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 as safe and educational experience as possible for the “first time” encounters between non-horse people and horses. Explains Ross Peddicord, executive director of MHIB, “It became obvious to us that – despite the over 700 riding schools and boarding barns operating in Maryland – we needed to establish a network where folks could encounter horses in a safe, friendly and knowledgeable environment. There were too many stories after stories of terrible first-time experiences with horses. Now we have that!”
The Maryland Horse Industry Board was founded via legislation to grow, market and develop the horse industry. It is funded by the “feed fund,” which collects 15¢ for every bag of horse feed sold in Maryland.
The EQUUS Foundation is the only national charity solely dedicated to horse welfare and the horse-human bond.
Current Maryland Horse Discovery Centers
- Cedar Rowe Lusitanos Equestrian Fitness Center, Rocky Ridge
- Misty Peaks Farm, Smithsburg
- New World Stables, Frederick
- Reddemeade Equestrian Center, Silver Spring
- Waredaca Farm, Laytonsville
- Woodland Horse Center, Silver Spring
Prince George’s County
- The Big Purple Barn, Bowie
Anne Arundel County
- Amazing Grace Equestrian Center, Parkton
- Graham Equestrian Center, Gunpowder Falls State Park, Glen Arm
- The Retreat at Beckleysville, Hampstead
- Darenth Farm, Mount Airy
- Full Moon Farm, Finksburg
- Nagrom Farm, Westminster
- Persimmon Tree Farm, Westminster
- River Valley Ranch, Manchester
- Sweet Rock Stables, Manchester
- Talbot Run Equestrian Center, Mount Airy
- Columbia Horse Center, Laurel
- Days End Farm Horse Rescue, Woodbine
- Clark’s Elioak Farm, Ellicott City
- Jewel’s Landing Farm, Ridgely
- Fairwinds Farm & Stable, North East
- Rolling Hills Ranch & Freedom Hill Therapeutic Riding Program, Port Deposit
- Silver Fern Farm, Earleville
- Windy Way Horses, Hurlock
- Worthmore Equestrian Center, Worton
St. Mary’s County
- Peaceable Pastures, Fairplay
The Maryland Horse Industry Board will offer another opportunity to be certified as a Horse Discovery Center in 2017. Stop by the MHIB booth at Horse World Expo to learn more, or watch equiery.com.