Jumper show at CHP with Pikes Peak backdrop.

“The intention is that there is something at Bayou Gulch Open Space for all horse groups… ”

The Colorado Horse Park(CHP) traces its roots back to 1992 when it was established by the visionary, Helen Krieble, under the name High Prairie Farms. Drawing inspiration from her visits to the prestigious Kentucky Horse Park, Helen set out to craft a premier equestrian center in the western United States. Today, boasting as one of the largest equestrian facilities in the region, CHP encompasses 11 competition arenas, including two indoor arenas, and 300 permanent stalls.

“The intention is that there is something at Bayou Gulch Open Space for all horse groups… ”

CHP stands as a cornerstone within the local horse community, offering a world-class venue for hosting equestrian events of all calibers. Not only does it serve as a hub for showcasing elite horsemanship, but it also serves as a gathering place for spectators and a competition platform for local riders and their counterparts from across the nation and often the globe.

In early 2015, The Colorado Horse Park was purchased by Mark Bellissimo of Colorado Equestrian Partners, LLC of Wellington, Florida. Langer Equestrian (LEG) leased the property during this time, although Colorado organizations like the Colorado Hunter Jumper Association and Rocky Mountain Dressage Society were not able to utilize CHP the last few years of that ownership. Eventing also ended at CHP after the American Eventing Championships were held there in 2018.

2018, last Eventing competition at CHP until this year!

In October of 2022, Singletree Equestrian, LLC, an ownership group of veterinarians and key stakeholders from Littleton Equine Medical Center (LEMC), purchased two parcels totaling 119 acres including the barns, offices, show rings and parking. “This venue has been and will continue to be such an asset to our Colorado equestrian community,” said Dr. Kelly Tisher, a veterinarian and partner at LEMC. “Over the next few years, our plan is to create a world-class equine clinic at the horse park as well as continuing to improve and expand the horse show facility.”

Day to day at CHP, a handful of horse trainers work out of the facility, while LEG leases the competition facility from May – September to manage various national and international equestrian discipline shows such as Hunters, Jumpers, Dressage, and starting in 2024, Eventing will be back on the calendar.

Last summer, Singletree Equestrian put together a group of equestrians that would have an interest in the approximately 300 acres on the south side of Bayou Gulch Road that Helen Krieble donated to Douglas County years ago to be used by equestrians. The mission statement for the group called the Bayou Gulch Open Space Initiative (BGOSI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is to improve, maintain, protect and steward Bayou Gulch Open Space to educate, support and promote equestrian sport in Douglas County and beyond. This is an all-volunteer committee with all funds coming from fundraising and equestrian events that utilize the BGOS.

BGOS had been used for Combined Driving, Eventing cross-country, and Fox Hunting groups prior to 2018. After Eventing ended at CHP in 2018, a lot of the jumps and obstacles that remained sat out in the Colorado weather until BGOSI was formed. Made up of Eventers, Combined Drivers, Fox Hunters, and more, this group is working hard with the equestrian community this year to refurbish and add to the jumps and improve obstacles. The intention is that there is something at Bayou Gulch Open Space for all horse groups including Pony Clubs, trail riders, and 4-H groups. BGOSI wants the area to be a benefit to all equestrian groups in the region.

The first event working toward that goal is the Bucks for Bayou Benefit on April 13 from 3-6 pm at the Colorado Horse Park. Learn more on the Bayou Gulch Horse Trials Facebook or Instagram page as well as at bayougulchhorsetrials.com. Not too long ago, CHP hosted national horse trials at Bayou Gulch Open Space that included fantastic family festivals open to the community as a whole, and plans are to get back to that within the next five years! Also on the schedule this year is the Bayou Gulch Combined Test, and the first recognized horse trial since 2018, Bayou Gulch Horse Trials, August 3 and 4.

While The Colorado Horse Park is not directly in our mountain community, its impact on the equestrian community in our region is critical. Please plan to join in on some or all of the activities this year, whether that be as a competitor, volunteer and/or spectator! If you have any questions, reach out to bayougulchhorsetrials@gmail.com.

Heather McWilliams © 2024