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Maryland author wins $10,000 national equine book award

Patrick Smithwick wins Seventh Annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award Writer, teacher, photographer and lifelong horseman Patrick Smithwick has been awarded the seventh annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, for his 2012 autobiographical workFlying Change: A Year of Racing and Family and Steeplechasing. The work is a follow-up to the author’s 2006 volume Racing My Father: Growing Up with a Riding Legend, itself a finalist for the inaugural Book Award in 2006. A $10,000 winner’s check and a custom-designed Irish crystal trophy were presented to Smithwick on April 10 during an evening reception at  Castleton Lyons farm in Lexington, Kentucky. In Flying Change, the author—a son and nephew of Racing Hall of Fame horsemen and a rider possessed of his own bonafide credentials—relates the story of his return to steeplechase competition in his late 40s, a quarter-century removed from his previous racing career. With humor, elegance, and charming introspection he recalls the difficult road back from complacent middle-age to athletic fitness … the doubts, the joys, and setbacks along the way in his quest to compete and to defy the passage of time.” Smithwick’s beautifully written book impressed all three judges, who remarked on the loving detail included therein, and the honesty—sometimes brutal—with which the story was told. Dr. Ryan, a successful businessman who founded Europe’s Ryanair airline in 1985, loved horse racing and a good story. In 2006 he tipped his hat to...

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Spay/Neuter Fund

Many Maryland foxhunters recently received, as an ostensibly “friendly FYI,” an email regarding a piece of Maryland legislation colloquially known as the “spay/neuter fund bill.” Much of the information contained in this forwarded email about the spay/neuter fund bill is speculative–not fact. It was forwarded to Maryland foxhunters in the hopes of goading Maryland foxhunters to do something about the bill…but we at The Equiery want our readers and our Maryland foxhunters to be armed with the facts, not speculation and innuendo, before kicking into action. As we reported earlier on and in the March print edition of The Equiery, Maryland HB 767 & SB 82 would establish a Spay/Neuter Fund for cats and dogs. The lobbying organization for Maryland foxhunters (MAWC) has been monitoring this bill. The Maryland Horse Council has been active on this bill to help amend some of the language regarding the funding mechanism (originally, the bill required a fee be attached to all animal feed sold in Maryland, and MHC and other organizations requested–and received–amendments clarifying that said fee be attached only to dog and cat food). If passed, the only impact this bill would have on Maryland foxchasers is to increase the cost of hound feed, if a pack is fed commercially processed feed. The Maryland Horse Industry Board is funded by a similar fee (15¢) attached to every bag of commercially...

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Merry Christmas! $25,000 awarded to 22 Maryland horse organizations, businesses, education entities or not-for-profit charities.

An equine outreach group that provides horsemanship opportunities to inner city school children, therapeutic and youth riding activities, and programs to help rehabilitate rescue horses are among the 22 organizations to receive more than $25,000 in grants from the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The grants help to strengthen the industry by building awareness and involvement in the horse industry through research, education and promotional activities. “The equine industry is an integral part of Maryland’s cultural and economic heritage,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “The scope and value of projects that the board evaluated illustrates the demand for these grants, and the feed fund continues to make it possible to support more of these requests.” Grant funding is made available through the Maryland Feed Fund, which was established during the 2002 legislative session and places a refundable $6 per ton fee on equine feed costs. That amount comes out to about $3 per horse per year. The Feed Fund supports this grant program as well as other promotional, research and outreach activities undertaken by the MHIB. Since 2001, the board has awarded 211 grants totaling more than $233,000. Any horse-oriented organization, business or individual may apply. Grant applications are evaluated for value to the industry, degree of industry promotion, size and scope of the activity, financial need, quality of the written...

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Join The Equiery Dec. 8 for the Lisbon Ol’ Fashioned Christmas Horse Parade

On Sat. Dec. 8, after the Lisbon Ol’ Fashioned Christmas Horse Parade, McDonogh School senior Jacob Pope and Maryland National Capital Park Police Officer Megan Lau will be presented with Touch of Class awards by Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance. The Touch of Class Award is presented every month by the Maryland Horse Industry Board to honor a Maryland horse, individual, team, organization or event that has garnered national or international recognition. The award is named after “Touch of Class,” the Maryland-bred mare who won two Olympic Gold Medals in Show Jumping in 1984. Jacob Pope, who lives in Columbia (Howard County) will receive the November award in recognition of earning the ASPCA Maclay National Championship in equitation at the National Horse Show in Kentucky. The December Award will be presented to Officer Megan Lau, who was the overall winner in the National Mounted Police Equitation Championship at the North American Police Equestrian Championships. She will ride in the parade with the Capital Police unit, a color guard. Officer Lau lives in Dickerson (Montgomery County). The Equiery is pleased to be a sponsor of the 2012 Lisbon Horse Parade, which benefits the Howard County and Carroll County Food Banks and the Lisbon Fire Department Building Fund (which is the department that would save The Equiery building in the event of fire – so we want these folks to like us! They also pick up – literally –...

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Assateague Ponies Weathered Sandy Just Dandy!

While we work hard at The Equiery to make our headlines catchy, we cannot take credit for this one, as it comes to us from the National Parks Traveler. According to all sources, Maryland’s herd of famous wild ponies rode out Hurricane Sandy just fine. Despite our human inclination to snuggly lock up our critters in barns (and our inclination to attempt to pass laws mandating that we do so), nature continues to remind us time and again that “horse sense” really does exist, and – left to their own devices and with access to natural shelter – horses are quite adept at “sheltering in place.” On Assateague, the favorite natural shelter is apparently a pine grove on higher land surrounded by dunes. WBOC Channel 16 The Washington...

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