Story by Jacquelyn Pierce, Contributor
MOUNT BERRY, Ga. – The Berry College Gunby Equestrian Center is under renovation inside and out for the first time since it was built in 1940. The barn was designed and used as a chicken house before its conversion to a horse barn in 1972.
“The renovations will modernize the barn and make it safer and easy to use,” said Eddie Elsberry, director of agriculture operations. “It will also give us a better area for teaching labs and research.”
The indoor renovations are already underway including newly installed new rubber floor matting and new Priefert horse stalls, with plans to do an outside “makeover” in the fall or winter, according to Elsberry.
Before the renovation, the barn was in need of some significant repairs. Stall doors were nearly impossible to open or close and the feeders were falling apart. The ground was uneven and dusty, putting the horses and riders at risk of tripping or falling.
The renovated spaces will also be beneficial for the equestrian team.
“The team will be able to have more room during horse shows when space used to be limited, and overall the barn will look much nicer,” Kelly Knott, a former equestrian rider and now a student worker at the barn, said.
The renovation of the barn will allow safe entry of horses for when they need to be fed and will allow more aisle room for everyone in a safer environment. Not only will the renovation make a safer riding place, but the facilities will have an updated look.
“Renovating Gunby will help Berry and our team, in that it will make our facilities more appealing to future riders as well as people hoping to keep their horses in the private side of the barn,” Miriam Pitts, the Hunt Seat historian said.
The barn was in need of repairs and it is well on its way to becoming a newly updated space for the current riders and horses as well as those in the future.
“We are thankful that we are able to use some gifted money along with Berry’s investment on the cost of the project,” said Elsberry. “We are excited and anxious to do more as we secure more partnerships from friends of Gunby.”