UPDATE! MHC’s suggested best practices for lesson barns is posted below as of May 9, 2020
Breaking news! The Maryland Horse Council has confirmed with the Maryland Department of Agriculture that Maryland state licensed boarding barns and lesson barns may resume operations under Governor Hogan’s May 6 order. MHC has created suggested best practices for boarding barns and trail riding stables, to assist in reopening planning. MHC will be post similar suggestions for lesson barns soon.
Note! The statement from DNR regarding requirements for horseback riding applies only to lands under DNR’s jurisdiction. MHC has been trying to get DNR to remove the family requirement for riding on state lands, but so far they have held firm.

Suggested Best Practices for Boarding Barns

Suggested Best Practices for Trail Riding

Suggested Best Practices for Lesson Stables

For more from MHC, click here!

Below is the official press release from the Maryland Department of Agriculture
From the Maryland Department of Agriculture (May 8, 2020 – 1:50pm)

Maryland’s equine community is ready to use their common sense and horse sense. These have been extremely challenging times for the people of Maryland, and the state’s horse industry, and we appreciate your continued cooperation as we navigate this unprecedented pandemic response.

We are happy to share some good news with you. Though the Stay at Home order remains in effect, Governor Larry Hogan has loosened restrictions on specific outdoor recreational activities, including horseback riding! The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has outlined requirements for social distancing as it relates to horseback riding in parks. It’s going to be up to us as individuals to make this work and stay healthy as we progress toward the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery.

General Social Distancing Guidelines: (please visit coronavirus.maryland.gov for a complete list)

  • Marylanders must wear masks or cloth face coverings in retail spaces and on public transportation since Saturday, April 18
  • Practice social distancing — keep distance between yourself and others and avoid crowds
  • If you are sick, stay home and call your health care provider

From the Governor’s Amended Executive Order

From the Order of the Governor of the state of Maryland

Number 20-05-06-01

Amending and restating the order of March 30, 2020, prohibiting large gatherings and events and closing senior centers, and all non-essential businesses and other establishments, and additionally requiring all persons to stay at home

II. Stay-at-Home Order.
c. As used herein, “Permitted Outdoor Activities” means the following, done in compliance with paragraph III (below), applicable Secretary’s Directives, Health Officer Directives, and social distancing guidance published by CDC and MDH: i. Outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, or individual and small group sports such as golfing, tennis, and similar activities; ii. Outdoor fitness instruction; iii. Recreational fishing, hunting, shooting, and archery; iv. Recreational boating; v. Horseback riding; and vi. Visiting cemeteries.

Paragraph III. Gatherings Larger Than 10 Persons Prohibited.
a. Social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people (“large gatherings and events”) are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues, including but not limited to parades, festivals, conventions, and fundraisers. b. Planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded.

Licensed Boarding and Lesson barns can operate under “Permitted Outdoor Activities” and Paragraph III

Guidance from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Effective immediately, horseback riding activities, including riding in state parks, is allowed, however:

  • Equestrians must be riding with immediate family members or people with which they reside.
    • No more than 10 people may be included in a given party.
  • Social distancing guidelines MUST be followed.
  • No organized rides, gatherings, or races will be authorized.

Please continue to take care of yourself, your neighbor and your horses.