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Galway Downs: A Destination for Everyone $ !"$ #

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perform after the equestrian competitions on Sunday, November 5 at 5 p.m. On Saturday night, entertainment will be provided by the Lee Koch Band. These performances and all the equestrian events are open to the public and tickets can be purchased on the Galway Downs website at

We recently visited Galway Downs, a beautiful 242-acre property located in Temecula on the edge of the wine country. Galway has been around for almost half a century and has seen a variety of owners and uses, although it has always primarily been an equestrian destination. We met with the property’s owner, Ken Smith, and Equestrian Facility Manager, Robert Kellerhouse, who described what is currently going on at Galway Downs with contagious enthusiasm. We learned that under their visionary leadership Galway is taking on an exhilarating new life. As we took a tour of the property, we were amazed by its expansive beauty. Accented by willow trees, oak trees, creeks, waterfalls, and meadows, Galway is an inspiring destination for an exciting variety of events. Framed by the majestic, rolling hills of Temecula Valley’s lovely wine country, Galway Downs is a unique, one-of-a-kind location with a rural ambiance that makes it an enchanting getaway. Galway Downs is still first and foremost a site for equestrian pursuits — world class eventing competitions, boarding, and training. Galway has 400 permanent horse stalls, a one-mile racetrack, a polo field, 15 miles of trails, and 25 RV hook-ups. However, the property is now also evolving into a destination for weddings, other sporting events and festivities, music, and great food. Big Weekend at Galway: Nov. 2 to 5 A wonderful example of the kinds of exceptional events you can find at Galway Downs is the upcoming Galway Downs International Three-Day Eventing weekend, November 2 to 5th. For this Olympic level competition, horses and their riders will be coming from all over North America for a variety of competitions, including Dressage, Show Jumping, and Cross Country, where horses face challenging obstacles through water and over ditches. (How much fun will this event be to watch?) During the weekend, spectators can also enjoy enticing gourmet food trucks, beer, wine, and special offerings from a variety of local vendors. Galway is a destination for the whole family. Much of this will take place in the beautifully landscaped Sycamore Tree grass field. A highlight of the weekend will be the performance of award-winning country rock star Leann Rimes who has sold over 20 million records. She will

A Destination for Weddings and Special Events Galway Downs also provides a four-acre Village area for weddings and other special gatherings. Managed by Wedgewood Weddings, this inviting, beautifully landscaped Village area is stunning destination for one-of-a-kind events. The bucolic site provides a lovely pastoral setting with open lawns, large eucalyptus trees, and running streams. Wedding ceremonies can be held under the trees or in front of a tumbling waterfall. Receptions can be held in the spacious, rustic Carriage House, which seats up to 300 guests and features huge sliding glass doors that bring the picturesque outdoors right into the reception. Completely customizable, all-inclusive wedding packages are available. You can even ride a charming horse and carriage through the property. Wedgewood partners with local vendors to make sure couples receive the best service possible. For more information on holding a wedding or special event at Galway Downs, call 888-382-5108 for a tour of the property and consultation about your event.

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A Multi-Use Destination with a Bright Future The Galway Downs property has space for multiple uses, including fields for such sports as soccer, LaCrosse, and running and walking events. The property can have a number of different events taking place at the same time and they won’t interfere with each other. Ken and Robert make the point that because the Galway property was previously dependent on equestrian events for its success, it struggled to survive. Now equestrian events do not carry the whole responsibility for the venue’s success. With other events and weddings sharing the weight of success, the entire property can thrive with the equestrian activities still remaining Galway’s cornerstone. From a spectator and guest point of view, this expanded focus is wonderful because there is something going on for everyone, not just horse lovers. Ken makes the point that “At Galway we are doing what needs to be done to make the property sustainable. With multiple kinds of activities we are providing an entertainment destination that can support itself and attract a wide range of people who will enjoy the property.� Robert Kellerhouse, who has worked with Galway’s equestrian program for more than 20 years, says, “The future of Galway has never been brighter. Ken Smith has set the tone for this equestrian zone by creating a wine country community. Now it’s a horse place with a future.� This year Galway has hosted 27 different equestrian events and next year there will be even more going on with a focus on pre -World Championship qualifying events. Hunters and Jumpers, one of three Olympic events, will be added. Upper echelon Dressage events are coming early next year. All these competitions are spectator friendly. A person who is not experienced with horses can come and enjoy equestrian events while also sa-


voring good food and drinks, plus there are frequent opportunities to listen to great music—all in a fabulous setting. Galway Downs: A work in progress Ken Smith talks with passion about Galway Downs. He says, “The first time I saw this property I was overwhelmed with its beauty. I saw all the work that needed to be done, but I also saw its solid infrastructure and great potential. All it needed was some tender loving care and that’s what we are giving it right now.� Galway Downs is a continually evolving, on-going project with exciting plans for the future in place. . Robert points out that the equestrian areas, tracks and arenas, continue to be improved. Galway is a work in progress. Ken admits that its development may never end and he is excited about that. He says, “Every morning I wake up and say ‘Who is the lucky person who has the pleasure of owning and developing this property?’ � Fortunately, Galway’s visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy this spectacular venue as it evolves. Go to Galway Down’s website ( to find out about the upcoming events that you, your family, and your friends can attend. Photos by Todd Montgomery Wedding photos by Leah Marie Photography