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    Morven Park breaks ground on new equestrian facility

    Morven Park, site of a recent groundbreaking of a major expansion to the property, could potentially host events in a 2024 Olympic bid. - Times-Mirror/AJ Maclean
    Earlier this year Robert Sweeney, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, made a trip to Loudoun to meet with Suzanne Musgrave, development director for Morven Park to discuss Loudoun’s role in a potential bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

    Loudoun's portion of the bid would revolve around the Leesburg equestrian venue.

    Morven Park is being considered as a venue for the four equestrian events of the Olympics.

    On Sept. 19 Morven Park officially broke ground on a new facility, which will include four outdoor arenas, one indoor show arena as well as affiliated barns and parking.

    The move was planned independent of the Olympic bid, but no doubt strengthens Morven Park’s position in securing Olympic equestrian events should Washington D.C. be the United States Olympic Committee’s choice as host nation. Musgrave said the park seems like the ideal place to host the events, listing as strengths its close proximity to rail, the nearby airport, as well as many hotels and restaurants.

    The park currently supports 150,000 visitors a year.

    Musgrave believes the bid would be in many ways a game changer for Loudoun County and she is hopeful that the Washington 2024 group is successful.

    Regardless of the Olympics the region has been a horse area and "we need an update," said Musgrave.

    "With a goal of creating one of the premier equestrian venues on the East Coast, Morven Park’s plans begin with the replacement of its outdoor arenas with later phases of construction to include a pavilion for prime spectator viewing and hospitality, a Grand Prix field, all new barns and a new indoor stadium to create a comprehensive multi-discipline venue," said Sheryl Williams, COO of Morven Park in a prepared statement.

    The Grand Prix field would host show jumping, hunter derby and carriage driving competitions.
    “Morven Park has a long history of hosting world class events here in Loudoun,” said Musgrave.

    Overseen by the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation, the 1,000 acre grounds have hosted events for more than 50 years, when the original grounds were built to educate riding instructors.

    The park already hosts more than 30 horse shows a year from international eventing to hunter and jumper shows.

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