After changing owners in 2015 and undergoing extensive renovations last year, many people now consider the Dallas Equestrian Center (DEC) to be one of the top horse facilities in North Texas.
Headlining the improvements is a 50,000-square-foot GeoTEX outdoor arena surrounded by new fencing and footing to better accommodate horses.
Other highlights include a European horse-walker, 20 new covered paddocks, and some general maintenance improvements to the barn intended to make DEC a premier facility. A new clubhouse with locker rooms and coaches’ offices is also in the works, said Co-owner Scott Wilson.
Before the upgrades, the DEC property was known as Park Lane Stables. It had fallen into an unsafe state of disrepair that caused many trainers and families to consider alternative facilities. However, abandoning the stables would have meant losing a convenient location in the heart of Dallas.
Wilson and his wife Lisa, along with other parents at the stables, recognized that something needed to change.
When another buyer failed to purchase the stables in late 2014, Wilson and his business partner Marc Goldman decided to look into the situation. At the same time, David and Stacy Sanderson were interested in developing an equestrian facility in Dallas.
Sanderson, who has spent his career in the equestrian business, and Stacy, a nationally recognized rider and trainer, knew Dallas’ strong economy would make it a great location to re-establish his wife’s training program.
“We put a development plan together that prioritized safety and the quality of the riding arenas and then went on from there,” David said. “We reviewed our plans with all of the trainers and prioritized what we thought was best first for safety, second for quality, and third for expansion.”
David said it was kind of “dumb luck” that he and the Wilsons were looking at the property at the same time.
“It really felt like it was meant to be,” Wilson said.
The renovation, expansion, and location also attracted Carol Gwin, the SMU equestrian team’s head coach. Last year, Gwin announced the Dallas Equestrian Center would become the team’s official stables and training facility. The move will hopefully bring more attention to the SMU equestrian program, she said.
In addition to SMU, five professional trainers now call DEC home.
“The economy of Dallas in 2014 and 2015, the way it was taking off you knew it was going to be great,” David said. “We just knew it would be great, because there would be new families moving here that would want to take lessons. It would be great to be involved in a barn.”