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.
When the overnight leader cantered into the show jumping arena at the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International and had the first rail down, Erin Sylvester knew that she had just clinched the CCI4*-L win. It isn’t just another CCI4*-L win though – it is a truly historic one as she and Paddy The Caddy, Frank McEntee’s 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Azamore x Slamy), will be the final names inscribed on the Fair Hill trophy.
All horses who presented this morning at the final horse inspection at the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event were accepted, but one notable horse wasn’t presented. D.A. Duras, Jacqueline Mars and Debbie Adam’s 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Numero Uno x Medoc) was withdrawn by Lauren Kieffer before the horse inspection. The pair were sitting in third place in the CCI4*-L so their withdrawal moves up the majority of the division.
The scoreboard was kept working at full tilt on cross-country today at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International as 24 of the 41 CCI4*-L starters picked up some sort of jump penalty on Derek di Grazia’s course. The leader position changed several times throughout the afternoon as 15 penalties were handed out by the ground jury, but Waylon Roberts and Lancaster kept their slate clean to take over the top spot.