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The Stables and Arena Association has operated the riding arena since 2008, and it was recommended by staff that it continue to manage the facility. In his report to council, Greg Dobrowolski, deputy chief administrative officer for the City of Dawson Creek, noted the City has received very few complaints from users about the facility, and any defects which have been brought to the attention of the Stables and Arena Association “have been promptly dealt with.” He also noted the Stables and Arena Association has been able to effect repairs and capital projects in the building at less cost than the City is able to do because the volunteer nature of the group encourages local contractors and retailers to do work and provide services also on a non-profit basis.

“In addition, the facility has been well used with a variety of equestrian oriented events happening year round,” noted Dobrowolski in his report.

The Stables and Arena Association is preparing for one such event now – its annual Christmas Extravaganza to be held on Dec. 29. The event is free for the public to attend, and is a showcase of several different equestrian disciplines including jumping, dressage, English and Western pleasure, cutting, roping, breakaway roping, barrel racing, goat tying and drill teams. The showcase will also feature local rider Karla Miese in a freestyle event.

“She will be demonstrating the horse laying down for her, then she gets on, rides it loose and then sends it away and brings it back, and all kinds of fancy movements,” said Helga Morrison, barn manager for the Association and an organizer of the event.

Morrison said the showcase is meant to be a show of appreciation to the City and to taxpayers for making use of the riding arena possible, and to demonstrate to the public just how important the facility is for local youth.

“We need this big arena,” she said. “These are our young and upcoming riders, and this facility will not just be here today, it will be needed forever, and now our kids can actually compete with the southern kids because we have a facility where they can train all through the winter.”

She cited a local team roper who was recently invited to compete for a world championship as an example of the opportunities the riding arena provides. She added that almost all of the money generated from the Association from other events and fees is put back into capital improvements and upgrades to the arena.

The Christmas Extravaganza starts at 6:30 p.m., and for more information on the event, contact the Stables and Arena Association at 250-782-1445. More information on the Association can also be found online at www.lakotacentre.ca.  

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