The community is invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, May 4 at noon, with equestrian clinics offered by an Olympic medalist. Admission to the park is free, but there are fees for the clinics.

After two years of work and planning, Carousel Park in Pike Creek is poised to become the area’s “premier regional equestrian facility,” county officials said, with a revamped cross country course.

The community is invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday, May 4 at noon, with equestrian clinics offered by an Olympic medalist. Admission to the park is free, but there are fees for the clinics.

The park is home to an extensive equestrian track and course – and to the New Castle County Police’s Mounted Patrol.

Carousel Equestrian Director Mary Devin said while the park offers an eclectic variety of activities for the public, it’s always been an equestrian center.

“The landscape is perfect for a horse park and there are no other facilities in this area that can offer everything that we do, in one place,” Devin said. “We believe that the services we offer represent good, clean fun. You don’t need to be a world class rider to enjoy the park.”

She said the roughly $50,000 upgrade was mostly done in-house, with the redesigned course created in partnership with designer Jeff Kibbie and jump builders Eric Bull and Frank Stafford.

Since its soft opening last September, Devin said the course has already earned over $6,000 in fees.

“[Our] staff expects that, with a strong season of use, we will have recouped half of the course construction cost by end of 2019,” Devin said.

The course now offers new jumps including natural logs, painted jumps, dog houses, chevrons, benches, and other challenges placed throughout 27 acres on the western edge of the 215-acre park, according to the county.

The cross country course layout includes one dedicated gallop field course designed to condition horses. The schooling jump course includes more advanced jumps including wedges, benches, ditches, and a water hazard.

County officials said the mix of schooling jumps are appropriate for horse and rider teams from elementary to training level.

“The advanced jumps are preliminary, intermediate and advanced and they range from 3’7” to 4’11” increasing in difficulty, along with the height.” Devin said. “These are great to have, but few riders are capable of five-star eventing, and we wanted to create a course that would cater to more riders and help them to develop their skills. Based upon the feedback we are getting, we’ve succeeded.”

Ribbon-cutting ceremony and riding clinics

“The opening of our world-class cross country course is the perfect way to celebrate the re-establishment of Carousel Park as a premier regional equestrian facility,” said county executive Matt Meyer in a statement regarding the track’s ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, May 4 at noon.

Members of the equestrian community and the public are invited to participate in the official grand opening of the redesigned course.

Olympic medalist Phillip Dutton will lead a series of jump clinics for riders throughout the day.

The schooling jump course will be open to all riders on May 4 immediately after the noon ribbon cutting.

Riders wishing to use the cross country course or to register for one of 25 clinic slots on May 4 should call (302) 995-7670 for reservations. Clinic slots are $150 for 90 minutes. There are also opportunities to audit the clinics for a reduced fee of $30 for 90 minutes. Visit nccde.org/carousel for more information.

Food vendors will be on-site, and riders can shop for equestrian clothing, tack and services.

More park plans

New Castle County has several other projects for area parks either underway or planned for in the upcoming months.

Those projects include:

• The new Edgemoor Gardens Park which opened April 27. The first new county park in 15 years was established through a partnership with the Edgemoor Civic Association which donated the land, and funding from the county and the Delaware Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trails Program.

• The recently completed construction of a walking trail at Hann Park in Newark, a long-term request of the community. A new picnic grove and improvements to the playground are also scheduled.

• Construction on a walking trail at the Jester property on Grubb Road in North Wilmington later in 2019.

• Rehabilitating the Banning Park soccer fields.

• Millcreek Greenway trail improvements.