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Cornerstone Unveils Exciting New Competition Venue

May 30, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

Thorton, Ontario — Equestrian sport will benefit from a new facility as the Cornerstone hunter/jumper competitions make the highly-anticipated move to the Essa District Agriplex in Thorton, ON, this summer.

The artistic rendering of the new Essa District Agriplex in Thorton, ON, home of five equestrian competitions produced by Cornerstone in 2012. (Photo Courtesy of Cornerstone)

Cornerstone will organize four weeks of hunter/jumper competition and one dressage competition in its first year at the Essa District Agriplex. Conveniently located close to Highways 400 and 27, the new venue is less than a 10 minute drive from the beautiful waterfront of downtownBarrie,ON, with all of its hotels, restaurants and other amenities.

Situated on 100 acres, the facility features two jumper rings and four hunter rings, each with their own warm-up areas.  All competition rings feature sand footing on an engineered, tile-drained base and are generous in size, measuring 300 square feet.  The star attraction will be the Collard Grand Prix Ring, named in memory of long-time horsewoman, judge, mentor and friend of the sport, Yvonne Collard.

Comfort and convenience were foremost in the planning of the new Essa District Agriplex.  Once the horses are finished competing for the day, they can head back to the barn to relax in large 10 x 12 stalls with walls eight feet in height.  Situated under a permanent steel roof, the 480 stalls are not only well-ventilated and airy, but are also clean, hygienic, and easily sterilized.  Grooming and bathing is made easy and comfortable with 24 permanent wash racks, all with hot water.

“The entire facility is extremely well laid-out to allow ease of access,” said John Taylor, Co-Chair of Cornerstone.  “The stabling is most impressive; the stalls are sensational!  It is very user-friendly with paved parking lots and, in the future as the facility is developed, there will be lots of green space for exercise riding.  Best of all, it is an easy commute from the Greater Toronto Area.”

With five barns currently ready and two more still to be built, the Essa District Agriplex is an ideal equestrian competition facility.  Future plans include an indoor arena and permanent offices.

Cornerstone will host its first show, the Cornerstone Premier I hunter/jumper competition, from June 20-24 followed by the Cornerstone Premier II from June 27 to July 1.  Both weeks of competition will feature the Lothlorien Young Horse Championship Series, as well as a full slate of hunter, jumper and equitation classes.

The Cornerstone Premier I will also feature the extremely popular $10,000 1.25m Modified Grand Prix, which last year attracted more than 50 entries, followed by the $25,000 1.35m Grand Prix on Sunday, June 24.  Phillip DeVita, Jr. will set the jumper courses in the Collard Grand Prix Ring throughout the week.

Stalls at the new Essa District Agriplex measure 10 x 12 and feature walls that are eight feet in height. (Photo Courtesy of Cornerstone)

The Cornerstone Premier II will also feature a $10,000 1.25m Modified Grand Prix and $25,000 1.35m Grand Prix on Sunday, July 1.  Hunter competitors can look forward to the $5,000 Adequan Hunter Derby, part of the Canadian Hunter Derby Series, held in the main Hunter Ring on Saturday, June 30.  Canada’s own Chris Brandt will handle course designing duties in both the hunter and jumper rings.

“We are thrilled to be back inBarrie,” explained Cornerstone Co-Chair Barbara Mitchell, noting that Cornerstone ran hunter/jumper jumper shows inBarriefrom 1996 through 2007.  “We ran our shows inBarriefor many years, but we have been away for four years now while the new facility was being developed and built.  We are so excited to be back, and to be able to offer a new state-of-the-art facility to the equestrian industry.”

Known for their hospitality, the husband and wife team of Barbara Mitchell and John Taylor are introducing the Popcorn Lounge hospitality tent, complete with an old-fashioned popcorn machine.  For $125 per week, patrons can enjoy a light lunch, snacks, drinks and, of course, fresh popcorn, from Wednesday through Sunday.

Barbara’s internationally-famous Strawberry Social will be held each Saturday afternoon of the Cornerstone Premier at 1:30 p.m.  An Exhibitor’s Reception will be held on Friday at 5 p.m. during the first week of competition in conjunction with the Jump Canada Talent Squad, while the following week, the Exhibitor’s Reception will begin at 5 p.m. for the Adequan Hunter Derby.

In August, the hunter/jumper action continues with the Cornerstone Encore I from August 22 to 26 and the Cornerstone Encore II from August 29 to September 2.

Also dressage competition organizers, Cornerstone will mount the Cornerstone Summer Classic, a national gold show, from August 10 to 12 at the Essa Agriplex inThorton,ON.  Two of Cornerstone’s dressage competitions will continue to run at theCaledonEquestrianPark, home of the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.  Cornerstone’s Spring Into Dressage will be held June 1 to 3 while the Cornerstone Summer Fest will take place July 13 to 15, 2012.

For more information on equestrian events produced by Cornerstone, please visit or e-mail