by Kimberly K. Egan and Corinne M. Pouliquen (first published in the November 2021 Equiery)

We enjoyed writing our letter this month because all the news is good news, for a change. October saw two firsts for our industry – a new state Office of Outdoor Recreation and the inaugural running of the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill – and in November we will hold our Annual Meeting to preview exciting things to come.

DNR Office of Outdoor Recreation
In late September, Governor Hogan created the Office of Outdoor Recreation (ORR) within the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. ORR’s mission is to “enhance outdoor recreation opportunities and the economic benefits they produce,” which will include implementing the Maryland Outdoor Recreation Economic Commission’s (MOREC) recommendations on how to strengthen Maryland’s outdoor recreation industry. Gov. Hogan appointed J. Daryl Anthony as ORR’s Executive Director.

Governor Hogan’s action has been well-received by the outdoor recreation industry. The Executive Director of the national Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Jessica Turner, and the President and CEO of the Chesapeake Conservancy, Joel Dunn, wrote in an Oct. 7, 2021 opinion piece in Maryland Matters that “Maryland has taken a big step forward by joining 17 other states across the country and investing in a huge driver of the state’s economy — outdoor recreation,” which, they noted, includes “everything from skiing to horseback riding, hunting and fishing, to boating and surfing.”
Our Government Relations and our Trail & Greenways committees both expect to engage with ORR on a regular basis on behalf of the horse industry. Look for updates in future issues of The Equiery.

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Results
As you have no doubt heard by now, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI, the international governing body of equestrian sports) ran the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill on October 14-17, one of only seven such competitions in the world and the highest possible level of competition for international eventers. The level of competition at these five-star events is even higher than at the Olympics. The only other eventing competition at this level in the United States is the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Maryland 5 Star gave us the best possible finish we could hope for – four-time U.S. Olympian Boyd Martin, the pride of the Mid-Atlantic eventing scene and frequent competitor at Fair Hill, Loch Moy and other Maryland venues, won the the competition on the mare On Cue (owned by Christine Turner), becoming the first American to win a CCI5*-L in 13 years.

Boyd Martin rode against the best eventers in the world, including the world’s number 1 eventer, Oliver Townend from the United Kingdom, and the New Zealander Tim Price, who was number 3 in the world going in to the competition. Townend was in the lead for the entire competition until the final 90 seconds. He was the last rider to go and needed a clear show jumping round to beat Boyd. But he dropped a rail at jump 4, a heartbreaking end to two long days of flawless riding. Boyd’s margin of victory over Townend was the slimmest of slim – 0.01 points. The crowd, quite literally, went wild.

Stay tuned to the December Equiery for more photos and recap from the inaugural Maryland 5 Star.