Prince George's Equestrian Center Gets Facility Upgrades for the 2014 Capital Challenge Horse Show

Show Place Arena
Show Place Arena

Upper Marlboro, MD – September 25, 2014 – The Capital Challenge Horse Show (CCHS), presented by The Gochman Family, is pleased to announce some great improvements to the facility at Prince George’s Equestrian Center (PGEC) this year, including footing upgrades in all of its outdoor rings. CCHS celebrates its 21st anniversary in 2014 beginning this Saturday, September 27, and continuing through October 5 in Upper Marlboro, MD.

Shannon Bethel of PGEC is proud of the work that has been done to improve the facility in recent years and hopes that exhibitors enjoy the very best show experience with their horses at this year’s Capital Challenge Horse Show.

Bethel explained some of the facility work that has been done, stating, “In between our last two shows we went in and removed the entire base of the main show ring outside. We took 14” out, and we installed an entirely new drainage system and a completely new base. We also installed all new fiber footing and then Capital Challenge had David Lauinger top it off with his footing to make it even better. We ended up with a ring that is absolutely the best we have ever had. You can ride during pouring down rain storms or anything else. It turned out perfectly.”

“I am absolutely thrilled because the bulk of that ring was done in-house by Mike Bowen and our heavy equipment staff that work for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission,” Bethel said. “It is just really enjoyable for us to be able to do one of the rings ourselves and for it to turn out the way it did, so we are thrilled. We also top dressed the rest of the rings that we have, all of the practice rings as well as the covered ring and the in-field track. Next year the second ring will be completed the exact same way as the first one was. I think that anybody who comes here to ride is going to be thrilled. Our last show went very well, and I am really looking forward to Capital Challenge.”

In addition to footing renovations, Prince George’s Equestrian Center has new landscaping this year, and all of the barns have been repainted. In the main facility at Show Place Arena, they have upgraded all of the HVAC systems and are in the process of putting a new metal roof on the building. The facility also has a new water truck, new drags, and new tractors. They are upgrading the electric for camping and have done a lot of work on drainage around the property. Long term plans include continuing to improve the outdoor show rings each year with a goal to eventually have them all redone. The current plan is to replace one per year.

The outdoor competition ring at PGEC
The outdoor competition ring at PGEC

“We have invested about $3 million in the last three years since I have been here, and it is just better every time they come back,” Bethel stated. “We held 82 days of events this year prior to Capital Challenge with 35 different shows. Hopefully everybody will come here and have a great time this year because I think this is the best the footing has been since the facility has been here. When I came here, the facility was 20 years old and everything needed to be upgraded, and that is what we are working on now. We have come a long way in three years, and I expect a lot more in the future.”

David Lauinger of DJL Equestrian Services has assisted in footing and arena needs at Capital Challenge for the past three years and stepped up to work on additional improvements this year. Lauinger donated some of the materials used in the outdoor schooling rings and also provided the show with extra schooling standards. DJL Services specializes in arena design, construction and footing installations.

“Before Capital Challenge starts, we make sure the footing is all good,” Lauinger stated. “This year extra improvements were made on the new ring to make sure it was right for everybody. In the center schooling area and the covered arena, we actually donated the fiber and the grating and mixing tile that was added. We put a micro filament fiber in, which is a synthetic footing that essentially mimics natural turf with good drainage. We added more fiber to the large covered arena and laser graded everything in there. The center schooling area for the outside competition ring got more micro fiber as well, so it is just like the actual competition ring now, and those two rings are pretty similar footing-wise. We also put extra “micro fluff” in the covered arena and the outdoor schooling area. That is to help cushion and pad those two schooling areas during the week of the horse show with so many horses going around.”

Footing is Lauinger’s specialty on the East Coast, building everything from equestrian facilities to race tracks and polo fields. Based in Culpeper, VA, Lauinger has many customers who show at Capital Challenge, and he will be on site throughout the horse show to make sure that everything is in good shape. He is devoted to making sure the footing at the facility is at its best.

“A big reason why we come there to help out and donate is that a lot of my customers show at Capital Challenge and other shows there during the year,” Lauinger noted. “We rise to the challenge to help make that facility shine.”

Along with facility improvements, CCHS is pleased to announce that the show will have free Wi-Fi access throughout the week sponsored by the Vermont Summer Festival Horse Shows.

The Capital Challenge Horse Show looks forwards to welcoming horses and riders for its 21st year of competition. For more information, please visit or visit the Capital Challenge Horse Show page on Facebook and on Twitter and Instagram at @capchallenge!

In its 21st year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year’s show will take place on September 27-October 5.

Top competitions include the ARIAT National Adult Medal Finals and the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals, along with the Capital Challenge Equitation Weekend, presented by In addition to these prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country’s best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.