Elkton, Md. – Fair Hill International in partnership with the Fair Hill Foundation today announced Ian Stark has been hired to design its new cross-country course in preparation of hosting a five-star competition in 2020. As Fair Hill’s cross-country course designer, Stark will direct the layout of the new track and utilize the terrain to make it both unique and challenging. He visited the site earlier this week for an initial survey to begin the course construction.
Responsibilities Stark will manage for the new course include designing the plan for galloping lanes, creating the fences to jump, and ensuring the footing throughout the course meets the highest standards of the sport. Under Stark’s leadership Fair Hill’s new cross-country course will contest eventing athletes at the highest level. The hiring comes as Fair Hill begins a series of upgrades to the facility making it suitable for hosting five-star events.
Stark said, “I am thrilled and excited to be involved in America’s new five-star event at Fair Hill and can’t wait to get started planning the cross-country course. This is every designer’s dream.”
Stark is an Olympic eventing medalist and world-renowned course designer who has been inducted into the Halls of Fame of the British Horse Society, Sporting Scotland, Scottish Borders, and the Event Riders’ Association. Fair Hill International and Fair Hill Foundation selected him because of his experience and reputation for designing some of the most respected and demanding cross-country courses throughout the world.
“Fair Hill International is delighted to welcome Ian Stark to the team,” said Trish Gilbert, President of Fair Hill International, Inc. “His global reputation and experience will be invaluable to the five-star competition. We all look forward to working with him as we bring this event to fruition.”
Fair Hill International has a 30-year history of producing prestigious three-star competitions. Next year’s five-star event will be produced by Fair Hill International along with support from Fair Hill Foundation and Five-Star Host Organizing Committee.
Five-star events are the pinnacle of the sport of eventing. They feature the most advanced dressage test and longer, more complex cross-country courses. There are only six five-star events in the world and currently just one in the United States which takes place annually in Kentucky.
The spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was cancelled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show.
The FEI has published its Policy for Enhanced Competition Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at assisting organizers and national federations with the safe resumption of international equestrian events in line with national and local restrictions.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has approved additional modifications to the qualification period for the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The AEC is scheduled to take place August 25-30, 2020 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and the USEA is doing everything possible to ensure a safe and successful Championship, while also ensuring fair opportunities for all.
This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).