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Category: Latest News

Mary Eppler Makes History at Laurel

Baltimore native Mary Eppler made racing history on December 31 when she became the first female trainer to ever win a trainer’s title at Laurel Park. Eppler, who is 62 and bases her horses out of Pimlico Race Course, finished out the fall meet with 24 wins, bringing her 2016 total to 49 wins, 43 seconds and 40 thirds. Her 2016 earning totaled $1,747,721 from 282 starts. She currently holds 761 career wins. Eppler credits her racing start to breaking and hot-walking horses for the late Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon. From there she held a...

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Maryland recognized by EQUUS Foundation & Ariat

Maryland’s Discovery Centers create opportunities for more horse-human bonds. The efforts of the Maryland Horse Industry Board to bring new people into the equestrian community was recognized in October by the EQUUS Foundation and Ariat International when they were presented with the Klinger Perpetual Trophy for Honor and Service. The award recognizes a horse, individual, or organization that best demonstrates the values of honor and service as embodied by Klinger, a special horse who has touched the lives of many in his life of service with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Caisson Platoon. MHIB received the award for the Maryland Horse Discovery Center Network. As its name implies, facilities in this network offer a variety of opportunities for non-equestrians to have their first hands-on exposure to horses (or ponies or minis or mules), whether it is a mounted experiences, such as a trail rides or lessons, or un-mounted experiences, such as petting zoos, carriage rides, farm tours or volunteer opportunities. In order to participate in the Maryland Horse Discovery Center Network, a farm, stable or program must first be licensed by MHIB. After it is licensed, it has an opportunity to apply for “Horse Discover Center” status. Candidate sites are inspect abd reviewed to insure they offered safe and reliable animals, programs with proven horsemanship basics, adequate insurance policies, and more. The intention is to provide...

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Maryland Horse Council to “Go Big”

As president Steuart Pittman has quipped, the time has come for the Maryland Horse Council to “go big or go home,” and so, in order to “go big,” MHC is looking to “go pro” by partnering with a professional association management firm. MHC was founded 30 years ago specifically for the purpose of influencing legislators to create a horse park; that horse park is the Prince George’s Equestrian Center. By the time it was five years old, MHC had shifted to a statewide mission: to represent the diverse horse industry at the state level on legislative and regulatory matters. Since the mid-90s, membership and activities have skyrocketed, and as current president Jane Seigler explains, “We’ve kind of become a victim of our own success.” Until 10 years ago, MHC was managed completely by volunteers (disclaimer: for about 15 years, The Equiery actually provided the management services for MHC, and is an ongoing sponsor of MHC). By 2006, MHC had outgrown The Equiery’s ability to manage it as a “volunteer” (i.e., donating our labor and our resources), and so MHC hired its first association manager, Vanessa Finney, who also worked part time for several other associations. Soon one of those associations snapped her up full time. MHC lobbyist Nancy Hill helped bridge the gap until Mythic Landing Enterprises was hired to provide administrative services. This was during the presidency of Steuart Pittman, and...

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Christmas 2016 was good for Maryland Horse Industry: 23% growth!

Over the last 5 years, our industry has grown 23%. Like a exotic Santa bearing gifts for all just in time for the holiday season, Dr. Anirban Basu, the popular host of WYPR-FM’s “Morning Economic Report,” and the chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group, released an economic impact study of the Maryland horse industry illustrating that, in 2015, it generated $1.15 billion in economic activity, a gain of 23 percent over the $930 million it generated in 2010.  The report was picked up by regional and national media outlets, thus yielding even more Christmas gifts in the form of positive press – 30 at last count, and growing (you can see for yourself by googling any of the key words associated with the study, and include the words “news” and “2016”). Methodology The study was funded by the Maryland Horse Council, Maryland Horse Industry Board, Maryland Association for Wildlife Conservation, Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Million, Ltd., Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association, Maryland State Fair, Maryland Steeplechase Association, Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Cloverleaf Standardbred Owner’s Association, Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Ocean Downs Racetrack. The Sage Policy group sent surveys to more than 1,000 stakeholders to collect hard, operational statistics to drive the analysis. Much to everyone’s surprise, nearly 700 surveys were completed by stakeholders from every county in Maryland, a statistically unheard of percentage of participation, resulting in...

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The Baltimore Sun accuses Governor Hogan of using horse facility as a political pawn?

The Baltimore Sun recently accused Governor Hogan of using the horses industry as a political pawn; click here to read the Sun’s editorial on the Maryland Board of Public Works denial of $2.3 million in Program Open Space funding to build an indoor equestrian facility at the Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park in Hunt Valley. Is he really? This editorial certainly makes Gov. Hogan sound unfriendly to our industry. In the opinion of The Equiery, Hogan’s administration has been quite supportive of reasonable projects related to our industry, including the effort by the Maryland Horse Industry Board (which is housed within the Maryland Department of Agriculture) and the Maryland Stadium Authority to build a Maryland Horse Park Network by enhancing our existing facilities. Governor Hogan also restored funding to Program Open Space, a critical initiative for land preservation, one that is near and dear to the equestrian community. In reading the Sun’s editorial, we feel that the Sun is perhaps using the horse industry as a political pawn, and not Governor Hogan. It is rather inflammatory and illogical to tar any Governor or legislative leader as “anti” anything when funding for a project is not approved. Sometimes the the intent of the project is good, but the economics of it could be better. Perhaps the source for the requested funding is not appropriate, and there are other sources. Such is often the...

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Kudos for the WSSC

The Equiery has run editorials critical of WSSC (the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which 6,000 acres around the Patuxent watershed), so – in the spirit of the holiday season, we thought it appropriate to run kudos to WSSC! Below, longtime Equiery reader Debby Poole expresses her appreciation to the employees of the WSSC. I wanted to thank the WSSC watershed manager, Eddie Franceschi for another fantastic year of riding the beautiful equestrian trails on the WSSC. I moved to Burtonsville, Maryland onto Belle Cote Drive when I was 15 years old. I got my first horse when I turned...

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