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Category: State & County Archives

The Search for the Maryland Horse Park

June 2005 No, it is not a new reality show a la “Star Search,” but it is potentially a reality for Maryland’s equestrian community. The Maryland Stadium Authority has been tasked by the governor’s office to work with the Maryland Horse Industry Board on a feasibility study for a park that will be designed for use not only by Marylanders, but that will also serve as an attractive destination for out-of-state tourists. A “Request For Nomination of Real Property (RFNRP)” for the proposed horse park has been issued to counties and municipalities throughout the state, but anyone can nominate a site. The MSA is searching for not less than 500 contiguous acres but preferably 800-1200 acres (with easy access to a major highway) in order to accommodate all of Maryland’s equestrian disciplines (including steeplechasing, eventing, fox chasing, endurance riding, dressage, show jumping and similar show ring-oriented sports, polo, Western/rodeo, carriage driving, jousting, police horse training, trail riding and pony rides). The scope includes at least one enclosed 5000-seat arena; an outdoor amphitheater for equestrian competitions, festivals, fairs, trade shows and concerts; 6-12 outdoor show rings and 800- 1200 stalls. The park will be intended to appeal to the large horse show market. Also intended are concession areas, campgrounds, a visitors’ center and business offices for veterinarian, farrier, breeder and equestrian organizations, a museum, and an equine retirement center. The...

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Maryland Horse Park Surveys Local Equestrians

August 2005 The decision by the governor’s office to involve the Maryland Stadium Authority in the questions of whether Maryland should have a horse park, as well as what features and location it should have, is an excellent one. Of course, the equestrian community can expect the MSA to be objective. The MSA is planning a feasibility study on a facility designed for use by both Maryland citizens and out-of-state visitors. A tourist destination, it would be capable of hosting major national and international events and shows, also offering campgrounds, offices, shops, a museum, and space for conferences and educational programs, as well as an amphitheater. Working with the Maryland Horse Industry Board, a site selection committee has been established. It includes several state representatives, as well as members of the equestrian community with extensive background in event organization and facilities management: Alison Asti (a horse person) and Gary McGuigan of the Maryland Sta-dium Authority; Sue Kenney and Dennis Castleman of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development; Rob Burk of the Maryland Horse Industry Board; Greg Gingery of Gingery Development Group, and the former chairman of the Washington International Horse Show; Jim Steele of Shamrock Farm breeding station; and Charlie Fenwick of Valley Motors, founder and chairman of Shawan Downs. Architectural, engineering and economic impact consultants will be retained for the feasibility studies. The project began with...

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Fair Hill & Crownsville Short-Listed as Sites for Maryland Horse Park

September 2005 Six nominations for the Maryland Horse Park were received by August 1. Th e site selection committee then moved into over-drive, barnstorming the state and listening to formal presentations. At press time came the Maryland Stadium Authority’s announcement that the list of six had been reduced to two: Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in Cecil County (a.k.a. “Fair Hill”) and the Anne Arundel County site that includes the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, the state-owned Crownsville Hospital site, and the Annapolis-owned Waterworks Park (a.k.a. “Crownsville”). According to the Maryland Stadium Authority, the principal attributes of the two short-listed sites are: • Terrain and confi guration suitable for all of the proposed equestrian uses • More than 500 contiguous acres • Resourceful utilization of existing public lands • Proximity to major interstate highways • Adequate number of nearby hotels and restaurants • Maximization of rural environment experience Most Maryland equestrians are familiar with 5,613-acre Fair Hill, located near I-95 between Baltimore and Philadelphia and already serving as a de facto horse park. Fair Hill hosts everything from local 4-H, hunter/jumper and dressage shows to Western events, steeplechase racing and some of the world’s most prestigious international competitions (three-day eventing, world championship driving and endurance). Fair Hill’s Bill Mills trail ride is three days long and attracts over 500 riders. Th ere is foxhunting in the vicinity. Th ere...

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What Marylanders Want to See in Their Horse Park

October 2005 What do Maryland equestrians want in their state Horse Park? Here are the responses The Equiery received to that question: An enclosed arena that seats 5,000 An outdoor amphitheatre Cross Country course Jousting (only because it’s the official sport of Maryland) Parking for trailers and RVs with utility connectors Definitely a museum and gift shop Business offices on site to run the facility properly Conference facilities A galloping track Visitor Center/ full commercial kitchen with banquet facilities Snack Bar Dressage rings with built in stands for people watching Show Jumping arenas And most of all…. I’d like to see all of this in ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY! Thanks! …Angela Brennan As vice president of the Southern MD Quarter Horse Association, we would like to have a nice show grounds with stalls, covered ring and electric/water for hook-ups. Something like the state fair grounds in Harrington, DE. We will no longer be holding our annual quarter horse show at PG Equestrian Center. The grounds are falling apart and no support there. We would like to see a Horse Park in the Bowie area, this is central to Maryland. Thanks for the opportunity to give some input. …Dee Hancock Admin. Assistant Charles County Chamber of Commerce Along with the typical show rings … 1. trails 2. xc schooling fences 3. gallop track …Ann Andress Permanent cross-country course, with obstacles for all levels...

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Anne Arundel Site Selected for Horse Park Study

November 2005 A Tale of Two Sites It has been a long, interesting, occasionally cantankerous and always emotional six weeks for the Maryland Horse Park site selection committee as it tried to determine which of the fi nal two sites (Anne Arundel’s Navy Dairy Farm or Cecil’s Fair Hill) would be the focus of the proposed feasibility study. Th e two sites really could not have been more different. Fair Hill Not the Fairest of Them All  For all intents and purposes, Fair Hill is a horse park, hosting everything from local 4-H shows to some of the most prestigious international competitions in the world. Short of an indoor, Fair Hill already boasted every other amenity required to be “the” state Horse Park – although, admittedly, some of the barns could be rehabbed, and more barns added. From a fi nancial standpoint, Fair Hill would have required minimal initial capital investment compared to a site that will be built from scratch. Fair Hill would definitely have been the short term, fiscally conservative choice, with the minimal amount of environmental impact, as any improvements would have used less than .05% of the 5,000-plus acre park. But what currently bedevils the organizers of Fair Hill International would continue to bedevil the management of “the” Maryland Horse Park: lack of an easily identifi able urban audience that could not only embrace the activities as...

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