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Category: Archives

Montgomery County Parks Under Siege

(First appeared in The Equiery May 2011) by Ron MacNab MNCPPC Montgomery County Parks are under siege from the County Executive and a few Council members on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee (PHED). Currently, the park systems in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County are managed under the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission, which was established by law by the state. Each county funds its own portion of MNCPPC. In February and March, County Executive Ike Leggett attempted to push through state legislation that would have enabled the county to take control of MNCPPC’s Park funds and merge the MNCPPC Park Police into the Montgomery County Police. Fortunately, the rest of the County Council did not endorse this. Not able to obtain support from the County Council, he withdrew the proposal from the Montgomery County Delegation in Annapolis. The attempt failed, but is expected to come back next year in a modified form. Now Leggett, with the help of the County Council’s PHED committee, is seeking to move various MNCPPC Park programs into Montgomery County government, leaving just the nature centers, park stewardship and operations under MNCPPC Parks program. Initially, this was proposed as a cost-saving budget matter. When it was easily shown that it did not save money, the PHED committee suggested funding a study that would investigate the feasibility of moving the MNCPPC programs into County Government,...

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Will the Breeding Business Bounce Back?

(first appeared in The Equiery August 2011) Each summer, The Equiery publishes a “Mare and Foal” issue, a companion to our winter stallion issue that serves as a brag book for proud foal owners around the Free State. The issue serves to bookend all the stallion marketing just before breeding season, illustrating the grand results of all that breeding testosterone, giving us a sneak peek at what we will eventually see at keurings and inspections, yearling shows and young horse classes. Equiery Stats Foal Announcements 2008 – 485 foals 2009 – 404 foals 2010 – 335 foals 2011 – 342 foals The Equiery’s “Mare and Foal” issue also provides a quick snapshot on the state of the breeding business…and truth be told, since the economy crashed in 2007, it is almost hard to qualify it as a “business” at this point. For those struggling with the consequences of the unwanted horse issue, the decimation of breeding as a business cannot come soon enough. There are enough horses in the world, they argue; and breeding horses on the speculation that they might one day be sold is…(fill in the blank with the derogatory term of your choice). For those intent on seeing the concept “business” detached from the action of breeding horses, these should be happy days. But for those who earn part or all of their living in the breeding business, be they vets or...

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Colleagues Comment on 25 Years of The Equiery

December 2015 When Mercedes Clemens and I launched The Equiery, we had no formal publishing experience, and thus we made it up as we went along. We set our own rules, we experimented. Some things worked, some things didn’t. And we learned. We learned the hard way, but we also learned through the kind mentorship of others. We were fortunate to be in the Mid-Atlantic region, not only because the Mid-Atlantic boasts one of the largest and most influential equestrian demographics in the country, but because it is also home to numerous national equestrian publishing powerhouses. Perhaps because we were not competing in the same direct market for business, these publishers took us under their wings. And for that, we are so very grateful. And to know we have done well enough to earn the respect of those who are now our industry peers is a high honor indeed. While each of the publishers featured below played a special role in mentoring, Rich Wilcke will always hold a special place in my heart, for his sometimes day-to-day coaching, pep talks, and unique wisdom. He personally mentored me not just as a publisher, but also as an industry leader, helping me understand that volunteer organizations require a different set of leadership skills than do upstart young businesses. I will forever be grateful to him. I would be remiss, however, if I...

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The Search for the Maryland Horse Park

June 2005 No, it is not a new reality show a la “Star Search,” but it is potentially a reality for Maryland’s equestrian community. The Maryland Stadium Authority has been tasked by the governor’s office to work with the Maryland Horse Industry Board on a feasibility study for a park that will be designed for use not only by Marylanders, but that will also serve as an attractive destination for out-of-state tourists. A “Request For Nomination of Real Property (RFNRP)” for the proposed horse park has been issued to counties and municipalities throughout the state, but anyone can nominate a site. The MSA is searching for not less than 500 contiguous acres but preferably 800-1200 acres (with easy access to a major highway) in order to accommodate all of Maryland’s equestrian disciplines (including steeplechasing, eventing, fox chasing, endurance riding, dressage, show jumping and similar show ring-oriented sports, polo, Western/rodeo, carriage driving, jousting, police horse training, trail riding and pony rides). The scope includes at least one enclosed 5000-seat arena; an outdoor amphitheater for equestrian competitions, festivals, fairs, trade shows and concerts; 6-12 outdoor show rings and 800- 1200 stalls. The park will be intended to appeal to the large horse show market. Also intended are concession areas, campgrounds, a visitors’ center and business offices for veterinarian, farrier, breeder and equestrian organizations, a museum, and an equine retirement center. The...

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Maryland Horse Park Surveys Local Equestrians

August 2005 The decision by the governor’s office to involve the Maryland Stadium Authority in the questions of whether Maryland should have a horse park, as well as what features and location it should have, is an excellent one. Of course, the equestrian community can expect the MSA to be objective. The MSA is planning a feasibility study on a facility designed for use by both Maryland citizens and out-of-state visitors. A tourist destination, it would be capable of hosting major national and international events and shows, also offering campgrounds, offices, shops, a museum, and space for conferences and educational programs, as well as an amphitheater. Working with the Maryland Horse Industry Board, a site selection committee has been established. It includes several state representatives, as well as members of the equestrian community with extensive background in event organization and facilities management: Alison Asti (a horse person) and Gary McGuigan of the Maryland Sta-dium Authority; Sue Kenney and Dennis Castleman of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development; Rob Burk of the Maryland Horse Industry Board; Greg Gingery of Gingery Development Group, and the former chairman of the Washington International Horse Show; Jim Steele of Shamrock Farm breeding station; and Charlie Fenwick of Valley Motors, founder and chairman of Shawan Downs. Architectural, engineering and economic impact consultants will be retained for the feasibility studies. The project began with...

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