first printed in the February 2022 Equiery

A seven-minute documentary film jointly produced by the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) and Maryland Horse Foundation (MHF) won the Best Overall Documentary Short Film at the 2021 EQUUS Film & Arts Fest. The film entitled Why Horses – A Welcome to the Maryland Horse Industry demonstrates a horse’s ability to feed our soul and to strengthen our bodies through exercise and connection to nature. The short film was produced to promote horses throughout October 2021, which is “Maryland Horse Month,” established by proclamation of Governor Larry Hogan.

The documentary was written and narrated by MHC-member Alejandra Abella of Annapolis and directed by Torrey Pocock and Bryan Krandle of Riggo Productions. Abella is the education advisor to MHIB, and she was elected to the Maryland Horse Council’s Board of Directors for the 2022-2024 term. The documentary was made possible by funding from the Rural Maryland Council.

“We are so proud and honored that Why Horses was recognized at this year’s EQUUS Film & Arts Fest,” said Ross Peddicord, MHIB Executive Director. “Maryland is fortunate to have such talented creatives in our state that have been able to capture the importance of Maryland’s horse industry in film, photo, podcasts, books, artwork, and other mediums.”

In addition, three other Maryland entries won awards in their respective categories. Two books, Show Strides: Testing Friendships by Rennie Dyball and Chincoteague Pony Tales by Lois Szymanski, took home top honors, as did a news segment from WJZ-CBS Baltimore that spotlighted the plight of a young horse named Cyrus who went viral on social media.

Several Marylanders received runner-up awards including: a short film called Woodrow and My Dad directed by Ivy Schexnayder of Texas about Marylander Ann Halin and her Mustang, a podcast named “Tiny Horse Talk” produced by Patricia Milligan; a book entitled Horse Gods: The Dressage Rider’s Betrayal by Lisa Trovillion; and another book called Roll Cyrus Roll: The Adventures of Cyrus the Colt by Chris Brown.