction at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Ground breaking will commence next month for an additional covered arena and cattle cover to complement the 5000-seat indoor coliseum, stadium jumping field, four permanent barns, and seven outdoor arenas The Jacksonville Equestrian Center staff has already developed a reputation for hosting family-friendly exciting events all year round, with most events open to the public. The facility is a favorite destination not only for horse lovers and competitors, but also for recreational events that take advantage of miles of hiking and riding trails, a picnic pavilion and even an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool center abutting the equestrian facility.

For more information about the facility and to find out about upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or Tim Jones at (904) 255-4225.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones 904-255-4225
timjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Dressage on the First Coast Kicks Off December Events at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Shelly Van Den Neste and The Governer SRF. (Photo courtesy of Shelly Van Den Neste)

Jacksonville, FL (December 11, 2017) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center recently began an eclectic month of events with the Dressage on the First Coast Fall Show this December. The show was put on by the Northeast Florida Dressage Association, and featured nearly 40 classes ranging from Training Level through Grand Prix. Riders competed for top scores in the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s beautiful outdoor show rings.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center has been known for years as a host of successful dressage shows in Florida. “The staff was professional and on the ball,” said show manager Carlie Evans. Organizations like the Northeast Florida Dressage Association benefit from the facility’s knowledgeable staff, first-class amenities, over 400 permanent stalls, superior arena footing, and close proximity to major highways, downtown Jacksonville, and sunny Florida beaches.

At the Dressage on the First Coast Fall Show, the horses arrived at the equestrian center for a weekend of fun and friendly competition.  “We received lots of great comments on the facility from the old regulars and a few new people that had never been there before that said they will definitely come back,” said Evans.  Winner of the FEI Freestyle Test of Choice, Shelly Van Den Neste, said that “the Jacksonville Equestrian Center has always been one of my favorite but the outdoor arena is so much better now with the new all-weather footing!”  Van Den Neste rode The Governer SRF to a win with a score of 67.525.  The show included Great American/USDF Regional Qualifying classes, USDF/Dover Adult Amateur Medal Program classes, and a USEF Dressage Level 3 Competition. Now that the show has concluded, the Northeast Florida Dressage Association plans to return to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in March 31 – April 1, 2018, for the Dressage on the First Coast Spring Show.

In an East meets West scenario the Jacksonville Equestrian Center also hosted the Florida Quarter Horse Association (FQHA) Last Chance show in their beautiful 150’ x 300’ indoor arena.  The event featured two days of competition ranging from trail classes to driving for juniors, amateurs and professionals alike.  This show was the last show of the calendar year to earn points and double points towards the year end awards.

The month will finish up with Community Schooling Day on December 27, which horses and riders are welcomed from 10am – 4pm to ride in the state-of-the-art indoor arena for a fee of $10 per rider ($20 if the rider has more than one horse).

Nearly every event at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is free to spectators. To find out more about the facility and about upcoming events in December and throughout 2018, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Summer Sizzles with Fun Family Events This July at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL –The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is turning up the summer heat through the rest of July with a sizzling lineup of exciting events that are fun for the whole family. Sparking things off on July 15th is the Jacksonville All Breed Open Horse Show. Sponsored by Holmes Ranch, this show offers all the favorite classes including Open Halter, Showmanship, Hunter Classes, Western Classes, Gaited, Saddleseat, Trail Classes, Dressage and Western Dressage. Kids 7 & under are able to show their stuff as well in the Walk Classes including lead-line and walk equitation. The show runs from 8am – 5pm, and AQHA/ARHA/Breed Specific rules apply to applicable classes.

The following week, take advantage of the chance to spend a cool summer evening with fellow equestrians in the spacious main arena on Tuesday, July 18th, in the Community Night Schooling program. The program runs from 3pm – 8pm and costs only $10 per horse. After that, things will heat back up again at the Jacksonville facility with a different kind of Horsepower. The 3rd Annual Rollin Sound & #GetLikeHeather Car Show and dB Drag on Saturday, July 22nd provides the opportunity to see Hot-Rods and Muscle Cars and hear some hot tunes like never before! Car Show classes include Best of Truck/SUV, Mini Truck, Import, Domestic, Exotic, Lights, Paint, Donks, Bike, and Best of Show. Be sure to stick around for the chance to participate and cheer on your favorite for the Crowd Pick award as well. Spectator parking is only $5, and goodies will be handed out to the first 100 people. Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the day for $1. The show starts at 10am and trophies and raffle will be awarded at 4:30pm.

July at the JEC then wraps up on Tuesday, July 25th with the rare opportunity to see some of the best Belgian Warmblood Horses in North America at the N.A. Division’s Belgian Warmblood Inspection Tour. This spectacular event runs from 7:30am – 1:00pm and gives Belgian owners and breeders the opportunity to register their youngsters and certify mares and stallions, demonstrating that they meet strict guidelines for conformation, performance, and breeding standards within the registry.

The event will be the sixth stop in the fifteen-city breed inspection tour, which is conducted by the Belgian Warmblood Breeding Association’s North American Division. Executive director, Chris Sallee, is excited to host the event at the Jacksonville facility this year. Sallee stated: “After doing some research, we knew it was the obvious choice for our keuring event in Florida. The facility is unbeatable – it has all the amenities you could ever ask for when hosting an event like this.”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center looks forward to welcoming these sizzling summer events to its world-class facility. In addition to these exciting and fun summer events, plans are also in place to enhance the world-class Jacksonville facility with even more additions and construction projects set to take place over the coming months. The facility hosts a wide range of popular family-friendly events throughout the year, such as horse shows, recreational events, car shows, family fun days, dog agility trials, and equestrian events for every breed and riding discipline. For nature lovers, the property also features miles of hiking and riding trails as well as a picnic pavilion.

Known for its extensive amenities and ideal location only a short drive to the city and beautiful beaches, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 80-acre facility includes two outdoor 36,000 square foot show rings, four permanent barns, 422 stalls, 78 full hook up RV spaces, indoor and outdoor vendor spaces, and an Olympic sized swimming pool. For more information and to find out about other exciting upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Jacksonville Fall Festival

Get ready for Indoors & Medal Finals at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center!

September 21-24, 2017
USEF “A” Rated

This show will feature special classes and classics that will capitalize use of the facility’s turf field and enormous indoor coliseum, making it perfect prep for the upcoming indoor shows.

USHJA Handy Hunter Challenge
Hunter Classics on the Turf Field
Jumper Classics
Hunter & Pony Hunter Breeding
Extensive use of the Coliseum
Perfect Indoor Prep

Alexious Gamel Newman
Business Development
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
904.993.2053
alexisgnewman@gmail.com

Florida’s Belgian Warmblood Inspection to Be Held at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy Belgian Warmblood North American Division.

Jacksonville, FL (July 5, 2017) — This July, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will welcome the area’s newest batch of superior Belgian Warmblood horses as the southernmost stop on the Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s Keuring Inspection Tour. Set to take place at the prestigious Jacksonville, Florida facility on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, the event will give owners and breeders the opportunity to register their youngsters and certify mares and stallions, demonstrating that they meet strict guidelines for conformation, performance, and breeding standards within the registry.

The event will be the sixth stop in the fifteen-city breed inspection tour, which is conducted by the Belgian Warmblood Breeding Association’s North American Division. Noted Belgian Warmblood judge, Boudewijn Schepers, will be judging the keuring tour for the eighth consecutive year, and will be joined by Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s Board Chair, Kelly Gordon, at the Jacksonville event. The event will include breed inspections and registration for mares aged 3-6, mares aged 7+, colts, fillies, yearlings, 2-year-olds, and stallions.

Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s executive director, Chris Sallee, is excited to host the event at the Jacksonville facility this year. Sallee stated: “After doing some research, we knew it was the obvious choice for our keuring event in Florida. The facility is unbeatable – it has all the amenities you could ever ask for when hosting an event like this. The spacious indoor arena also allows for us to host free jumping classes, which is perfect.”

Sallee went on to explain how breeders and owners alike will benefit from attending this year’s keuring event: “Our judge, Boudewijn, is very helpful to our breeders in offering individualized breeding advice for each mare, and is helpful in securing semen for our breeders in Europe that is not offered in the U.S. He also helps to keep our breeders up to date on the latest breeding trends, and up and coming young stallions to utilize.”

The keuring, or breed inspection, is set to begin early in the morning, when inspectors will obtain DNA samples from mares and foals, as well as take note of their markings. DNA is obtained to create permanent DNA markers for each foal, as well as for parent verification. Next, owners will formally present each horse in front of a panel of judges in the facility’s indoor 123,000 square foot coliseum. Mares will be shown in hand with a bridle, while foals will be stood up for an evaluation of conformation, and then shown at liberty without their halters, and with their dams. Yearlings will be shown in halter or bridle, and 2-year-olds and stallions will be shown in bridle.

During the keuring, judges will watch each horse carefully, making a thorough assessment of soundness, movement, and conformation, evaluating their potential to perform at the highest levels of international sport. At the end of the presentations, mares and stallions may advance to the Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s studbook registry, while “premiums” are given to the youngest horses and “predicates” can be given to all horses.

Attendees are highly encouraged to have their foals micro chipped prior to the keuring to ensure that their microchip numbers accompany their registration to Belgium, as well as their lifetime US Equestrian registration. Micro chipping will also be available at the event for a $30 fee. Free jumping will be set up for stallion inspections, and will be available to other horses as well. Attendees will have the opportunity to work with expert free jumping instructor and judge Boudewijn Schepers to learn and practice the correct way to school horses to jump for a $75 fee.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center looks forward to welcoming the area’s newest group of Belgian Warmbloods and their owners to its world-class facility. Known for its extensive amenities and convenient location, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s 80-acre facility includes two outdoor 36,000 square foot show rings, four permanent barns, 422 stalls, 78 full hook up RV spaces, indoor and outdoor vendor spaces, and an Olympic sized swimming pool.

The facility hosts a wide range of popular family-friendly events throughout the year, including horse shows, recreational events, car shows, family fun days, dog agility trials, and equestrian events for every breed and riding discipline. For nature lovers, the property also features miles of hiking and riding trails as well as a picnic pavilion.

You can find out more about the Belgian Warmblood North American Division’s breeding standards and procedures at www.belgianwarmblood.com. Attendees can also take advantage of a special discounted rate at the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Hotel, the official hotel of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Those interested in booking a room for the event can do so at the following link: Book your group rate for Belgian Warmblood Inspection.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, Florida, and is located just minutes away from popular beaches and the downtown Jacksonville area. For more information about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, and to find out about other upcoming events at the facility, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Drill Team National Championships at Jacksonville Equestrian Center Promises Exciting Performances

Photo courtesy of the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

Jacksonville, FL (June 15, 2017) — This weekend, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is proud to host the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association (SEMDTA) National Open Drill Team Championships – a competition full of exciting choreographed equine performances. This will be SEMDTA’s fourth National Championship, and the first one held at the expansive Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida. The event will be open to the public on June 16-17, and offers free parking and spectator admission.

Spectators can expect to see drill teams of all experience levels perform synchronized movements to music on their horses. An additional Theme Division will include costumes that correspond with teams’ music choices. The mounted competition will feature beautiful horses and talented riders with flags and costumes, who will compete in high-speed routines for National Championship titles.

According to the Linda Heusner, Executive Director of the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association, participation is largely youth-based and the association offers youth, walk-trot, and 4-H/FFA divisions. The association offers adult and open divisions, as well. “This is mostly a youth sport, but we are beginning to get some adult teams to participate,” Heusner said.

The SEMDTA holds competitions throughout the year, offering classes in divisions such as Color Guard, Freestyle, Theme, and Rodeo. At this year’s National Championships, teams across age and class divisions will compete for awards and national titles.

“I am always looking for different venues to encourage teams from other states to come participate,” Heusner said. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center seemed the perfect choice for this year’s National Championships, with its expansive riding arenas, over 400 permanent stalls, a huge indoor coliseum that includes a 123,000 square foot arena, full RV hookups, riding trails, and plenty of additional space for venders and concessions.

Heusner’s love for drill team riding began when she worked with the Georgia Horse Council and organized drill team competitions. Even after leaving the council, she continued organizing the drill team events. “I have been with SEMDTA for about five years,” Heusner said. “I love doing it because I love the youth participating and coming together as a team. I have watched many young people grow up in drill, and I have made some great and long-lasting friendships through drill.

This weekend at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, a total of 61 horses and 58 riders will make up the 12 drill teams competing for National Championship titles. Competition begins at 2:00 pm on Friday, June 16, and is expected to last until about 5:00 pm on that day. The excitement will resume at 9:00 am on Saturday, June 17, and the show will conclude with an award ceremony at about 3:00 pm.

Other upcoming equestrian events at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center include the Summer Dressage Schooling Challenge Showposium from June 23-25, presented by the First Coast Classical Dressage Society. This event will include a Classical Dressage Clinic with judge Brian MacMahon and schooling show classes. After that, the facility will host an All-Breed Horse Show on July 15, open to a variety of equestrians.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center also offers non-equine-oriented amenities and plays host to exciting, family-friendly events throughout the year, utilizing every aspect of the expansive grounds for recreational and social events. With an indoor swimming pool, an 18-hole golf course, and other sporting facilities adjacent to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, it’s a popular destination all summer long.

Sprawling over 80 acres and easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center also features access to miles of hiking and riding trails and a picnic pavilion. For more information and to find out about the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association’s National Championships and other upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Crowds Flocked to Jacksonville Equestrian Center for Extreme Mustang Makeover

Photo courtesy of Christine Rose Photography.

Jacksonville, FL (May 26, 2017) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was packed with both people and horses for the facility’s first-ever Free Family Fun Day and the return of the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition. Saturday, May 20, saw a crowd of approximately 200 gathered to enjoy the wild mustangs, a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, a vintage mustang car show, pony rides, a petting zoo, Gator Country 99.9 FM’s live radio show with prizes, and the nearby Olympic-sized swimming pool. The evening brought another crowd to the Jacksonville, Florida recreational facility for the popular Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Finale show.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a unique competitive event produced by the non-profit organization Mustang Heritage Foundation. Trainers are given 100 days to turn an American Mustang from wild to mild. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s beautiful facility was the perfect venue for trainers to compete for cash and prizes while displaying the trainability of American Mustangs in hopes of finding a suitable adopter for each Mustang entered. During the Top Ten Freestyle Finale, the trainer and Mustang pairs who scored highest in the weekend’s competition so far put it all on the line for the grand prize. Spectators cheered them on as they performed everything from standing in the saddle to mounted shooting to jumping obstacles.

Many of the Mustang trainers felt that the experience changed them just as much as it changed the Mustangs. “It made me start from scratch,” stated Ashley Mancuso, a trainer from Tallahassee, Florida. “I had to think about the communication I was giving to the horse because these Mustangs come to us never being touched before. So, everything they become is really what we are.”

This year’s Extreme Mustang Makeover champion, and winner of the $25,000 prize, was trainer Marsha Hartford-Sapp, who competed for her 8th consecutive year in this challenging event. She also won the champion title last year at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. “The learning process that I get from every horse motivates me,” she explained. “For me to have an avenue where I can learn so much as a trainer, and make myself better as a trainer, and help a horse at the same time, is really a phenomenal opportunity.”

Hartford-Sapp won this year with the mare Chason Dreams. “I am so proud of this exceptional mare, who was nothing short of remarkable the whole weekend! She made my heart swell in the freestyle with how brave she was in the crowds and noise, and how much she tried for me.” Hartford-Sapp went on to say that Chason Dreams won another big prize by being adopted by her new owner, Cynthia Smoot, at the auction held directly after the Top Ten Freestyle Finals. “Cynthia was able to meet Dream on Friday before the competition, and their energy together was fabulous! I am so excited for the partnership, and I am beyond honored to be asked to continue training Dream for her new owner.” Hartford-Sapp is the owner and head trainer at Southern Oaks Equestrian Center in Tallahassee.

Photo courtesy of JRPR

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was thrilled to host the Extreme Mustang Makeover to help bring awareness to the public about wild Mustangs and Mustang adoption. This year, even more people in the local community had a chance to meet the Mustangs as part of the Free Family Fun Day that the facility held in conjunction with the event.

Many Family Fun Day attendees enjoyed the chance to meet a different kind of Mustang, as the Jacksonville Mustang Car Club brought a bright array of unique Mustang vehicles to the grounds. Kids spent the day riding ponies, petting farm animals, jumping in a bounce house, and getting their faces painted. Lucky families went home with prizes distributed by Gator Country 99.9 FM, including buy-one-get-one-free horseback riding coupons for the nearby Diamond D ranch, concert tickets, and tickets to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Final.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is known as a family-favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events all year long. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

For more information and to find out about other exciting upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Free Family Fun Day and Extreme Mustang Makeover at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy of JRPR.

Jacksonville, FL (May 19, 2017) — The public is invited to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida Saturday, May 20, for a day packed full of free activities for the entire family. The final day of the Extreme Mustang Makeover will be held simultaneously at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, with several free events leading up to the Top 10 Freestyle Finals (a ticketed event on Saturday evening).

The exciting Free Family Fun Day will kick off early on May 20 at 8:00 am, when the Jacksonville Mustang Car Club will drive up to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in unique mustang vehicles. Over fifteen mustangs will be on display during the event, alongside another type of mustangs – horses. The famous Extreme Mustang Makeover will introduce spectators to wild mustang horses who have spent the past 100 days with a trainer to prepare for the weekend’s competition.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is open to the public at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center from May 18-20. From 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on May 20, the Extreme Mustang Makeover trail class and freestyle competition for youth trainers and their mustangs will take place.

Cool down in an Olympic-sized pool adjacent to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center anytime from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on May 20, when the Cecil Aquatics Center will be open for swimming. There will be a $1.00 fee for Duval country residents, and a $1.50 fee for all other swimmers.

At noon, the festivities will jump into full swing with a free bounce house, free petting zoo, free pony rides, free face painting, free balloon animals, and a free magic show. These kid-friendly events will wrap up at 4:00 pm.

Jacksonville’s popular radio station Gator Country 99.9 FM will arrive on site at 1:00 pm. Gator Country’s Matt Basford will broadcast live until 3:00 pm, offering plenty of prizes. Prizes will include buy-one-get-one-free horseback riding coupons for the nearby Diamond D ranch, concert tickets, tickets to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Final on Saturday night, and more – so make sure to stop by to see Matt!

From 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, the horses and trainers from the Extreme Mustang Makeover will be in the Jacksonville Equestrian Center barns, ready to greet anyone interested in meeting real mustangs face-to-face.

At 4:45 pm, doors will open to the facility’s enormous indoor coliseum for the much-anticipated Extreme Mustang Makeover Top 10 Freestyle Finals. The mustang and trainer pairs selected as competition finalists will perform amazing and entertaining feats in front of the crowd, vying for the winning title. Tickets to this event will be available at the door and are also available online at https://tix.extremetix.com/webtix/4300/event/69306. Tickets are $15.00 plus tax. Veterans will receive a $5.00 discount, and children under five years old are free.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is pleased to offer the local community a day packed full of activities and exhibitions on Saturday, May 20. To learn more about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, which is home to community, recreational, and equestrian events year-round, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Alexis Newman at (904) 993-2053.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221