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Thu, 2016-12-01 10:44

Fair Hill Announces Facility Upgrades and CCI4* Bid

USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.

The Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area, host of the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Horse Trials, announced yesterday that they have applied to host a CCI4*.

Currently, Fair Hill hosts a variety of equestrian events each year including combined driving events, endurance racing, steeplechase racing, timber racing, recreational trail riding three-day eventing, and more. In order to put this four-star bid forward, stakeholders have been in discussion for several months considering many proposed improvements to the facility at Fair Hill, as outlined in the 2015 Maryland Horse Park System Study. These improvements are designed to benefit the many equestrian related activities hosted at Fair Hill. Facility upgrades mentioned include grandstand renovation at the steeplechase track, creation of a visitors’ center, upgrades to existing arenas and permanent barns, and adding to the cross-country and combined driving courses.

"New economic data shows that the state's equine industry has grown 23 percent in the last five years and contributes $1.5 billion in annual economic activity," said Jim Steele, Chair of the Maryland Horse Industry Board. "Imporving equine facilities at Fair Hill is a vital part of this industry wide renaissance. We have to stay current and make sure our competition venues meet the needs of the equestrian community." 

The study identifies an overall goal to relocate much of the Fair Hill CCI2*/3* competition to the “Fair Zone” which is located at the east side of the steeplechase track. The CCI competition currently takes place in the "Field Event Zone" of the property.

The Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area. Photo via Maryland Horse Park System Study. 

The Fair Zone area already boasts extensive infrastructure including permanent stabling, office buildings and outdoor arenas. According to the study, “We believe there is opportunity to host more and larger equine events at this site throughout the year and even the potential to move the arena components of Fair Hill International to this location, which would provide better accessibility, parking and support facilities for both the competitors and spectators.” The plans also include adding a 350' x 350' show jumping ring nearby this area. You can learn more about all the proposed improvements in the study by clicking here

Fair Zone. Photo via Maryland Horse Park System Study. 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which is the landowner and manager of the public Fair Hill property, believe these site improvements will provide a great benefit to all uses of the park, both equestrian and non-equestrian related, encourage more public support and interactivity and protect the increasingly valuable land on which these activities sit.

“Regardless of the outcome of the 4* proposal, there remains tremendous interest and support to upgrade Fair Hill’s infrastructure for a variety of recreational uses,” said Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton. “A community-led foundation is now being developed to begin identifying potential funding for critical enhancements and improvements at the racetrack and fairgrounds.”

There are currently only six CCI4* events in the world, with the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington, Ky., standing as the only one in North America. “We are excited by the possibility of hosting a 4* event,” said Fair Hill International Executive Director Carla Geiersbach. “With only six events in the whole world, it would be quite an honor to be selected. The coalition of groups working together on this project is truly amazing. We created a fantastic proposal.”

The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has not yet outlined a timeline relating to their suggestion of any one site as a CCI4* host to the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). 

Read more on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' website. 


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