June 16, 2014 - Oakton, VA – Fairfax4Horses is pleased to announce the opening of an outdoor riding ring at the Laurel Hill Equestrian Center in Lorton, Virginia. Years in the making, this project is a reality thanks to the support of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), and the many citizens who have told them have how important horses are in Fairfax County. Representatives from many organizations joined in celebrating the opening with a ribbon cutting, which was held on April 26.
This ring is nestled behind a berm which creates a quiet, rural space. It measures 200 x 250 feet and has a footing of sand and bluestone. Trailer parking is available next to the ring. A variety of jumps and a portable full-size dressage arena, provided through a Fairfax County Mastenbrook Matching Grant to Fairfax4Horses, are available for use. The ring is also accessible from trails that run through the Park and connect to the Cross County Trail system.
"Like Turner Farm in the northern part of the County and Frying Pan Park in the Center of the County, Laurel Hill Equestrian Center provides a place where people can come to ride horses and enjoy one of the County’s wonderful parks," said Fairfax4Horses President Beverly Dickerson. "These public equestrian facilities in our County serve as reminders of the important role of horses in Virginia’s history and a tangible connection to our past."
Dickerson further noted in her remarks that "Preservation and protection of open space for stables, fields, trails, and equestrian activity improve the quality of life for all residents in Fairfax County. Children who ride become responsible, accomplished, and positive in their outlook toward life, and for adults, equestrian activities are relaxing yet challenging recreation that balances the stresses of today’s demanding lifestyles."
The Laurel Hill Equestrian Center riding ring is the latest addition to Laurel Hill Park. Located on Route 123 in Lorton, the park already offers a golf course and clubhouse, multi-purpose trails, and the Workhouse Arts Center. Until 2001, the land was the site of a prison. In 2002, Fairfax County purchased the land from the federal government and began developing this historic site for adaptive reuse. The long-range goal for the Laurel Hill Equestrian Center is to build a barn that will offer riding lessons, therapeutic riding, and boarding services, since intense development in the County has eliminated many popular stables.
Those interested in learning more about the Laurel Hill Equestrian Center may visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/press/photos/#ct004-14, or "friend" the Fairfax4Horses Facebook page and website (www.fairfax4horses.org), or visit the Friends of Laurel Hill Equestrian Center website, http://flhec.org/.