Grants and Awards for Keeping Maryland Beautiful

The Keep Maryland Beautiful (KMB) program was established in 1967 as the first program administered by the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET). This program is partially funded by the Maryland State Highway Administration and provides grants to nonprofit organizations and schools to support environmental education and demonstration projects that enhance and maintain the environment.  Certainly there are horse organizations in Maryland that might also qualify for this.

There are two categories: 
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This week in Annapolis…

The Maryland Horse Council and the Maryland Farm Bureau will either be monitoring or testifying on the following bills this week, which may be of interest to our readers.
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Repealing Ag Tax Exemptions, Later School Start Date, plus more

The Maryland Farm Bureau is active on the following bills, which may be of interest to Equiery readers.

Including Manure Equipment for Tax Adjustments

With  SB 345, livestock manure loading or hauling equipment used to transport animal manure from a farm would be added to the list of “enhanced agricultural management equipment”.  The purchase value of this type of equipment is eligible for subtraction from the federal adjusted gross income of a resident to determine Maryland adjusted gross income.

As more and more regulations are created that require the removal and hauling of manure from farms, having the ability to treat this removal equipment as essential farm equipment will help in lowering the cost of complying with these regulation.

MFB supports SB 345.

Delaying Start of School Year

HB 389 would prohibit public schools and publicly funded prekindergarten programs from opening for pupil attendance prior to the day after Labor Day.

Starting school after Labor Day will benefit the number one industry in the state, Agriculture.  Maryland’s State Fair, 4-H and FFA programs and a decrease of available labor during the last two weeks of August are the primary areas negatively affected by starting school earlier than Labor Day. It is projected that small family owned farm businesses lose up to 1/3 of their local student workforce because of the current school calendar.

MFB supports SB 389

Small Business Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 2015

HB 480 would exempt a person with personal property that has a total assessed value of $10,000 or less from paying personal property tax.  There is a provision in the bill that would have the state pay the county and municipality their portion on the exempted personal property tax.  This would be paid at a rate of 100% in year one, 75% year two, 50% year three, 25% year four and 0% year five and on.  MFB supports the lowering and eliminating of taxes.

MFB support HB 480

Repeal of Ag Tax Exemptions

Maryland Farm Bureau members, agricultural seed and equipment suppliers and others who seek to preserve our rural economy are urged to contact the Maryland General Assembly in opposition to HB 928, legislation that could put farms on the brink of disaster.

HB 928, entitled Sales & Use Tax – Agricultural Products and Equipment – Repeal of Exemption, was introduced by Delegate Jay Walker of Prince George’s County.  The bill would repeal the tax exemption that exists in current law for the purchase of inputs for farm operations.  If passed, this bill would require farmers to pay sales tax on the purchase of:

The current exemption is in place because farmers, like other businesses that build or manufacture a product for consumer consumption, have always been exempt from taxation during the input and production process.  Just like we would not expect an automobile manufacturer to pay sales tax on every piece of metal, fastener or fabric used to produce a car or on the assembly line parts to move those products, we should not expect farmers to pay retail sales tax for the items they purchase to grow food, fiber, and fuel.

The Hearing on HB 928 is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3 at 1:00pm in the House Ways and Means Committee.

For more information, visit Maryland General Assembly.

EHV-1 found in VA Horses; no trace-back to any Maryland horses as of today

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is carefully monitoring several recent cases of EHV-1 in Virginia.

Loudon County 

According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), on Thursday, February 12, 2015,
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Tax Incentive Legislation For Land Conservation

From the Land Trust Alliance in Washington, D.C.

On Feb. 2, 2015, a federal bill was introduced by Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), that would make permanent a tax incentive that encourages landowners to place a conservation easement on their land to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources for public benefit.
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It is “Game On” for the Maryland General Assembly

The 435th session of the Maryland General Assembly is in full swing!  Also known as the “Legislative Session,” these 90 days are an intense roller coaster of parliamentary drama. Most Maryland senators and delegates leave their “real jobs” and “real lives” for 3 months, relocating to Annapolis to craft the laws and regulations that govern our state.  It is not uncommon for approximately 2,000 bills to be filed each session, and every single one of them receives at least one hearing before session adjourns on April 13.

This past Friday, Feb. 6, was the last day that a senator could introduce a bill through standard procedures, and this Friday, February 13 will be the final day in which a bill can be introduced via the House.  Bills can still be introduced going forward, but the process is more cumbersome and a hearing is no longer guaranteed.

So what do we know so far?
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14 Arabber Horses Seized

On January 13, 2015, the Baltimore City Health Department oversaw the seizure of 14 horses from the South Carlton Street stables. The horses are owned by Baltimore City residents and are used to pull carts of fresh fruits and vegetables through urban neighborhoods in Baltimore that are underserved by grocery stores. In many cases, this is the only access to fresh fruit and vegetables for these residents. These vendor cart ponies and horses have colloquially been known for over a century as “Arabbers.”

The Baltimore City Health Department contracted with Days End Farm Horse Rescue to remove and provide care, custody and control of the horses until the legal situation can be resolved.

When Days End Farm Horse Rescue issued its press release about the seizure and requested immediate donations, the digital and television media lit up and the story instantly began to “trend” on social media.

Why were the horses seized? Not only does The Equiery want to know, many of our readers would like to know as well.

Baltimore City Health Department spokesman Michael Schwartzberg would only repeat the official statement:
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Peter Hitchen, MFH 1938 – 2015

Maryland will miss…

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 2.32.41 PM…Potomac Hunt Club joint Master Peter Hitchen, who died January 12 from complications related to injuries sustained in a fall foxhunting on December 11. He was 76.

Peter was born in New Moston, a suburb of Manchester, England, on October 23, 1938, to Marion Platt Hitchen and John Hitchen. The family persisted through the relentless German bombing of the industrial city during World War II and was forced to temporarily evacuate Manchester to live in Cheshire until the closing of the war. He attended the Moston Primary School and went to work early in life on the three family farms located around Cheshire and instantly fell in love with farming and the outdoors. This fortuitous introduction to land stewardship and farming inadvertently introduced Peter to riding workhorses while making hay and riding to and from the hay fields. Farming and the outdoors quickly overshadowed school and his thirst for world travel and adventure.

The British requirement of two years National Service in the armed forces led him to join the Army in 1956. He im­mediately signed on for an additional three years so that he was guaranteed overseas deployment. He spent six years in the Royal Artillery and served in Malaysia during the communist insurrection and later served in Hong Kong fighting the Chinese communists. He achieved the rank of Full Bombardier and was charged with managing the Signal Corp of the Royal Artillery. One of his commanding officers, Lt. Col. H. A. Hardy, MBE, MC, RA, described Peter as: “a conscientious and intelligent young NCO. He is completely trustworthy and accepts responsibility willingly. He has the initiative and drive to get things done.” He lived his entire life in accordance with this self-imposed doctrine.

After leaving the Army in early 1962 Peter briefly worked in a candy factory to save enough so that he could achieve the lifelong dream of traveling to America and made the passage later that year. He settled in the Washington, D.C. area and put himself through Ben Franklin University, working nights at the original Clyde’s in Georgetown and culminating in earning his CPA Degree. During this time, he was introduced to the sport of foxhunting by a friend and also met his future bride, Nancy Tilton Orme of Leesburg. She encouraged his involvement with hunting to hounds at The Loudoun Hunt and the sport became his lifelong passion.

He married Nancy in 1965 and together they had three children, Hilary in 1967, Peter in 1970, and Brad in 1971. The couple later divorced. His second marriage to Janet Goldberg Holloway also ended in divorce.

In 1971, Peter was recruited by Buster Day to come work at his Francis O. Day Company, a paving and excavating company located in Rockville, Maryland where he spent 35 years assisting the Day family in running the prestigious and successful paving and development business. He achieved the title of Vice President and Chief Comptroller of the F.O. Day Company, Inc. and retired in 2007.

Peter never let anything interfere with his maturing love and passion for fox hunting and after many seasons of whipping in at the New Market/Middletown Hounds and later at The Potomac Hunt Club, Peter joined Irvin L. (Skip) Crawford as Joint Master of the Potomac Hunt in 1987. With Huntsman, Larry Pitts, they oversaw the development of what is argu­ably one of the premier pack of American foxhounds in the United States, giving good sport to their members year after year. Peter was also heavily involved in the organizing and running The Potomac Hunt Races every May, one of the most respected and popular meets among steeplechase horsemen. He was also a successful steeplechase owner whose good luck brought him many winners, most notably Daily Desire, who won him the title of Maryland Steeplechase Owner of the Year in 1991. R. B. Billy, co-owned with Skip Crawford, won the Maryland Steeplechase Timber title several years later. And since 1996, he has served as the treasurer of the Maryland Steeplechase Association.

Peter had a legendary, compelling, and commanding presence, which naturally attracted people of all walks of life. He was an intuitive and cunning businessman, a natural horseman, a devoted father and friend, and faced his last challenge as bravely as he had faced every other challenge in his life.

He is survived by his loving family, daughter Hilary Luttrell Hitchen Bateman and her husband, Chuck; son Peter Orme Hitchen, his wife Melanie and daughter Madilyn Nancy; son John Bradford Hitchen; and his devoted companion of 15 years, Anne Ragland Finney.

Per the wishes of Master Hitchen, services will be held Saturday, January 24 at the Potomac Hunt Club at 2:45 p.m., commencing with a stirrup cup and followed by the memorial service. The Hunt Club is located at 21315 Peach Tree Road, Dickerson, MD 20842.

Memorial donations in Peter Hitchen’s memory may be made to The Potomac Hunt Club, 21315 Peach Tree Road, Dickerson, MD 20842.

Please share your memories of and stories about Peter in the comment field below, or email them to for a future edition of The Equiery.


Hogan appoints Horsemen

Not surprisingly, Governor-elect Larry Hogan has been doing quite a bit of reorganizing, appointing all new cabinet secretaries. The appointments include two longtime horsemen: David Brinkley and Ken Holt.

Hogan selected soon-to-be-former Senator David Brinkley (R – District 4) to serve as his Secretary of the Department Budget and Management. Equiery readers know David as a former B Pony Clubber who competed in 1973 and 1974 on the first and second Prince Philip Cup Games Teams representing the United States – winning the Cup the second time. In addition to being a member of the Frederick Pony Club, David grew up whipping-in for New Market Hounds Hunt Club, which was founded by his parents.

Sen. David Brinkley with daughter Margaret at Cavalia in October 2013.

Sen. David Brinkley with daughter Margaret at Cavalia in October 2013.

In his adult life, in addition to maintaining a small horse farm, Brinkley has spent the last 20+ years in the General Assembly and was most recently the senate minority leader. He has served on both the budget and tax committee and the finance committee. According to the Washington Post, the Secretary of Budget and Management has been “one of Hogan’s most anticipated appointments, setting the budget and addressing a $750 million shortage will be among the most challenging hurdles of his first few months in office. Hogan has warned that cuts are coming and that he hopes to quickly offer Maryland residents some tax relief.”

Meanwhile, Thoroughbred owner and breeder Ken Holt has been appointed Secretary of Department of Housing and Community Development. Holt is a Republican and a former delegate for Baltimore and Harford Counties. Holt’s Mount Peru Farm is in Kingsville

Of course, the departments that are of the most interest to the majority of horse people are Agriculture and Natural Resources.  For Secretary of Ag, Hogan, a Republican, has appointed lifetime farmer Joe Bartenfelder, a Democrat and a former Baltimore County delegate. Hogan has appointed Charlie Evans to head DNR; Evans is a former assistant secretary for that department, under the Ehrlich administration.

All appointments must be approved by the Senate.

Horse people who attended the November meeting of the Maryland Horse Council got to meet Adam Dubitsky, who at that time was Hogan’s campaign spokesman. He has been named as the Governor-elects Director of Policy.

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 10.51.53 AMIn the meantime, Hogan took time from his frenetic schedule to meet last week with a delegation from the Maryland Horse Council. It was supposed to be for a quick photo op, but then Hogan surprised the MHC delegation by being so very VERY generous with his time, and the delegation was able to provide Mr. Hogan with a better business sense of the horse industry, which has an annual economic impact of $1.6 billion. In return, Mr. Hogan shared stories with the group about his father and his father’s horses, and how passionate his father had been about the Marlboro Race Track, now the Prince George’s Equestrian Center. Mr. Hogan’s father, Lawrence Hogan Sr. served as Prince George’s County Executive from 1978 – 1982.

With Governor-elect Larry Hogan are Equiery publisher Crystal Kimball, Larking Hill Farm owner, manager and trainer Christy Clagett, and the Crofton Dover acting manager, Chris Briggs.





$30,000 awarded in grants to Maryland horse programs and projects

The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) is awarding $30,000 in grants to 26 organizations that represent a cross section of equine groups and disciplines from various geographic areas of the state. The committee of five MHIB members selected projects from a pool of 47 applications.

Funding for these grants and MHIB is provided by the Maryland Feed Fund, which collects $6 on every ton of horse feed sold in Maryland (or about 15¢ per bag). Since the fund was established in 2002, MHIB has awarded more than $350,000 in grants to more than 275 projects.

The following organizations will be receiving grants:
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