BROOKLYN, N.Y. - There is a new addition at the southwest end of Prospect Park: A fenced-off ring just for horseback riding.
“It’s a special equestrian fence. It’s designed to take the impact of the horse without breaking. It’s also, if you notice, it’s on the inside of the fencing which is unusual," said Kensington Stables Owner John Quadrozzi.
Kensington Stables leads trail rides along a three and a half mile bridle path through the Park. The trail ended with a horseshoe-shaped turnaround. That turnaround was transformed into the new ring protecting riders and horses as well as other park users, and even dogs.
“So dogs would run across, joggers would run across innocently. They didn’t know any better they were just enjoying the park but they would run into the horses," Quadrozzi said.
City Councilman Brad Lander says it's a major step in preserving and strengthening the long tradition of horseback riding in the Prospect Park.
“There have been horses riding in that park for more than a century and we want to keep it that way. It’s so great to see them. There’s therapeutic riding for kids and adults with disabilities. There’s recreational riding," Lander said.
While the fence is now up, there’s still more work to be done.
“There’s a queuing area that we created at the entrance where will have staging for the horses, maybe shading, water troughs and the like so when horses are waiting to ride or resting they have a nice area to stay instead of the middle of the ring where there’s other horse activity," Quadrozzi said.
Quadrozzi says he would eventually like to add 25 feet to the ring to make it more suitable for competitions.
There are also plans for the construction of a covered riding ring in the park’s eastern end. Lander says money has been appropriated in the city budget but the Parks Department and the Prospect Park Alliance still must OK the plans.
"It’s the people’s park so you can’t just throw something in there. You’ll have to have a good thoughtful process to look at the design make sure it’s consistent with. It’s not the same park Olmstead and Vaux designed 150 years ago but we try so hard to keep it in that spirit," Lander said.
And ensure that horseback riding remains a part of Prospect Park for years to come.