Jumping from the Ashes – Fair Hill Training Center Reopens New Facility After Devastating Fire

Edited Press Release

(PARADISE, PA) December 2023 — On the grounds of Fair Hill Training Center in the northeast corner of Maryland, a long-standing partnership centered on the love of horses has a new home. These partners, one a respected horse trainer, the other an owner of a reputable equine veterinary clinic, received a disastrous phone call on Christmas Eve 2021.

Their shared barn facility, Parlo II, had burned to the ground. Luckily no people or horses were harmed. But what was left in the ashes was a commitment to rebuild the facility together, stronger and even better. Now, the two partners, Vintage Racing and Equine Veterinary Care, are welcoming beloved horses and the equine community back into a new and beautifully built barn.

The Parlo II Partnership

Originating from a conversation between legendary thoroughbred trainer Michael Matz and renowned veterinarian Dr. Kathleen Anderson, Parlo II is an equine veterinary diagnostic and treatment facility located at the Fair Hill Training Center in Fair Hill, Maryland.

Matz, whose competition credits include membership on three U.S. Olympic show jumping teams and a gold medal winning 1986 World Championship team, is perhaps best known as the trainer for 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Anderson has provided ambulatory and outpatient services as a founding partner and co-owner of Equine Veterinary Care. Dr. Anderson is a former board member and past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

Dr. Anderson has been a board member for the FHTC since 1995 and is a co-chair and trustee for the Thoroughbred Education and Research Foundation. Anderson’s practice has provided veterinary care to Matz’s horses since his arrival at Fair Hill Training Center in 1998.

“He approached me in 2003 with a vision of a win-win partnership in building the Parlo II site, and we took it from there,” said Anderson. “It is certainly a feat in today’s world that we have yet to have a dispute on any level of the operating agreement.”

Fire!

A fire razed the facility on Christmas Eve 2021 despite first responders’ best efforts. Fortunately, Matz had already moved his horses to Florida for the winter, and Anderson’s staff had left for the day, so no animals or people were harmed. Still, it was a total loss.

Equine Veterinary Care shifted to providing ambulatory care from a nearby farm, while Matz leased stalls from another owner. Soon, they decided to rebuild Parlo II. After getting quotes from different barn builders, they selected B&D Builders, a Pennsylvania-based custom builder with decades of experience in equestrian facilities.

“We had observed B&D Builders in multiple nearby construction projects both on and off Fair Hill, so when it came time to pick a contractor, they were an easy choice,” said Anderson.

A New Home

The new Parlo II facility was designed to fit on the previous building’s footprint, with improvements gleaned from more than two decades of shared use of the space. That meant, among other things, continuous communication between the partners and B&D Builders.

“They wanted to provide more natural light and ventilation for the horses, and improved storage for hay and straw,” said Daniel Glick, owner and co-founder of B&D Builders. “They also wanted additional treatment stalls on the veterinary side, a front-facing entrance, and conference and meeting rooms on the second floor for community use.”

Building spaces specifically for thoroughbreds brings unique challenges. “They are very high strung animals and tend to break things quickly if it’s not constructed properly,” said Glick. “We have either re-built or renovated 12 barns at Fair Hill, dubbing them the ‘B&D Proving Grounds’. If it works at Fair Hill, it will work everywhere!”

B&D Builders brought several design ideas to the table, including:

  • A Kalwall skylight system to add natural light 
  • Open space design combined with Big Ass Fans for optimal ventilation
  • A reconfigured clinic side to roughly double the number of treatment stalls
  • Stone subfloor overlaid with fitted rubber mats provides a “dig-proof” floor with good drainage 
  • Galvalume stall fronts rather than powder coated, protecting them from rust without requiring paint touch-ups
  • All stalls all have rubber mats lining walls to minimize risk of injury to horses from impact with block walls

Small details also made a big difference for horse comfort and safety, said Matz. “Little things like a new flip-up latch design that keeps stall doors closed are good. With some door latches, people don’t close them all the way, and horses can hit their hips on them. They’re in a padded stall with fresh air all around them. It’s a good situation for them.”

Moving Forward

Vintage Racing and Equine Veterinary Care were “homeless” for 18 months but hosted their first  open house for the equestrian community in August 2023. There were tours of the 6,500- square-foot full-service veterinary facility while the horses got plenty of guest attention from their stall doors in the 16,200-square-foot barn. “The entire B&D team were wonderful to work with on  all fronts,” said Anderson. “Their work ethic is undeniable, and their pride of workmanship — from the roofers to the block layers — shows in the quality of the finished product.”

About B&D Builders

B&D Builders is a full-service custom builder with the expertise to bring new construction and remodeling projects to life. B&D Builders’ team of skilled designers and craftsmen have brought creativity and attention to detail to hundreds of projects across the U.S., including bank barns, equestrian arenas, event facilities, historic restorations, commercial properties, and luxury homes. B&D relishes building a heritage structure that not only stands the test of time but brings the customer’s vision into full focus. For more than 20 years, B&D Builders projects have been Built Right or Not at All. For more information, please visit BandDBuilders.com.