Fair Hill takes a breath

With the reclassification of eventing competitions to offer a 5-star level for the first time, Fair Hill, Md., the nominee for what would have been the USA’s second 4-star event, is doing a half-halt until the requirements are revealed for the highest level event approved by the FEI (international equestrian Federation)

Last July, the U.S. Equestrian Federation approved the recommendation to award a fall 4-star to Fair Hill in 2019. The USA’s only 4-star to this point is the Land Rover Kentucky event, formerly Rolex Kentucky.

While the FEI approved the 5-star concept last month at its annual meeting, it has yet to state the requirements for that and its other levels. Fair Hill of course wants to run the highest level in the sport, but before the public/private partnership continues working on its project at the Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area, it needs to know what the requirements are.

The signature Fair Hill fence on the cross-country course. (Photo by Nancy Jaffer)

The organization is “taking a breath,” as competition manager Ann Haller put it.

“We understand the FEI’s decision to reorganize the star system and the requirements for each level,” said Carla Geiersbach, Fair Hill International’s executive director.

“However, until we know these new requirements, it makes no sense to move forward blindly.  We don’t want to build a state-of-the-art facility to the wrong specifications.  We are committed to presenting an event at the pinnacle of the sport and will march ahead as soon as the FEI releases its new parameters,”

Fair Hill International will mark its 30th anniversary in 2018 with its usual CCI3* and CCI2* event Oct. 18-21, 2018. While the 4-star originally was slated for 2019, with the delay on the FEI releasing specifications, it now appears likely to be held for the first time in 2020.

Sam Slater, president of the Fair Hill Foundation, the coalition’s fundraising partner said, “We remain committed to bringing world class equestrian sporting opportunities to this corner of Maryland. Fair Hill has so much to offer the community, and proposed upgrades will really enhance the facility. As always, thank you to all of our donors, partners, and friends for their committed support.”

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