On Saturday, November 8th the Aiken Horse Park Foundation unveiled its capital improvement plans for the Aiken Horse Park, holding a ceremonial groundbreaking at the park. This event highlighted the park as the future location of permanent, state of the art showing and stabling facilities, which will also be available for use by various charitable organizations. The park will be laid out to accommodate a wide variety of equine competitions and events, such as hunter-jumper showing, including grand prix level show jumping and hunter derbies, as well as steeplechase and carriage driving, to reflect the diversity of Aiken County’s equine industry.
This development will realize the vision of Mr. R. Bruce Duchossois, a prominent figure in the local and national equine communities, who purchased the 66-acre field and steeplechase track in August 2000 with the immediate goal of preserving it from residential development and the long-term goal of turning it into South Carolina’s premier horse park facility. Before his untimely passing in 2013, Mr. Duchossois formed the Aiken Horse Park Foundation, a recognized 501(c)(3) charity, with the mission of carrying out his dream for the park.
Construction at the park will take place this winter and segue into the 49th Renewal of the Aiken Spring Steeplechase in March of 2015, and the Grand Opening of the Aiken Charity Horse Show the same year. In memory of Bruce’s legacy and his incredible gift to the community that he loved, the park’s main field will be named “Bruce’s Field”.
Speakers at the ceremony included Mr. Jack Wetzel, President of the Aiken Horse Park Foundation Board of Trustees, Mr. R.L. Duchossois, father of Bruce Duchossois, Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young, and Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce President David Jameson. Though he was not able to attend, Senator Lindsey Graham penned a letter to Mr. Wetzel, which was read on the occasion. Other attendees included Martha Ruthven of Congressman Joe Wilson’s office, the board of the Aiken Horse Park Foundation, the Duchossois family, and numerous friends of Bruce, the family, and the Aiken equine community.