Two portions of the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center steeplechase track washed away on July 13 after high amounts of rain in Tryon, N.C. Two culverts, which direct Block House Creek under the track, both gave out over the weekend after the area received an estimated 6 inches of rain within a three-hour period. FENCE hosts the Block House Steeplechase every year, and they’re planning to have the track repaired before next May’s event.
“The creek was over its banks, and it was just too much water,” said Carrie Knox, executive director of FENCE. “All the soft dirt washed away.”
The FENCE facility was also site of the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club III horse show over the weekend, and the competition went on despite adverse conditions. Organizers utilized the facility’s large covered arena for many classes, and stream mitigation banking done on the property seven years ago diverted the creek water away from barns and outdoor arenas.
“The rest of the equestrian facility held up beautifully,” said Knox. “The bridges all held; we had blowing rain, but no water got in the barns. The warm-up rings were all in use, and riders were going in the pouring rain and jumping, and it all held up amazingly well.”
The Tryon Riding & Hunt Club performs maintenance on the steeplechase track, which must be done according to National Steeplechase Association standards. The group will meet soon and plan the renovations to the track.
“We had plans to redo the culverts already in August,” Tryon Riding & Hunt Club executive director Laura Weicker said. “Now we’ll replace the pipes in August and have everything ready to go for next year. We’ll also put in concrete to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
The rainstorm has also caused several road closures and washouts in Polk County.