A $10 Million Indoor Dressage Arena used for Polo: Dressage Queens everywhere gasp

My heart is still doing flip flops over the incredible indoor arena and barn I saw this weekend.


Yes, a reported $10 Million to build this barn beauty.

Here is the back story, with an interesting legal dimension (the following is based on what I was told by a third party, so I always leave room for some misstatement of facts).

Most of you know of the enormous and disastrous Exxon Valdez Mobile oil spill in Alaska in 1989; 11 MILLION gallons of oil spilled into the ocean, or approximately the volume equivalent of 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  You can read more about it here.

Exxon was sued for the travesty, and settled in 1991 with the U.S. Government and the state of Alaska for $150 Million (criminal plea) + $100 Million (criminal restitution) + $100 Million (civil settlement) + $92 Million (lingering cleanup) + undisclosed costs of cleanup (animals, water, plants, etc.).
So, a lot of money.

And who were some of the bright, hard working, and smart brains behind the structure of the settlement?
Lawyers!

One of the particular lawyers, Fred Furth, was reportedly entitled to lumber/ trees damaged by the oil spill.  According to my source, he took the damaged Alaskan cedar, had it stripped, refurbished, and built into an equestrian estate for his (now ex) wife Peggy at an approximate cost of $10 million.

Up close with the beautiful refurbished Alaskan wood

The equestrian facilities are located at Chalk Hill Winery.  I care only to share the history of this arena, but if you wish to read more interesting details about the attorney or Chalk Hill, you can start here.

I was at Chalk Hill Winery and saw the beautiful, stunning, phenomenal dressage arena for an exhibition polo game in which my brother played.
Polo: the roughest sport of them all, in a deluxe dressage arena.
Dressage mirrors were draped in netting to protect them from flying arena balls, and beautiful cedar corners were tacked over with particle board to create rounded polo walls. I think I heard gasping from the ghosts of the original dressage users of that arena.

My brother Collin warming-up

Chalk Hill now has a new owner, who fortunately is happy to continue equestrian use of the property.

The polo ponies had a nice view; looking down on the arena's roof and over surrounding Sonoma County.

You can find more photos of the arena and barns in my facebook album.