Steel arrives for new arena
March 25, 2010 - Union County Saddle Club gets covered arena
The Union County Saddle Club is proud to announce that the building materials for the new covered arena have arrived! The new indoor arena will be 43,750 square feet and is expected to be complete within the next eight weeks.
The new arena will be the only covered arena within 65 miles of Blairsville, Georgia and will host events from around the United States. Although home to the Union County Saddle Club, the new arena will be available for rent and is expected to draw large groups to Union County. Planned events include Georgia Youth Rodeos, Georgia 4H Rodeos, NBHA (National Barrel Horse Association) events, and USTRC (United States Team Roping Championships) events.
Gerald Patterson has been with the Union County Saddle Club for over 25 years. He says, “The new covered arena will bring economic interest into Union County. Visitors will help bring revenue to the motels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses.”
The Union County Saddle Club already has a large following with as many as 2000 visitors attending some events. The new arena is expected to boost those numbers significantly.
The Union County Development Authority and Saddle Club members worked together to plan the new arena and it is an exciting addition to the local area. As a Union County facility, the arena will be available for the Union County 4H Club and other Union County organizations. Outside organizations will be charged a rental fee.
The Union County Saddle Club is very active and is an important asset to the Blairsville, Georgia community. The club holds numerous fundraising events throughout the year and contributed over $10,000 to various charities in 2009.
Saddle Club members work hard to give people a chance to experience the joy of horseback riding including hosting handicapped shows and senior citizen shows.
The club is a non-profit [Section 501 (c) 3] community based, family oriented organization comprised of all volunteer members that are dedicated to the education and skill development in all disciplines pertaining to equine activities.
October 18, 2006 - Union County Saddle Club Special Invitation Show Best Yet
The Union County Saddle Club recently held a "Special Invitation" show at the county riding facility. Nursing Home residents, senior centers, group homes, and handicapped individuals were invited to go horseback riding. This anticipated event provided an excellent opportunity for individuals with special needs to learn about horses first-hand. It was a fun day for all that participated.
The weather was perfect and excitement was in the air as club members helped guests mount the horses. The fresh air, colorful foliage, and sunshine made the day even more special.
Club President Lonnie Marcus fitted riders with safety helmets before they entered the rink. A special set of stairs was used to help get handicapped people up into the saddle. Walkers led the horses and spotted each rider as an added safety measure.
Lines formed as children, teenagers, adults, and elderly citizens waited for a turn. Ms. Lavon Butt rode for the first time in 50 years. Phil Chapman helped Lavon get comfortable in the saddle and said, "Ms. Butt was my 3rd grade teacher. I'm glad she came out today." (Ms. Butt is 93 years old and a currently lives at Union County Nursing Home.)
The Union County Saddle Club members worked all day to provide a safe, fun, and unique experience for participants. Some of the kids rode a horse for the first time in their lives.
Horse drawn buggies and wagons were also part of the excitement. Bill Jones and Bo McClure worked all morning carting people around the fields.
Some guests return year after year and ask for their favorite horses by name. Many of the teenagers have the event marked on their calendars and look forward to riding all year.
The Union County Saddle Club holds approximately 10 events a year and most are free and open to the public. Rodeos, 4-H shows, Special Invitations, running shows, roping events, and judged events take place throughout the season. Attendance is usually free except for sponsored events like the rodeo. Entry fees (for the horses) are charged to raise money for special programs like the "Special Invitation" which included a free lunch.
Betty Bridges says, "The Union County Saddle Club is open for membership to people in Union County and surrounding areas. If you are interested in horses, give us a call or drop by during an event. Everyone is welcome."
The Union County Saddle Club facility is located on Nottely Dam Road right off of Highway 515 in Blairsville, Georgia at the intersection of Highway 515 and 325.