Rob MacGregor and Gloria Dol in the new Saanich Fairground riding ring.

Rob MacGregor and Gloria Dol in the new Saanich Fairground riding ring.

Riding ring ready for fall fair

The Saanich Fairgrounds put in a new riding ring, which management and users alike say is well worth the cost.

The Saanich Fairgrounds put in a new riding ring, which management and users alike say is well worth the cost.

“(The feedback) has been so positive,” said Gloria Dol, office manager at the fairgrounds. “There is a huge horse community out here.”

Organizers at the fairgrounds say the change was needed as the previous ring was filled with hog fuel, a sawdust-like substance that broke down easily and became dangerous to the horses. Subsequently, a lot of shows were cancelled because of it.

The new ring, two years in the making and designed by a company in Maple Ridge, now has a sand base. Not the kind of sand you’d find at the beach, Dol says, but a special kind needed to handle the weight of jumping horses. She adds that this new ring is also easier to maintain.

“This is huge, we never thought we’d get something like this,” said Rob MacGregor, operations manager for the fairgrounds.

The ring was completed in March, hosting its first show in April. It was most recently the host ring of a jumping competition, where Dol says the reviews of the ring were excellent.

However, the good reviews came at a huge price tag — more than $140,000.

“We knew it would be expensive,” said Dol. “It took everything we had, let’s put it that way.”

She admits the fairgrounds are now tight for funds because of the new ring, but assures that the cost will not carry over to users. Local riders can also rent the ring for $22.40 an hour.

The ring will be on display for the public this weekend at the annual Saanich Fair, held at the grounds Sept. 3 to 5.