first published in the March 2022 Equeiry

by Kimberly K. Egan and Corinne M. Pouliquen

March is here. The worst of the winter is over. Maybe. And this month we publish our full calendar of events to help us get focused on the warmer weather and outdoor fun ahead.

We are lucky to have so many horse activities to choose from in Maryland. There is no equestrian discipline that is not represented in our state, and we have competitors and enthusiasts from beginning riders all the way up to international and Olympic competitors. We boast one of the most prestigious Thoroughbred races in the world, one of the most prestigious Three-Day Events in the world, the most difficult steeplechase race in the country, and two of the most prestigious jumper shows in the country. We are home to three of the 46 American polocrosse teams and a half dozen polo clubs. We have rodeos every year at more than one venue, numerous Western show circuits, ranch riding, driving competitions, dressage festivals, competitive trail riding, vaulting, and of course, Maryland’s state sport, jousting. We have exceptional performance horses living and working in our state, and some of the best equine athletes in the world – like Knicks Go (Eclipse Award Horse of the Year) and Aloha West (winner of the Breeder’s Cup Sprint) – are Maryland-bred.

March Calendar of Events
Our March calendar of events has an activity for everyone, regardless of discipline, geographic region, or experience level.

The horse industry is not all fun and games, however, and a lot of hard work at the state and local level goes into making sure we have the resources to enjoy the animals we love. As a result, the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) is hard at work planning the 2024 Maryland Horse Census, and our Government Relations committee is busy with the Maryland General Assembly’s 2022 session.

2024 Maryland Horse Census
As our calendar of events shows, the Maryland horse industry plays a significant role in Maryland’s economy. Our economic power is what gives us leverage in Annapolis and with state and local government agencies. The most important tool we have for demonstrating our economic power is the Maryland Horse Census.

The Maryland Horse Census is how we know that we have:
· more horses per square mile in Maryland than in any other state;
· 25% of all agricultural land in Maryland in horse farms;
· at least 88,000 equine acres preserved forever as farm land;
· over 16,000 horse farms and stables;
· over 200 horse organizations;
· over 40 different breeds represented;
· over 35 different equine disciplines; and
· over 40 equine-assisted therapy programs.

The Maryland Horse Census is also how we know that:
· Racing supports over 5,200 jobs and has a $656 million impact on the state’s economy;
· recreational riding supports almost 5,000 jobs and has a $438 million impact on the state’s economy;
· equestrian competitions support over 3,340 jobs and have a $310 million economic impact; and
· our equine-assisted therapy programs add $9.6 million to the economy.

Taken together, our industry has at least a $2.4 billion economic impact on our state’s economy. [1]

The last census was conducted in 2010, and the next one will be conducted in 2024. MHIB has put together a core team comprised of representatives from MHIB itself, the University of Maryland Equine Studies Program, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, and the Maryland Horse Council. The team is developing the census questionnaire and preparing the list of horse people to whom the census will be sent.

It is vitally important that everyone who receives the census fill it out. Your information will help us help you, and will give all of us the leverage we need in Annapolis and with state and local agencies. You can sign up to receive the census here:

Your information will not be used for any other purpose other the census. Your information will not be shared with any federal, state or local taxing authority, or any zoning authority. Your information will be used solely to benefit the horse industry.

[1] All dollar values have been adjusted for inflation from 2017 numbers.

Logo Competition Winner
And last but not least, we are thrilled to be able to announce the winner of our logo competition. Trish Moore of Catonsville submitted the winning design concept, beating out over 33 other contestants. Her concept conveys our core mission, representing all segments of the Maryland horse industry without favoring any one discipline or breed. Her concept is well balanced, can be easily adapted for digital platforms, and will stand out well on merchandise and logo wear. She incorporated the colors of the Maryland flag with an emphasis on the gold, a nod to the Black-Eyed Susan, which has particular significance to the horse industry. Watch for her design as we roll out new logos across our various platforms. Also watch for our upcoming profile of Moore in the April Equiery.