Wellington resident Mark Bellissimo recently announced that a new partnership has been formed and has signed a contract to acquire the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colo.
The 148-acre facility was founded by Helen Krieble in 1992 and is the largest horse park west of the Mississippi River. It hosts more than 40 events per year, has 11 competition arenas, 100 boarding stalls, an RV park, two covered arenas, 300 permanent stalls and enough portable stalls for 1,000-plus competing horses.
The partnership is also contracted to acquire an additional 47 acres zoned residential adjacent to the horse park.
CHP’s “Summer in the Rockies” series is one of the most prominent hunter/jumper equestrian circuits in the United States, spanning six weeks. CHP hosts all types of equestrian events, including eventing and dressage competitions, and has hosted the North American Young Rider Championships three times.
In addition, CHP has a long-term contract on 276 contiguous acres, which hosts a cross-country course designed by eventing Olympian David O’Connor.
“Helen has been one of the great visionaries in equestrian sport and has done an amazing job in creating the Colorado Horse Park. Her passion for the facility and her impact on the community over 23 years is inspirational. We are honored to continue Helen’s legacy,” Bellissimo said.
Krieble was pleased by the purchase agreement. “I am thrilled that Mark and his partners have contracted to acquire the horse park. It has been my passion for 23 years, and I am confident that it will be in good hands,” she said. “It was important to me that the horse park was kept intact. The contract includes the purchase of an additional 47 acres that abuts the horse park. I believe that this will ensure CHP has the ability to operate effectively and preserves the area from future residential development. This is a great day for Colorado equestrians, residents and businesses.”
The partnership, to be named Colorado Equestrian Partners, includes Mark and Katherine Bellissimo, Roger and Jennifer Smith, Howard and Gwen Dvorkin, Lisa Lourie, and Diana and Jenji Mercer. They are also partners in the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, which operates the world-renowned Winter Equestrian Festival and the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, as well as the newly established Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, N.C.
WEF is the world’s largest and longest-running equestrian festival, which runs over 12 weeks, hosts participants from all 50 states and 33 countries, and awards more than $8 million in prize money. The GDF is the world’s largest dressage competition, including seven CDI competitions during the winter.
“We are excited about the future of equestrian sport, and we believe the CHP facility can be a significant central hub to serve all disciplines and to continue to develop the hunter/jumper, dressage and the eventing disciplines, as well as a catalyst to develop the next generation of horses and riders,” Bellissimo said. “Colorado has a great equestrian tradition, and we hope to cultivate that market, as well as bring new riders into the sport. We contemplate great investments in the park over the next few years, and making it one of the premier facilities in the world.”
Consistent with its other facilities, the partners will be developing philanthropic initiatives and outreach programs to work with community schools to raise awareness of the opportunities in horse sports.