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Category: Prominent MD Equestrians

Peter Hitchen, MFH 1938 – 2015

Maryland will miss… …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...

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

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...

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Marylander Barabara Smith conquering the Mongolian Empire!

The results are final and official! Marylander Barbara Smith finished 9th in the Mongolian Derby. The race officially finished at 8:30 pm on Friday, Aug. 15, a few riders did need to be carried forward on Thursday to ensure they would cross the line in time – but not Barbara! The first nine positions were confirmed by sundown on Thursday, Aug. 14 with no changes to finishing order needed for those first nine (a number of penalties were accrued by the following pack so not all of them were placed in the order they finished, and The Equiery waited for the results to be official before posting). For most of the race, home-state girl Barbara Smith sat comfortably in the third tier of riders in the grueling Mongolian Derby, being held…that’s right, in Mongolia! 620+ miles across the steppes, in less than 10 days, duplicating the world’s first long distance postal route established, by Genghis Khan in 1224. Using a massive network of horse stations (morin urtuus in Mongolian) messengers could gallop from Kharkhorin to the Caspian sea in a number of days. This communication network was instrumental in the expansion of the Mongolian Empire. For ten days each August, the Mongol Derby recreates this legendary system, building a network of urtuus at 40km intervals, for a thousand kilometers. 47 riders are competing in this year’s desert dash. According to the...

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Who has that Touch of Class?

On May 31, the 13-year-old pony from Glenwillow Farm in Jefferson (Frederick County), Spellbound (pictured left), was honored with a Maryland Touch of Class award from the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB). Trained by Kim Stewart, Spellbound holds the title as the nation’s Large Pony Hunter Champion by the U.S. Equestrian Federation and won the Grand Pony Hunter Championship at the May 2014 Devon Horse Show (PA). Don Principe (his connections are pictured below), a 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion standing at Hilltop Farm in Cecil County, received the Maryland Touch of Class award on June 23 in the Tea Barn at Fair Hill. This is the third time a Hilltop stallion has been honored with a Touch of Class award, previous winners being Royal Prince (2012) and Qredit (2013). Don Principe is owned by Maryanna Haymon (Columbus, NC). He is currently ranked as the nation’s leading sire of dressage horses by the U.S. Equestrian Federation. The award is named after the Maryland-bred Thoroughbred mare Touch of Class (registered with the Jockey Club as Stillaspill), who won two gold medals in the 1984 Olympics; it is given in recognition of the national or international achievements of Maryland horses, horsemen and horse...

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Walk on Washington

 On Wednesday, June 18th, six flat-shod Tennessee Walking Horses gaited their way to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to show support for the PAST Act. Prevent All Soring Tactics  Act, or (PAST Act H.R. 1518/S. 1406) will end “soring” among the small sector of the Tennessee Walking Horse, Spotted Saddle Horse and Racking Horse groups who use the tactic to produce the “big lick” gaits. Practices include dressing the front legs of the horses with caustic chemicals to make them sensitive so they will lift their legs higher.  This legislation will also eliminate heavy shoes and stacks (tall wooden “pads”) and other “action devices,” and it will eliminate the failed self-regulation programs that currently exist and put that regulation into the hands of the USDA for better enforcement. Included among the selected six supporters were Marylander Denise Parsons and her Walker, I’m Royal Flash, a.k.a. Benny, a multiple year-end award winner who participates in versatility events such as gaited dressage and trail obstacle classes in addition to the traditional English and Western rail classes. Benny is a registered Tennessee Walking Horse and is one of Denise’s favorite trail companions. Another prominent Maryland horseman was among the demonstrators: former U.S. Senator Joe Tidings (D). Senator Tydings was the author of the original Horse Protection Act, which passed in 1970. Additional speakers included Congressman Ed Whitfield, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Congressman...

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Heresy or common sense? MJC President proposes new Triple Crown schedule

We know the routine without even thinking about it. Since 1931, the Kentucky Derby has come first, then Preakness and then The Belmont Stakes. Prior to 1931, there were eleven occasions in which the Preakness was run prior to the Derby, and twice in which both were run on the same day. The Belmont has been contested before the Preakness eleven times. But, since 1931 it has been Derby, Preakness, Belmont. Since 1969, the Derby has been the first Saturday in May, The Preakness is run two weeks later, and the Belmont Stakes three weeks after that. It’s written in stone, isn’t it? Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas is looking to bust that stone tablet. Is this heresy…or common sense and about darn time? At his annual post-Preakness media session on Monday, May 19th, Chuckas discussed his proposal to change the date of the Preakness Stakes and the date of the The Belmont in order to allow more time between each meet–for the welfare of the horses. Chuckas is proposing that the Derby retain its first Saturday in May position, but that the Preakness would run the first Saturday in June, and the Belmont the first Saturday in July, giving the horses a full month to recover between races. Will this increase the odds for creating Triple Crown horses? In 60 years, from 1919 to 1979, there were...

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