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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Scholarships for TOMORROW’s Trail Riders

Trail Riders of Today (TROT) will be awarding two $500 scholarships to young equestrians to help them pursue their ongoing equine activities. Today’s youth will become the “Trail Riders of Tomorrow” and it is they who will become the next generation to protect and preserve our equestrian trails and our environment.
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WSSC Holiday Gifts!

submitted by Barbara Sollner-Webb

New Multi-Use Trail & New Parking Lot

The Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission (WSSC) has opened a new year-round trail for horseback riding, hiking and birdwatching – but NOT for biking.  This new trail is located on
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$2.9 million offered for Manure Management Technologies

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for demonstration projects from vendors, businesses, and individuals offering technologies, equipment, infrastructure, or services that can improve the management and utilization of manure and other agricultural resources.

Maryland’s nutrient management regulations govern the amount, timing, and placement of crop nutrients—including manure and other organic nutrient sources—on agricultural land to prevent excess nutrients from impacting waterways. To help livestock producers comply with these regulations, Maryland supports and invests in alternative uses for manure such as fertilizer manufacturing, composting and manure-to-energy projects that add value to the farm business model.

MDA has $2.9 million available to invest in these types of innovative technologies during State Fiscal Year 2015, which ends June 30, 2015.Vendors, businesses, and individuals are invited to respond to this RFP; click here to download the RFP.

If you have questions about the program, contact Louise Lawrence at the Maryland Department of Agriculture at

Deadline for proposals is March 6, 2015.

Pony Clubbers have that Touch of Class


Iron Bridge Pony Club members with Secretary of Ag Buddy Hance and MHIB Chairman Jim Steele.

On behalf of The Iron Bridge Pony Club and St. Margaret’s Pony Club, members from the Iron Bridge Pony Club received the December Touch of Class award from the Maryland Horse Industry Board on Saturday, Dec. 13, after the conclusion of the Lisbon Christmas Horse Parade. The Iron Bridge Pony Club won a national championship at the 2014 U. S. Pony Club Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.

The team which rode their mounts in the Parade included Ryan Keefe, 14, from Sandy Spring (Montgomery County); Hallie Kling, 14, from Brookeville (Montgomery County); Gracie Lukaczer, 16, from Washington D.C.; Rachael Miller, 17, from Pasadena (Anne Arundel County); and Erin Reilly, 16, from Woodbine (Howard County).

The team members represented the Iron Bridge Hounds Pony Club from the Washington metro area and the St. Margaret’s Pony Club from Annapolis. They joined forces to win the Novice Event in the three-day event competition, defeating 21 other teams from across the United States.

Coach Rumsey Keefe said,
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Maryland State Fair: Max Mosner retires; Andy Cashman new General Manager

Max Mosner’s 53 year tenure as the president and general manager of the Maryland State Fair was longer than the entire careers of most people!   As Max enters a much deserved retirement, he turns the reins over to his long-time assistant, Andy Cashman.

Read more in the The Baltimore Business Journal and on WBOC TV Channel 16 (Delmarva News).


December Equiery now in a tack or feed store near you – or view online!

Tons of great gift ideas!

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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