Camelot Center gets new riding area

SOUTHINGTON – The Camelot Therapeutic Riding Center has a new riding area with the completion of a 7,600-foot addition.

Debbie Meeker, program director at the center, said a recent Christmas at Camelot fundraiser was held inside the new area, which held all tables, auction items and a band.

This was the second year for the main fundraising event.

“The new riding area took one year to complete. We had our first lessons inside here in May,” Meeker said.

She said the new area was needed because of the limited space in the other area, where riders had to ride their horses in between horse stalls.

Meeker said the old riding area will now be able to hold six new stalls, a tack room, a feed room and a storage area.

The new area cost around $63,000. Donations, grants and fundraising contributed to the project.

“We had started putting up the indoor area in 2007 and had the wind knock it down,” Meeker said.

She said the center of the new area is 30 feet high. The area is lighter, and the blinds on the west side of the new addition roll up and down to keep rain and snow out.

Meeker said what is nice is that the new area keeps it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

The center currently houses 13 horses.

Meeker said donations helped with the center, including one from Bectel Electrical Control, which supplied all electrical work on the arena. Ed May was the coordinator for electric. The 573 Local Electricians Union helped with the project and the Warren Moose Lodge 186 donated a ramp made possible by Warren Women Moose 98.

“Having all the electrical and the ramp donated to us was so helpful,” Meeker said.

Other fundraisers included the first annual Christmas at Camelot and a Night at the Races.

Board President Nicolette Darkangelo said the addition was a long time coming.

“We are very pleased that we can provide the children in the community with this instead of the closed-in dark barn. The community has support has been overwhelming. We are pleased to be able to provide more services to the community,” Darkangelo said.

Darkangelo said the room helps provide a relaxing atmosphere for rider and horses.

She said because the new area, more stalls will be put in the barn to increase the number of horses at the center and number of hours of service so they are more conducive to the needs of the students.

Darkangelo said an added benefit is that the new addition will also increase the property value of the center.

She said plans are to make the area available for educational classes, seminars, bands and parties.

Darkangelo said there are plans in the works to create an educational center area on the eastern side of the building, which can also be used for offices and classrooms.