The Institute for Governmental Service and Research recently conducted an online opinion poll of 1,000 Maryland residents. Respondents had a broad demographic and geographic range, with 50.8% indicating an interest in either riding or participating in some sort of activity involving horses. The majority are interested in some sort of recreational or sport riding; the least interest is in watching races. More women than men are interested in riding; more men than women are interested in watching races.

This response indicates a strong need for gateway programs into the horse industry. Gateway programs include spectator events, guided trail rides, and a variety of other introductory activities offered by the emerging new Discovery Center network of stables.

The poll was paid for by the Maryland Horse Industry Board. The Board is funded by “the Feed Fund,” 15¢ from every bag of feed sold in Maryland.