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.
Perhaps one of the best reasons to be a member of USEA is the opportunity to qualify for and participate in the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. This year there was a record 1,178 entries and a waitlist of over 150. There were 1,009 pinnies handed out and 939 horses started the competition. All combined it made for the largest horse trials in USEA history. Competitions ran in all USEA divisions and additional prizes were given for teams, incentive programs, amateur, and young rider divisions.
The 2021 Plantation Field International Three-Day Event kicked off yesterday with the CCI2*-S and CCI3*-S dressage, and culminated with the CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S dressage today.
Oliver Townend of Great Britain, World #1 on the FEI Eventing World Athlete Rankings, heads an All-Star list of riders currently entered to compete in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. The list also includes the world’s #2, #7 and #8 ranked riders as well as Olympians from five countries. Townend will compete with his accomplished gelding, Cooley Master Class, winner of back-to-back Kentucky Three-Day titles (2018-2019).
US Equestrian (USEF) and the United States Eventing Association (USEA) have announced the publication of the new 2022 USEF Eventing Dressage Tests for Beginner Novice through Advanced which will be used from December 1, 2021 through November 30, 2025.