Beverly Raymond’s Equine Network
by Katherine O. Rizzo (first published in the March 2020 Equiery)
A trail rider, trainer, instructor, stable inspector, equine advocate, mentor, advisor, foster mom, mounted volunteer, gardener, chef and artist. These are just a few of the many aspects that make Beverly Raymond the best example of a Maryland horseman and just a lovely person in general.
Her quiet mannerisms and ability to see the best in people and horses have made her a natural mentor to young riders and professionals, as well as a natural trainer for the many “problem” horses that have come her way. Her veterinary and equine welfare knowledge combined with her many connections throughout the horse world have made her an advocate for stable owners and the horses they care for. Her innate ability to go the extra mile has already earned her the 1999 Anne and Gilbert Pumphrey Memorial “Unsung Hero” award, the 2011 Maryland Horse Council Horse Person of the Year and the 2013 American Horse Council Van Ness Award for outstanding service to the equine industry.
So what else can we, the Maryland equestrian community that she has served for over four decades, possibly do to further recognize Beverly’s continued service? Create a new award just for her? Or more simply, express our thanks. Every single time we see her.
In the Saddle
Beverly’s equestrian foundation began as a toddler with her father taking her to local hack stables whenever he had time and some extra cash to pay for a ride. She has often shared the story of the first ride she can remember… she was five and her father had her on a lead as they went for a trail ride. Going up a hill, the pony she was riding stopped and pulled her father off the back of his horse. He removed the lead, got back on his horse and told her she’d be fine following on her own.
As a teenager, Beverly worked for ride time wherever she could. At River Valley Ranch she would muck stalls and tack horses, then ride the new horses before they were put into the hack rotation. “For my 16th birthday my parents bought me my first horse. He had a pretty bad reputation but we just got along,” she said. “I guess you could say he was my first rescue!”
As a rider and trainer, Beverly was known for a knack for working with the “problem” horses.
Though if you ask her about the various horses that have come through her Orwell Farm, they never had problems. “Most horses that people can’t get along with really are just afraid,” she explained. “It’s amazing how much a horse will change for the better with just a little understanding and kindness.”
On the Road
Understanding and kindness are the basis of pretty much everything Beverly does. After running a successful boarding stable at Orwell, complete with a few lesson students and mini farm shows, Beverly decided that running a stable was not the best career choice for her. “I was just too nice at times,” she said, adding, “I let a lot of people come through and work to ride, like I did as a kid, and that isn’t the best way to run a business.”
At the same time that Beverly was downsizing her stable, her longtime friend Robin Allison was looking to move away from the part-time stable inspector position she had with the Department of Licensing and Regulation. “She just called me up one day and told me she was resigning and she’d like me to come in and interview for the job,” Beverly said. At the time, there was only one stable inspector for the whole state and the position was run through the State Board of
Inspection of Horse Riding Stables. The purpose of the program was to ensure that horses in public facilities received a certain minimum baseline of care and that all equipment used also met a basic minimum standard of safety.
When the Maryland Horse Industry Board was created in 1998, the position of stable inspector moved to the new organization under the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Beverly moved with it. Beverly always saw her role of stable inspector as more of an advisory position than an enforcement position. She was there to help others improve their businesses while maintaining the required level of care. “When it comes down to it, the horses tell you what the place is like,” she once said.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the stable inspector job was seeing places improve over time. “Sometimes it was just a drainage issue, sometimes fencing and one time there were these self care boarders that were just taking advantage of a stable,” she said. “Going back year after year and seeing stable owners take my advice and improve their farms was just… it just makes me proud to be a part of it all.”
One of the roles of MHIB is to promote the Maryland horse industry on a larger scale and Beverly jumped on board right from the start. She often staffed booths at places like the Maryland State Fair and Horse World Expo, meeting more and more people everywhere she went.
“The booths really developed over the years and I would always try to bring farm owners with me to chat about their places,” she explained. Beverly saw these booths as a win-win for everyone involved as farm owners could build their businesses while promoting the industry as a whole. “Then the Horse Breeders became very involved and supportive with all their background displays and fun things to give away,” she added. “It just brought more and more people into horses.”
At another point, Beverly would be sure to have MHIB’s booth (which often also included Maryland Horse Council material), next to the University of Maryland booth and together, they would educate people on soil conservation and pasture rotation. She also helped various County Soil Conservation Districts create brochures to hand out. “The brochures would help people identify a problem and then provide a solution,” she stated. “This all improves their property value, which is good for everyone involved.”
Building a Network
The more and more stables Beverly inspected, the more and more horse people she met. The more and more committees and boards she sat on, the more and more professionals she met, and thus, Beverly’s network grew and grew.
She started the Mounted Volunteer Patrol and networked with the park system and trail riders. She was invited to speak at a Professional Animal Workers Of Maryland meeting and ended up joining the group. She would attend American Horse Council meetings and met officials on the national level. Everyone would get connected through Beverly for the greater good of the horses she looked over.
“I got to know a lot of officials on a first name basis and this was very helpful for inspecting stables,” Beverly said. She explained that if a farm was having a drainage problem, she would put them in touch with the right people to help fix it. If a farm was struggling with care issues, she would put them in touch with humane officials to help work through things. “I think I just came across as sincere when I saw an issue and this really made a difference,” she said. “I feel like I’m a problem solver.”
This is the power of Beverly; she connects people.
Retired But Not Forgotten
When Beverly officially retired in 2010, after 32 years as the state’s stable inspector, her first inclination was to stay home and just focus on Orwell. “I seriously slept for a year,” she said laughing.
Beverly pulled herself off all the various committees she had served on and focused on other pursuits that made her happy such as painting, gardening and trail riding through the neighboring Gun Powder Falls State Park. But Beverly can never truly step back from the service of the Maryland horse industry.
“I never get tired of looking at horses,” she said as she recently rejoined several committees and boards including some in both MHC and MHIB. She has become very active in MHIB’s Horse Discovery Center program. “They are just such a great group of people,” Beverly remarked. “You know, we have these meetings together and everyone is so supportive. They all trade ideas and invite each other to their farms. It is just a pleasure to be a part of it all.”
Here again, Beverly’s equine network continues to expand!
To read more about Beverly’s contributions to the Maryland equestrian community, click here: http://equiery.com/2011-horsewoman-of-the-year-beverly-raymond/