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Category: State Agencies

Fair Hill $250,000 Bond Bill

On Sat. March 11, legislators in both houses heard bond bills which would help fund improvements to the equestrian facilities at Fair Hill, which is owned and managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Senate Bill 708 and House Bill 977 would authorize the creation of a State Debt not to exceed $250,000, the proceeds to be used as a grant to The National Steeplechase Foundation, Inc. for the acquisition, planning, design, construction, repair, renovation, reconstruction, site improvement, and capital equipping of the Fair Hill Race Course. If passed, NSF would be required to acquire matching funds. The...

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Mucking for Gold

A bill not likely to pop up on the average horse person’s radar, but one that could have a subtle yet profound impact on the horse industry, is Senate Bill 99 and it cross-filed cousin House Bill 171. With the cumbersome and decidedly non-sexy title of “Environment: Yard Waste, and Food Residuals, and Other Organic Materials Diversion and Infrastructure – Study,” why would any horse person pay attention to this bill? And what does this bill do? In essence, this bill requires the Department of the Environment to consult with certain entities (including the Maryland Horse Council) and to...

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$30,000 awarded to 23 Maryland horse groups

  $30,000 in grants is being distributed by the Maryland Horse Industry Board (an ag commodity board housed at the Maryland Department of Agriculture) for 23 projects ranging from training to help animal control workers in equine welfare cases, enhance facilities for inner city children to learn about horses and horsemanship, and restore historic Maryland horse racing films from the 1920s that have never been seen by the public.  Nearly half of this year’s grantees received funding for projects related to 4-H, Pony Club and therapeutic horsemanship programs. (Scroll down to see who is getting a grant.) Funding for these grants and the Maryland Horse Industry Board is provided by the Maryland Feed Fund, which collects $6 on every ton of horse feed sold in the state. The funding is collected through the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Weights & Measures Section (these are the folks that make sure that when you purchase a gallon of milk or gas is a true gallon, or that 50 lb bag of horse feed is 50 pounds). Projects are evaluated based on their value to the industry, degree of industry promotion, size and scope of activity, financial need, potential for matching funds, and overall quality of the written presentation. Grants are capped at $3,000 in order to award funds to as many groups as possible. Grant recipients are required to file a project report...

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Dr. Daniel Named New State Vet

Dr. Elizabeth “Libby” Daniel took over the role of state veterinarian for the Maryland Racing Commission on January 1, replacing Dr. David Zipf who retired from MRC after 50-plus years at the end of the 2016 season. Dr. Daniel is the state vet for West Virginia working at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and plans to continue that role as well. She told the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, “I’m a workaholic. I got that from my dad.” She also stated that she had been substituting at the Maryland tracks for the past two years and looks forward...

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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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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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