by Ross Peddicord, MHIB Executive Director (first published in the October 2019 Equiery)
In June 2019, the Maryland Department of Agriculture received a grant from the U.S. Livestock Genetics Export association to take officials and Thoroughbred and Standardbred breeders to France. The group consisted of MDA Assistant Secretary Steve Connelly, MDA International Marketing Director Theresa Brophy, MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord, Maryland Horse Breeders’ Association Executive Director Cricket Goodall and breeders Mike Pons (Thoroughbreds, Country Life Farm in Bel Air) and Garrett Bell (Standardbreds, Winbak Farm, Chesapeake City).
The group visited major Thoroughbred farms in Normandy: Alec Head Stud Haras du Quesnay, Aga Khan Stud Haras de Bonneville and Nicolas Chambure Stud Haras d’Etreham. They also visited the trotting farms of Sebastien Guarato and Haras de Sassy and training centers at Chantilly and Grobois. Racetracks at Deauville, Compiegne and Vincennes were toured as was the Arqana horse auction house.
The group was hosted by Le Trot, the French national harness racing governing body; Galop, the national Thoroughbred racing bureau; and officials from the Hauts de France region, Maryland’s French sister state. In turn, MDA plans to host French officials in Maryland during the coming year.