In September 2001, several equestrians testified at a hearing of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, supporting the need for public riding facilities in the county. Numerous riding stables had closed as a result of rising land values that had made it impractical for many facilities to remain in business.
In October 2002, a meeting was held at the Grange in Great Falls, where one of the largest riding stables had closed. A coalition of equestrians and individuals interested in maintaining open space in the county began organizing to create opportunities for horseback riding by establishing public riding facilities on county parkland.
Fairfax4Horses was incorporated in September 2004, and received status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in May 2005. During this time, the organization regularly attended planning meetings held by the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), supporting the idea of public riding facilities.
Laurel Hill Park, formerly the site of Lorton Prison, was identified as a promising location for a riding facility. In July 2004, the FCPA approved a master plan for Laurel Hill Park that included a site for an equestrian center. A parcel of about 60 acres was set aside for a stable, indoor arena, outdoor rings, and pasture.
Fairfax4Horses and the FCPA signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in June 2006 to work officially as partners on the development of the Laurel Hill Equestrian Center. In May 2008, the FCPA announced that the Laurel Hill Equestrian Center would receive some funding from a bond issue and from proffers by developers in the Lorton area.