The Maryland Board of Public Works voted today to approve the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Equine Improvements project. The approval green lights the project with construction beginning later this month to upgrade the facilities and continue Fair Hill’s preparations to host its first international five-star event in 2020. A formal groundbreaking event is being planned around the 85th Fair Hill Races taking place May 24-25.
The improvement project addresses Fair Hill’s aged equestrian infrastructure and ensures the opportunity to sustain Fair Hill’s future as one of the premier equine sports venues in the world. It will also provide a stronger revenue model for the State of Maryland and Cecil County through major equestrian and recreational events.
“The approval by the Board of Public Works is a very big step toward sustaining the future of Fair Hill,” said Jay Griswold, Vice President of the Fair Hill Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We look forward to construction getting underway and advancing the plans for the five-star event next year. This is an exciting day for Maryland and all of our great partners who have been supporting this project from the beginning.”
In 2020, Fair Hill will become one of seven locations in the world hosting a five-star. Maryland will join Kentucky as the only other state to host both a five-star and a Triple Crown race. The Maryland five-star is expected to generate millions of dollars in economic impact annually.
Upgrades for the venue include construction of a new cross-country course, already in development under Course Designer, Ian Stark. Three new equestrian arenas will be installed on the infield of the turf course for dressage and show jumping use.
Fair Hill’s historic turf racecourse, built in the late 1920s and modeled after Aintree Racecourse in England, is also being restored. The course will be resurfaced, realigned, and irrigated. Modifications will allow Fair Hill to host world-class turf racing and steeplechase racing. Visit FairHillFoundation.org for more information about the upgrades.
US Equestrian has announced the nomination of the following athlete-and-horse combinations to the U.S. Eventing Team, as well as the Reserves for the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. Three direct reserve horses have also been named. A direct reserve horse would be an automatic replacement should the original horse on which an athlete was named need to be substituted.
A combination that can be found on almost every cross-country course starting at the Novice level is the coffin combination. As the levels go up, so does the difficulty of the coffin question. The distances become shorter, coffins become bigger, and the terrain becomes steeper - even the name itself sounds intimidating.
The dressage test is the first of the three phases in eventing. Intended to demonstrate "the harmonious development of the physique and ability of the horse," the dressage test contains a prescribed list of movements to be carried out in front of a judge, or judges, and which is then given a penalty score that horse and rider carry through to the end of the competition.
On Sunday, June 16, Molly Sullivan and Kate Swain were named the two winners of the Charles Owen Technical Merit award for Area IX at Golden Spike Horse Trials.