Opinion/Letters to the Editor August 2021


Aug. 5 issue:

Del Mar Horsepark Olympians

Congratulations to Del Mar Horsepark supporters who led the U.S. Equestrian Dressage Team to a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Two of the four-member team live in San Diego and three are from California, an international center for equestrian sports.

This was Steffen Peters’ 5th Olympics and 3rd medal. He operates the 25-acre Arroyo Del Mar training facility for other top horses and riders, located 6 miles from Del Mar Horsepark. Steffen also helped train fellow team member and California resident Sabine Schut-Kery, as well as U.S. Team Coach Debbie MacDonald. This was the first Olympics for Nick Wagman, who was an early apprentice of another local Olympian, Gunther Seidel. Nick now runs his own equestrian training facility near Horsepark.

They were able to overcome the disruption from the closure of Del Mar Horsepark and cancellation of the Del Mar National Horse Show. This hurt many other riders’ Olympic dreams since California held only two qualifying shows in 2021. As a result, only those who could move their horses to Florida, which offers multiple qualifier events from December through April, could earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Now the 22nd DAA is giving local equestrians renewed hope for future Olympic glory as Del Mar Horsepark is on track to reopen after the selection of an experienced equestrian operator to lease and renovate the historic facility. The 75-year-old Del Mar National Horse Show also returns to the Fairgrounds after a two-year hiatus.

With more qualification events at Horsepark and the Del Mar National Horse Show, many more West Coast riders and horses will be able to compete and qualify for the U.S. equestrian team thanks to the 22nd DAA. This will be especially important when the Olympic Games return to LA in 2028.

When the Olympics were previously held in Southern California in 1984 and 1932, U.S. equestrians won 10 medals (4 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze) in dressage, show jumping, and eventing. Go team USA!

Laura DeMarco

Co-founder, Friends of Del Mar Horsepark

Carla Echols-Hayes

Co-founder, Friends of Del Mar Horsepark