The Colorado Horse Park (CHP) is a world-class equestrian facility, located in Parker, Colorado. The facility, built in 1989 for private owner Helen Krieble, operated for several years under the original name of High Prairie Farms (HPF). Krieble, an advocate for Young Rider programs, was the catalyst in HPF’s involvement and dedication to the development of the region’s first high-caliber competitions. HPF was often described as “where East meets West” and quickly became the area’s premier equestrian venue.
Over the years, the 170-acre property added signature competitions to its repertoire including the first Grand Prix competition (1991), the first-annual Dressage in the Rockies (1992), the first hunter/jumper series (1994), along with the first eventing horse trial (1996). The venue rebranded in 2006 and the popular venue took on the name it is known for today, the Colorado Horse Park. Olympian David O’Connor signed on as the CHP course designer in 2006, joining forces with internationally known course builder, Greg Schlappi. Competitions have grown in size and stakes over the years and through it all, CHP has remained the top equestrian sports venue in the state.
Unlike most competitive venues, CHP is home to over one hundred full-time boarded horses. With two indoor arenas, the facility is currently one of the largest boarding facilities in the region. The property boasts six large competition rings that are matched by an equal number of warm-up rings. ESI all-weather footing provides an excellent surface to accommodate Colorado’s changing seasons and varying weather patterns.
The property was acquired by Mark Bellissimo and the Colorado Equestrian Partners in December of 2014, securing the Park’s future to remain untouched by residential development. Under the management of Equestrian Sport Productions, CHP has hosted a new level of competition and educational activities. Bellissimo spoke of the acquisition in 2014, “We are excited about the future of equestrian sport, and we believe the CHP facility can be a significant central hub to serve all disciplines and to continue to develop the hunter/jumper, dressage, and eventing disciplines as well as a catalyst to develop the next generation of horses and riders. Colorado has a great equestrian tradition, and we hope to cultivate that market as well as bring new riders into the sport. We contemplate great investments in the park over the next few years and making it one of the premier facilities in the world.”
CHP offers competitors a home away from home atmosphere with its plentiful accommodations. Permanent competition stalls will shelter up to 300 horses for the Championships, and additional horses will be housed in custom made tent barns. Equine athletes will also enjoy ample paddocks for turnout, cement-floored wash racks, dirt bridle paths throughout the facility, a multi-horse lunging pad, and on-property trail riding. Two-legged athletes and friends will enjoy amenities such as on-site golf cart rental, on-site camping and RV hookups, shaded picnic tables, a merchandise store, two large pavilions for gathering and rest, as well as a fully stocked snack bar serving appetizers, snacks, and beverages.
FEI course designer, Tremaine Cooper, has been called upon to set the course for the event. Together with builder Travers Schick, Cooper aims to set a course that not only provides riders with a learning experience but also helps the horses gain confidence as well. Cooper told the USEA about his objective when designing a course, “It’s the balance of not scaring the riders but getting the riders to pay attention and thinking they have to ride well, but also making the course as friendly to the horse as possible. I would say that’s my main goal.”
Cooper has been involved with horses since he was a child and grew up riding in Pony Club. He started building courses in college and since then has accrued over 20 years of course design experience. Cooper has successfully competed multiple horses through the Advanced level, which allows him to relate to the course from the perspective of a competitor as well as a designer. He considers every course an opportunity for education for all involved and knows that as the sport evolves his courses need to reflect those changes. Cooper will be onsite during the AEC to ensure proper execution of his design.
The location of The Colorado Horse Park makes it an ideal place to visit. Nestled between Colorado’s eastern plains and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, CHP offers an incredible amount of extracurricular activities for competitors and families, often within minutes of the park. Guests are encouraged to explore all the area has to offer: from hiking to concerts, unique dining experiences, and whitewater rafting, there is never a shortage of activities to fill an evening or off-day. Become familiar with our host town, Parker, and all it has to offer here.
White Fence Equine Photography