VRC and RDA Pakenham launch the Subzero Arena

4 May 2023 Written by VRC

The Victoria Racing Club and Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Pakenham launched the new horse riding facility, the Subzero Arena at Pakenham today, named in honour of one of racing’s greatest heroes.

VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich was joined at the official launch event by Deputy Liberal Leader Sussan Ley, the Honourable Jason Wood MP, along with VRC Ambassador and Olympic equestrian Amanda Ross. Two-time Paralympian and VRC Ambassador Emma Booth performed a para-dressage performance on the new arena for guests.

The arena was named in honour of 1992 Melbourne Cup winner Subzero, who not only won ‘the race that stops a nation’™, but surpassed that legendary achievement by proceeding to become one of racing’s greatest ambassadors.

Together with his great mate Graham Salisbury, ‘Subbie’ travelled far and wide to bring joy to people of all ages, featuring regularly throughout the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour where they visited schools and aged care homes.

The Subzero Arena has been created as a collaboration between the VRC and RDA Pakenham, with the VRC donating the special synthetic surface material that has been re-purposed from the Flemington training track plus nearly $60,000 from the VRC Equine Wellbeing Fund.

The new arena provides the perfect riding surface for every weather condition and ensures that the riders at RDA Pakenham can always enjoy the therapeutic benefits from their association with horses.

VRC CEO Steve Rosich said the club was very proud to help the RDA bring its vision for a new arena to life.

“Together with RDA Pakenham we are delighted to launch the Subzero Arena, named in honour of a horse who not only had a great association with racing but also with the community.

“The club was proud to donate a special all-weather material that has been re-purposed from the Flemington training track plus nearly $60,000, creating a facility for Pakenham RDA to utilise in delivering this important service for the community.”

Riding for the Disabled is a voluntary, nonprofit organisation which provides opportunities for anyone with a disability to enjoy safe, healthy, therapeutic, horse-related activities in Australia.

The VRC created the VRC Equine Wellbeing Fund in 2019, kick-started with $1 million from ticket sales and topped up annually with five per cent of all VRC membership fees. The fund and wider equine welfare strategy supports thoroughbreds and the people who love them in a variety of ways, from investing in research and state of the art technology to ensure optimum fitness to supporting their pathways into post-racing careers.

RDA Pakenham replaces the RDA centre in Officer which closed down in 2019.The 25 acre block of land has undergone a transformation after the dedicated team of volunteers poured their heart and souls into making this vision a reality early in 2022. More information on Riding for the Disabled Association is available here.