Giving Thanks by Giving Wisely

It is the holidays and the end of the tax year! How do you give wisely?

As we gather today to give thanks, most of us our probably include our horses somehow. Maybe a special hot bran mash, or extra apples (apple pie for us, extra apples for them, right?).

And as Thanksgiving officially kicks off the winter holidays, so too does it kick off the official season for charitable giving.

If you are looking for an equine charity, there are many worthy ones, including schools, riding programs and college research programs, rescue programs and shelters, and therapeutic programs. With schools and colleges, giving is fairly standardized. However, with other organizations, you may worry; you may wonder if an organization is legitimate. You may wonder how much of your donation actually goes to help horses, or just to line pockets. Where is the accountability? Who regulates these organizations?
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Tom Chuckas resigns as president & CEO of Maryland Jockey Club

The Stronach Group announced today that Tom Chuckas, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, has resigned his position with the company, effective November 30.

Chuckas joined the Maryland Jockey Club in May 2008. Over the years, he has led the effort to develop a long-term plan to bring stability to horse racing in the state of Maryland. He has also played a pivotal role in rebranding the Preakness Stakes which saw record-breaking attendance for 2014.
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Did you hear? Racing year-round in Maryland!

The Maryland Jockey Club announced earlier this week that Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course will conduct 149 days of racing in 2015, as approved by the Maryland Racing Commission. The MJC will conduct a winter meeting at Laurel, a spring campaign at Pimlico, a summer stand at Laurel for the first time since 2010 and a fall meeting at Laurel.

The 2015 winter meeting will begin January 1 and run through March 28 with 43 live racing days with live racing. In January and February, racing will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with holiday exceptions. Wednesday racing will be added during March. The stakes schedule for the 2015 Laurel Park winter meet was also approved. The $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (G2) on February 14 and the $250,000 General George Handicap (G3) two days later headline the 16 stakes program.

Racing will then shift to Pimlico for the spring meeting, which will begin April 2 and run through June 6, Belmont Stakes day. The 37-day stand will feature the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown on Saturday, May 16.

Prior to the Timonium State Fair meet, live racing returns to the major tracks on August 1 at Laurel Park for an 11-day summer stand. After the Timonium meet, Laurel will conduct a 58-day fall meeting through the end of the year with four days a week of live racing during the months of September, October and November and three days a week of racing in December.

Governor-Elect Larry Hogan invited to meet the Maryland horse industry on Nov. 18

As most of our readers are aware, Republican candidate Larry Hogan won Maryland’s gubernatorial election on Tuesday, November 4.

In the legislature, although both Senate President Mike Miller and Representive Mike Busch held onto their seats, Republicans gained two seats in the Senate (for a total of 14 out of 47)and 9 seats in the House (for a total of 52 out of 141).

How does all of this shake out for the horse industry and the equestrian community? Hard to say right now.

The Maryland Farm Bureau endorsed the Hogan-Rutherford ticket, so MFB is now surely pleased.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Thoroughbred industry, understandably, had supported the Brown-Ullman ticket. We say “understandably” because Ullman’s father serves on the Maryland Racing Commission, and the racetrack folks tend to be loyal, but they are also practical, and the Republicans have a good track record for supporting slots, which in turn support racing.

However, the Maryland Horse Council shied away from endorsing a gubernatorial ticket – although MHC’s endorsed candidates for the house and the senate did well.

The Maryland Horse Council has invited Governor-Elect Hogan to attend the MHC annual general meeting on Tues. Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. in Annapolis. On his survey for the Maryland Horse Council (which surveyed all the candidates), Hogan indicates a sentimental attachment to the Prince George’s Equestrian Center because of his father, who was the P.G. County Executive from 1978 – 1982; perhaps if he joins us on Nov. 18, he will tell us more!

Click here to read Hogan’s responses to the MHC 2014 Election Candidate Surveys.

Click here for more information about the MHC Nov. 18 meeting – which is open to all horse people.

Today is Election Day! Not sure for whom to vote? Consider voting “Farmer Friendly” and “Horse Friendly.”

Today, Tuesday, November 4, 2014, is election day! A critical day in our representative democracy.

The news networks have been pounding the same message for weeks: today’s election is crucial, pivotal! It could change the direction of the country, or Maryland – or at least your local jurisdiction.

Voting is one of our inalienable rights, as well as one of our civic responsibilities.

There are 40 open seats in the General Assembly, and of course the two gubernatorial candidates are unexpectedly neck-and-neck down the stretch!

Maybe you’ve been meaning to check out the Maryland candidates but just have not gotten around to it. Well, today’s the day and we’ve got two quick ways you can figure out which candidates might represent your interests:

1. Maryland Horse Council’s list of endorsements

2. Maryland Farm Bureau PAC’s list of endorsements

And if you are not sure where you polling place is, click here.

See you at the polls!


On your way to your polling place, stop by your local feed or tack store and pick up the November issue of The Equiery – you can read it while you wait in line!

In Case You Missed it…. Allison Kilroy Named WIHS Regional Hunter Horse Finals Champion

© Shawan McMillen Photographry

© Shawan McMillen Photography

The WIHS Regional Hunter Horse Finals wrapped up on Sunday, October 26 with Maryland’s own Allison Kilroy earning the championships honors. Allison rode Inside Scoop to win on a score of 80. She trains with Amy and Streett Moore at McDonogh and leases “Tank” from the school. Allison is also the captain of McDonogh’s varsity riding team.

For more on the Regional Finals, go to our Sporting Blog by clicking here.

2014 WIHS Barn Night Winners

Congratulations to the winning stables of the 2014 Barn Night at Washington International Horse Show.  We are proud that, once again, MARYLAND dominated the entries and swept the Barn Night Awards!The creative challenge theme (for videos and banners) was “Equestrian Idol.”  (Were you at Barn Night? For lots of Barn Night photos, visit The Equiery‘s Facebook site!)

Summerfield's winning banner!

Summerfield’s winning banner!

Prizes included a clinic with Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde, a customized golf cart from United Metro Golf Cart and Dover gift certificates.

The Equiery is pleased to salute our fellow Barn Night co-sponsors:


Best Banner Winners Summerfield Farm (Lothian)Share your Barn Night story with us!  Email us at







KC van Aarem receives the Touch of Class during WIHS Barn Night with the winners of the largest barn category, Meadowbrook Stables (Chevy Chase, MD)

KC van Aarem receives the Touch of Class during WIHS Barn Night with the winners of the largest barn category, Meadowbrook Stables (Chevy Chase, MD)

KC van Aarem has that Touch of Class

As part of the Barn Night festivities, The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) presented KC van Aarem (Wheaton, MD) with a Touch of Class award. KC was a member of one of the winning teams at the 2014 Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) in Lexington, Kentucky this summer. 19 year old KC rode her 12 year-old Canadian Sport Horse, Mastermind, on the Zone 3 winning 4-person team in show jumping. KC was presented with her award while posing with Meadowbrook Stables, who had the most people at the 2014 WIHS Barn Night!

The Touch of Class Award honors Marylanders and/or their horses who excel nationally and internationally. The award is named after the Maryland-bred mare, Touch of Class, who won two gold medals in show jumping in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.  For more information about the Touch of Class Award and the Maryland Horse Industry Board, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at or phone (410) 841-5798.


Jessica Springsteen and Lisone capture Washington’s Wall


(Watch Jessica and Lisone jump the Wall!)

If the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) is known for one class, it’s last night’s $25,000 International Jumper Puissance, a.k.a. “The Big Wall,” presented this year by The Boeing Company and won by 21-year-old Jessica Springsteen aboard Stone Hill Farm’s Lisona after clearing the wall up to 6’10”.

Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, is the course designer for the jumpers at WIHS this week and fittingly holds the 31-year indoor Puissance record for his win at 7′ 7 1/2” aboard Sweet ‘N Low in 1983. He set the wall for the evening’s $25,000 Puissance presented by The Boeing Company, starting at 5’6” in height, and continuing up to 6’10” in four rounds of competition.

For the win after clearing all four heights, Lisona became the first recipient of a brand new trophy named in Sweet ‘N Low’s honor, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Tober.

The Puissance course began with four fences to clear, including an oxer, vertical and triple-bar leading up to the wall set at a starting height of 5’6”. Five combinations, including
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Maryland will miss…Lynne Vyner Shpak

Lynne and Chevy Low Res

Lynne Shpak with her beloved Chief of State (a.k.a. Chevy) and sporting one of her custom designed pieces of jewelry.

On Sunday, October 19, 2014, the Maryland equestrian community lost beloved Morgan sport horse breeder and jewelry designer Lynne Shpak, who was killed in a freak accident while unloading an injured horse. She was 74.

The incident occurred near Utica, New York, where Lynne had traveled with a horse and a cart to help celebrate the wedding of a client and a friend. Lynne would want us to note that it was not one of her Morgans involved in the accident.

Born in 1940, Lynne climbed into the saddle at 4 and never left. She rode hunters and jumpers and broke yearlings at the track. In her early twenties, she discovered to dressage, carriage driving, long distance riding and the Morgan horse. In 1969, she established her Morgan breeding and training farm in Woodstock, naming it in honor of her foundation stallion The Statesman. With The Statesman, Lynne paved the way for the modern sport Morgan. Together they foxhunted, showed successfully through 4th level dressage, and drove in carriage events in the days before combined driving, competing in pleasure and obstacle classes, carriage, and marathon classes. The Statesman was undefeated in this early combined events. Through The Statesman’s bloodlines, Lynne has helped to define the modern Morgan sport horse.

In addition to the horses, Lynne was a well-respected fine jewelry designer, and a regular presence at regional trade shows as well as several Baltimore locations.

Formal services will be held
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Jennie Brannigan Wins 2014 Dutta Corp Fair Hill International CCI***


2014 Dutta Corp Fair Hill International CCI*** winners Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda


The 2014 Dutta Corp Fair Hill International concluded this afternoon with the show jumping phase for the CCI** and CCI*** national and international competitions. Jennie Brannigan (West Grove, PA) and Cambalda (owned by Nina Gardner) were sitting in second place going into show jumping and jumped clean, putting the pressure on over night leader Boyd Martin and Master Frisky. Martin and Master Frisky dropped one rail and added two time faults to their score moving Brannigan into the winning spot to earn both the Fair Hill Bronze (overall winner) and Gladstone Trophy (Highest placing U.S. rider).

Colleen Rutledge (Frederick) and Covert Rights at the final horse inspection

Colleen Rutledge (Frederick) and Covert Rights at the final horse inspection

Colleen Rutledge of Frederick was the only Maryland entry in the three-star this year and she had a stellar finish to the competition with her homebred Covert Rights. The pair jumped clean and added only one time fault to its score to finish in 14th place overall. Fifty-three combinations started the three-star last Wednesday with the first horse inspection. At the end of the competition, 37 completed.
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