The Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro recently received $1 million for a new covered arena (auxiliary ring) from Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission funds.

According to PGEC Equestrian Event Manager Elizabeth Yewell, the plan is to cover one of the existing shows rings. “This project will truly enhance the facility and will be utilized by our equestrian clientele,” she said. “Historically, the Prince George’s Equestrian Center has on occasion hosted most than one equestrian event on the facility grounds and this certainly is possible when the covered ring is complete. Plans are also in the works to offer an additional schooling area on the infield.”

Dorothy Troutman deserves much of the credit for making this happen. “We had a very good lobbying effort,” Troutman recalled, adding that Citizens’ Advisory Committee chair Sandra Crow was also a key player.

Troutman went on to explain that this project has been “on hold” for several years. “We got the money and the budget first in 1999,” she said. “They had the design made, and it’s beautiful. Then they put it out to bid, and by that time, it was going to cost another $1 million! So we’ve been trying ever since to get another million in the budget. Now we have to get the specifications and put it out to bid again, so they’re not going to be starting it until next year.”

Could this prompt the return of the bigger shows that have migrated elsewhere, such as those staged by the Potomac Valley Dressage Association? “PVDA has a strong faction that wants to go back to the PGEC,” that organization’s president Betty Thorpe acknowledged. “The group opposed to going back is worried about the footing. The last big show we had there was rained out when the rings became greasy and dangerous and the complaints were justifiably poi- sonous. So a covered arena would help, but the footing is our issue.”