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On Sunday 24th February 2024 we officially opened our new arena at the IR Robertson Reserve. This was the culmination of hard work, dedication, and the unwavering support of our community.
The IR Robertson Reserve Management Committee, and the three Clubs using the reserve as their home, Gisborne Pony Club, Gisborne & District Adult Riding Club and the Melbourne Show Jumping Club, extended a warm welcome to the Deputy Mayor of Macedon Ranges Shire, Janet Pearce and local councillors Christine Walker and Dominic Bonnano.
There was a special welcome to Mr Mal Carter, Chair of our major sponsor, Community Bank Gisborne & District, whose very generous donation of $30,000 played a pivotal role in making this dream a reality. We greatly appreciated their support and patience as the very wet weather continually delayed progress. We also thanked our club sponsors for their assistance in funding the arena.
The journey to this point has been a collective effort, with the three clubs pooling their resources, utilizing savings, income, fundraising, and in-kind support to raise an impressive $105,000.
The three Riding Clubs sincerely thanked John Maynard and James Lang for their work in supervising and managing this huge project.
The IR Robertson Reserve provides a home for over 300 equestrian club members ranging in age from 4 years to 85 years. The safety of our riders and spectators is paramount, and the new arena addresses a pressing concern with the substandard conditions of the existing ones. The generosity of our sponsors and the collective efforts of our community will relieve the pressure on the current arenas during wet weather, ensuring a safer environment for both horses and riders, encouraging health activity throughout life.
This new arena will not only provide adequate space for training but will also serve as a venue for large competitions, accommodating dressage, show jumping, cross country, and working equitation events. With four dressage arenas, two show jumping arenas, and a warm-up area on sand, the IR Robertson Reserve becomes a premium equestrian centre, attracting competitors from across Victoria.
The economic benefits to our local community are undeniable. The equine industry stands as the second biggest revenue generator in the Macedon Ranges Shire Council after tourism. Today's Gisborne Pony Club Horse Trials event showcased the broad appeal and draw of our facilities, bringing competitors from all corners of the state and beyond.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our sponsors, especially Community Bank Gisborne & District, and to the community volunteers whose tireless efforts have made this dream a reality. Your commitment and support have transformed the IR Robertson Reserve into a hub of equestrian excellence, providing not only recreation but also fostering a sense of community and encouraging physical activity among people of all ages.
Thank you all for being a part of this remarkable journey.