The affordable community equestrian center in Marina appears to be shutting down, at least for the near future, after the city, which owns the property, requested all horses be vacated within 60 days.
As many as 65 horses at the Marina Equestrian Center will have to be re-homed or euthanized as a result of the city’s notice, which was delivered to the nonprofit that runs the center, Marina Equestrian Association, on Friday Aug. 7.
The city told MEA they had to vacate the center because of the upcoming demolition of the old Fort Ord prison building, which is located on an adjacent lot, according to an email relaying information to MRA members. The $2 million demolition is scheduled to take place this fall.
“Due to the hazardous materials created by the demolition and the high noise levels, the city has requested that all MEA members and their horses vacate the Marina Equestrian Center within 60 days,” the email read.
Maria officials who were reached for comment directed the Weekly to city manager Layne Long. He did not respond to emails or phone calls in time for publication.
Lindsay Beery is an active member of the MEA and she is suspicious of the city's reasons. “I think it's a bogus reason,” she says, pointing out the city did not vacate the equestrian center when developers were razing the abandoned barracks near Target. “We were in the dust from that and they weren’t concerned with our well-being then,” she says.
The uproar from Beery and others stems in part from the unique role the equestrian center plays in making horse riding accessible to people of all incomes on the Monterey Peninsula. It costs $115 month to house a horse at the center, which is a steep bargain compared to the fees of $700 or more found in Carmel Valley or Pebble Beach.
The center is run as a cooperative with members contributing sweat equity by cleaning stalls and grooming horses. Beery offers free riding lessons to youth who volunteer.
“This is a community co-op,” she says “We are providing something that otherwise wouldn’t exist.”
According to Beery, many horse owners will not be able to afford the fees and other stables which could leave them with no choice but to euthanize the animals.