The owners of HIPICO Santa Fe, a premier equestrian event center located in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, announced today that the facility will be listed by Fay Ranches, Inc., a brokerage firm specializing in land and ranch sales throughout the United States. Owners Brian Gonzales and Guy McElvain, both native New Mexicans, have worked to establish HIPICO as a destination equestrian event center since purchasing the property in 2015.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent public health orders issued by the Governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, led to the closure of most operations and cancelation of events at HIPICO and resulted in a 97% decrease in revenue in 2020. The primary source of annual revenue for the facility, the Santa Fe Summer Series, an A-rated hunter jumper horse show, is produced by the owners and has run annually for four weeks in July and August since 2015 was also forced to cancel in 2020. The Summer Series, and other regional and local horse shows at HIPICO, draw hundreds of competitors and their equine partners from across the western United States, bringing approximately $30,000,000 into the local economy annually. The facility was able to host several smaller events in the summer and fall of 2020 that were permitted under the existing public health orders, to include drive-in concerts, rider clinics and training days, but the income from these events was far less than the projected 2020 revenue required to sustain operations and meet lender obligations. A closure of outdoor event centers, travel restrictions and a limit on mass gatherings remains in place in New Mexico and it is unclear when a relaxation of these public health orders will take place in sufficient measure to allow for full operation of the facility.
“We have been in negotiations with our lender since the pandemic began, when every one of our large events scheduled for 2020 had to be canceled due to the public health orders issued by the governor,” said Guy McElvain. “Unfortunately, we were not able to reach a successful arrangement with our lender that would allow us the long-term stability to recover financially at this point. We were only able to procure some extensions to our loans.” Brian Gonzales noted that, as part of their agreement with the lender, the facility must be placed on the market, and that “we are also continuing to pursue other avenues, including the development of our RV park to allow for year-round operations and, of course, we are looking for equity investors in the property. Both of these options would give us the capital we need to continue our operations.”
All events scheduled for 2021 at HIPICO, to include facility leases for local and regional horse shows, dog shows and clinics, will take place as long as the events are permitted under the public health orders in place. The owners note that while the Santa Fe Summer Series is currently scheduled to take place July 21-August 15, 2021, it is unclear at this time whether it will be permitted to take place under New Mexico public health orders. In light of this uncertainty, a decision about the Santa Fe Summer Series will be announced by March 1, 2021 via HIPICO Santa Fe’s Facebook page and website. For more information, visit www.hipicosantafe.com.