Maryland’s Fair Hill has been selected to permanently host the annual “four-star” event of cross country, dressage and jumping. Fair Hill was competing with another finalist, Great Meadow International in Plains, Virginia.
On Monday night, U.S. Equestrian Federation’s board of directors recommended Fair Hill, but the final decision is left up to the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sports. FEI is expected to make a decision as early as this fall.
Fair Hill would become the seventh in the world and second site in the United States to host one of these events.
The four-day competition is expected to contribute an estimated $20 million to $30 million to the state economy, according to the executive director of Maryland Sports, Terry Hasseltine.
A three-day equestrian event, hosted by Fair Hill International, is held at the site each October, drawing around 15,000 spectators. The nonprofit is expecting up to 80,000 people to attend the four-day event.
Fair Hill being selected to host the event “is a reflection of our rich equestrian tradition and establishes our state as a premier destination for equestrian event and equine activities,” Governor Larry Hogan said in a news release. “We are proud that numerous private sector organizations, boards, and state and county agencies and elected officials all worked together to get Maryland to this point in the process and we are extremely optimistic that we will secure final approval.”
If Fair Hill is selected to host the event, the site will undergo a series of upgrades. The first event would be held at the site in 2019.