The Sad, Sorry Story of the Texas Horse Park

In the Dallas Observer, Eric Nicholson tries to wrap his head around the horse park, a project that began as a modest place to shelter horses, grew into a blow-out boondoggle effort to create a “world class” (that damned word!) equestrian center, and has now settled into its reality as a sort of seemingly useless non-profit run by a man who is accused of animal abuse.

There are few stories involving the Trinity River Project that don’t seem sad and sorry these days. Some bright spots include the Continental Bridge pedestrian plaza, which is, honestly, a lot more successful than I thought it would be, thanks to the way the adjacent La Bajada neighborhood has embraced the space. Then there are the paths that were finally built in the flood plain. Those are pretty great, and they drive home the point that all the Trinity River Project ever needed to be was a way to better access and utilize the river. Lakes? River bends? Water taxis? Yeah, sure, I guess that could be cool. But walking around the paths on a recent weekend, I couldn’t help but think that all the Trinity really needs is a place to rent a kayak, or maybe a horse, and a place to grab a beer in the shade of a bridge. How about we figure out a way to provide those things, and then let’s call the Trinity River Project complete.

But that’s not what the Trinity River Project is. It is so much else – so many useless, costly ideas that won’t go away. Yes, there’s that nagging toll road, which former backers now apologize for backing. And then there’s the horse park. I’ve never really been able to wrap my head around the point of the horse park. In the Dallas Observer, Eric Nicholson tries to wrap his head around the horse park, a project that began as a modest place to shelter horses, grew into a blow-out boondoggle effort to create a “world class” (that damned word!) equestrian center, and has now settled into its reality as a sort of seemingly useless nonprofit run by a man who is accused of animal abuse.

The saddest and sorriest part of the story involves the trials and travails of Kevin Woods, a South Dallas resident whose years of work building a business that mentored local kids with horses was steamrolled by the city of Dallas. It is, in part, a story of rampant protectionism and cronyism on display from city staff and city council members. In other words, it’s another story about the Trinity River Project.

Comments

  • Ted_Barker

    Most of us fear an Epcot on the Trinity. Ben says; “just leave it alone”.

  • Jayna Wright

    The Grove is in dire need of a program like Let’s Cowboy Up, but the City turned their cheek the other way. Sad!

  • Eric

    Which makes Dallas citizens a bunch of horse’s…..

  • Brenda Marks

    That Jill Jordan continues to have a job at Dallas City Hall is remarkable. And that the city is employing eminent domain and code enforcement to harass, intimidate and destroy individual property ownership and a great nonprofit for the benefit of a Collin County animal abuser should be the basis of a criminal investigation.

  • Gc carpenter

    Peter,
    One needs to be an equestrian to promote an equestrian sport.
    That term means you are a horsemen and respect horses and all animals.
    When the city is involved it means revenue to the city and a horseman is not in charge as those terns are an oxymoron !
    The closing of Los Colinas proves commerce Is the death of the equestrian sport in Texas !
    Money triumphs agriculture and the benefits of all that hold horses dear!
    This is Texas after all and we of all states should preserve are heritage.
    That means nothing to many trying to make a buck.
    If you would like to meet the true horseman in this town; I for one would like to introduce you!