Palgrave, Ontario – Hundreds of competitors will flock to the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament taking place September 21 to 26 at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON, bringing with them much more than just horses and hopes of winning. Their patronage at area hotels, restaurants and other businesses also brings a major boost to the local economy, which accounts for more than $110 million annually.
A recent commissioned study entitled ‘Economic Contribution of the Horse Industry - Town of Caledon & Caledon Equestrian Park’ found that competition at the Caledon Equestrian Park accounted for $110,900,000 dollars in annual revenue for the surrounding communities. That revenue comes both directly, through products and services bought by competitors, and indirectly, through the growth of the equine industry as a whole in the neighbouring areas.
A total of 16 events are held annually at the Caledon Equestrian Park, with the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament being the grand finale each September. As one of the busiest competition sites in Canada, the Caledon Equestrian Park has built a reputation as one of the best equestrian sport venues in the country and is a vital part of the local community.
“We’ve always felt that we have had a significant impact within the local community, as well as within the horse community as whole,” says Craig Collins, Managing Partner of Equestrian Management Group (EMG), which operates the Caledon Equestrian Park. “It’s nice to have an outside source come in and confirm that we have been correct in saying that we have impacted the local community in a positive way.”
Produced by Vel Evans of Strategic Equine Inc. on behalf of EMG, the report determined that around 2,500 unique horse and rider combinations compete at the Caledon Equestrian Park each year, with the majority attending an average of four events annually. It also found that events held at the Park make up approximately 50% of the competitions attended by those same horse-rider combinations in a single year.
“It’s all about location, location, location,” explains Collins of the Park’s popularity. “When we were first getting started 20 and even 10 years ago, we were considered to be too far from the city. Now we are a beautiful green space right in the heart of it all. Since many of our competitors are local, they get to go home at night and sleep in their own beds.”
More than 85% of Caledon Equestrian Park competitors come from a broad region surrounding the venue, including the cities of Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, Peterborough, Brantford and other municipalities within the Greater Toronto Area. But it’s more than just the venue’s location, conveniently situated 45 minutes north of Toronto, which draws competitors and spectators alike.
“The Park is horse, competitor and spectator friendly,” says Collins. “The footing in all of the competition rings is very, very good and the stables and all the other amenities we’ve built, like the hot-water wash racks, the increased ring capacity and the restaurant, are all factors in why people want to come here.”
Competitions at the Park have also contributed to the growth of the horse industry as a whole in surrounding areas. The report shows that of the more than 200,000 horses in Ontario, 165,000 of them can be found in areas surrounding the Caledon Equestrian Park, accounting for more than 1.8 million acres of land.
“As far as real estate goes, the number of horse properties purchased in our area is gigantic,” says Collins. “We know a lot of people that have purchased because of the close proximity to the Park. Venues are so important to competitive horses. If you look at Spruce Meadows in Calgary or the Kentucky Horse Park, it demonstrates that those types of people naturally gravitate to locations where they have the type of venues they want to compete at. That leads to an increase in ancillary services. Our whole area is jam-packed with riding stables, tack stores, feed suppliers and more. Those businesses are focused on the fact that a lot of horse people live in and around our community.”
While its physical address may be Palgrave, the Caledon Equestrian Park lies within the municipality of the Town of Caledon.
“The Caledon Equestrian Park is certainly positive for the Town of Caledon’s economy,” says Doug Barnes, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Caledon. “There is in Caledon, and in some of the other surrounding municipalities, quite a significant horse industry, and having a facility that showcases that is quite beneficial. At least some of the economic benefit is coming to this town.”
Horse owners who regularly compete at the Caledon Equestrian Park have invested in excess of $2 billion in property improvements like fencing, arenas, barns and shelters. They’ve also invested more than $205 million in their horses and related equipment, contributing to an overall industry investment of more than $3.7 billion in the area.
With premiere events such as the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament showcased each year, the Caledon Equestrian Park’s economic impact on the Town of Caledon and the surrounding areas is only expected to grow in the years ahead.
The results of the ‘Economic Contribution of the Horse Industry - Town of Caledon & Caledon Equestrian Park’ report are based on data provided by the Caledon Equestrian Park related to the events held on site, and on data provided by the 2010 Canadian National Equine Industry telephone survey, commissioned by Equine Canada and produced by Strategic Equine Inc.
For more information on the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, please visit www.equiman.com.
Photo: The Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON, host of the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, attracts more than $110 million annually for the local economy.