On Tuesday, June 18, 2013, Maryland’s own Beverly Raymond was presented with the prestigious American Horse Council Van Ness award for her three decades of dedication to the Maryland Horse Council and to the Maryland equestrian community.
Each year, the American Horse Council presents the Van Ness Award to a person who has shown leadership and service to the horse community in her state. It is awarded in memory of Mrs. Marjorie Van Ness, one of the founders of the New Jersey Horse Council and the AHC’s Coalition of State Horse Councils.
Nominated by the Maryland Horse Council because she best exemplifies the life and spirit of Marge Van Ness, Beverly Raymond’s quiet and subtle influence on the horse community in Maryland will last for generations to come. Like Marge Van Ness, Beverly was a founding our state horse council’s board member. Beverly immediately saw the benefits of an umbrella organization, of “one common interest, the horse; one common voice, the Horse Council.” As one of the original members, Beverly is the only one who has had the tenacity, the patience, and the dedication to the vision to hang on, to persevere through the lean years. A review of the first two and a half decades of minutes of the Maryland Horse Council shows that Beverly rarely missed a meeting.
In addition to her involvement with MHC, Bev was an early member of the Maryland Combined Training Association, and was a state inspector of riding and boarding stables and veterinary hospitals for the Maryland Department of Agriculture starting in the late 1970s. She was a founding member of the Maryland Horse Council and remains a dedicated worker for its programs. She spearheaded programs for the Maryland Department of Agriculture throughout her career, and is still active in the equine industry today including with her own three horses.
MHC has long known that it had a treasure with Beverly, as it has presented Beverly with the Maryland Horse Council Horse Woman of the Year award (for an outstanding career in the industry) and the Anne Pumphrey Unsung Hero Memorial Award (for her behind the scenes contributions).
Beverly is a quiet woman, self-effacing and modest, working in the background to create a better environment for horses and a stronger Maryland horse industry. Because of her modesty, because she is “off the radar,” her contributions to the industry could easily be overlooked–but this would be a mistake. Like Marge Van Ness in New Jersey, Beverly has been the backbone of the Maryland Horse Council and the Maryland equestrian community.
The Van Ness nomination application states that the recipient must fulfill at least one of three criteria; Beverly Raymond does not fulfill just one–she more than fulfills all three.
1) Successfully worked to pass legislation which has had a beneficial and significant impact on the horse industry.
Beverly has been active on…
…legislation that made malicious cruelty to animals a felony, rather than a misdemeanor;
…helping to defeat legislation that would have made whips and spurs illegal;
…working within the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to obtain their sponsorship of legislation for the creation of an equine commodity board, the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB);
…legislation for the creation of a funding source for the Board: the feed fund.
2) Developed programs through state government or state agencies which promote and represent the interests of all horse people in the state.
Beverly has played a key role in the development of policy and programs at both the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources.
In the Department of Natural Resources, she helped create the Volunteer Mounted Patrols, was one of the first certified Mounted Patrols, and remains an active advocate for trails.
Beverly was a Maryland state employee, and as such, her activity on legislation was restricted until her recent retirement. However, as a state employee, Beverly’s impact on agency programs and policies affecting the horse industry is immeasurable. Beverly was one of our two State Stable Inspectors, and she was based at the Maryland Department of Agriculture for 33 years.
Because of her position with the Department of Agriculture, Beverly had tremendous influence on the development of state policies as they apply to horses. Of particular note is the definition of “equine operations” subject to the nutrient management laws. When the law was first enacted, any farm with four “animal units” (regardless of acreage) was subjected to the regulations, with “one animal unit” defined as 2,000 pounds. The regulations used an antiquated federal definition of horses (surely going back to the era of plow horses) as one horse equaling 2,000 pounds. Through Beverly’s role inside the department, we were eventually able to have the nutrient management regulations–as they apply to equine operations–modified.
Similarly, Beverly persistently worked with MDA to expand the definition of agriculture to include all horse operations. In 1996, the first milestone was reached when MDA declared an official list of “alternative agricultural industries,” which included equine operations. And today, equine operations are fully incorporated into the definition of agriculture in Maryland, and Beverly’s quiet persistence within the department played an integral role.
No doubt, her presence also played a critical role in helping to convince MDA to support the first-ever U.S. Department of Agriculture equine census in Maryland.
Additionally, as a State Stable Inspector, Beverly was the leading advocate for higher standards of horse care in Maryland. When Beverly began her career as the State Stable Inspector, there were but a fraction of the number of stables that there are today, and among them were the much derided “hack stables” (a phrase which unfortunately became a distasteful word to responsible horse people). Today, Maryland has a thriving industry, with over 600 reputable stables offering services to the general public, with the term “hack stable” being relegated to the dust bins of memory.
In her professional capacity, she helped to bring about better conditions for school horses, but also for a wide variety of working horses, from the carriage horses providing tours, to the legendary Baltimore “A-rabbers” (an unusual but legitimate term for the ponies used to pull vendor carts loaded with fruits and vegetables).
Beverly played a critical role in the development of the Professional Animal Workers Society, specifically improving the equine education of animal control officers in all of Maryland’s counties.
In her spare time, she is a leading advocate for setting standards for equine welfare, rescue, and adoption programs.
Beverly helped to spearhead the equine industry’s formal interpretation of Maryland’s Code for the “Minimum Standards of Care for Equine.” Frequently called upon to testify in cases of neglect or cruelty, Beverly discovered that judges frequently had difficulty interpreting Maryland code as it applied to these minimum standards of care. The judges wanted to know how the industry interpreted these codes: what were the industry standards? Frequently, both sides would bring in their own so-called horse experts to testify, often with conflicting opinions. Beverly brought the issue before the Maryland Horse Council, and after a year’s worth of debate, over 30 horse organizations representing almost every conceivable sport and breed agreed and ratified an industry interpretation of the State Code. The judicial community has been very grateful, as the MHC interpretation is now used as the basis for determining cases of neglect or abuse.
3) Increased awareness, generated interest, and raised the visibility of the horse industry through educational programs and related events.
For more than three decades, Beverly has been a tireless advocate for the Horse Council, raising awareness of the Council on each of her farm visits.
She has participated in every promotional event or booth organized by MHC or MHIB, such as the booth at the 11-day State Fair, located in an unusual spot to catch the attention of non-horse people and get them interested in getting involved with horses. Beverly has singlehandedly set up booths at county fairs, for both MHC and MHIB.
Over the course of MHC’s 30 years, she has taken on key roles in helping to organize various equine demonstrations that were part of the now defunct (but perhaps some day revitalized) Maryland Horse Month (developed and promoted by the Maryland Office of Tourism).
Beverly was an enthusiastic participant in the Black Stallion Literacy Program when it came to Maryland and was partially sponsored by the Maryland Horse Council.
Although this list of items for “increasing the awareness…raising the visibility of the horse industry through education…” may seem short, it is critical to note that Beverly has been fulfilling this criteria every day for the last 35 years, since the day she became the State Stable Inspector. When the State Board of Inspection of Horse Riding Stables (now the Maryland Horse Industry Board) was created, it was intended to be an outreach program, to help educate those who were not in compliance and to support their efforts to bring their facilities and husbandry into accepted standard practices. It was never the intention of the Board that inspections and licensing be a punitive process.
For almost forty years, Beverly Raymond has been the embodiment of education and outreach, working with stable owners to better improve their understanding, and help coach them into compliance. Beverly Raymond is one of these rare individuals who has vision and as such was committed not just to her job as State Stable Inspector but also to helping foster, grow and improve the horse industry in Maryland.
We also believe that it is critical to note that the State Board of Inspection of Horse Riding Stables became the Maryland Horse Industry Board in 1998, but a professional Executive Director was not hired until January of 2003. For five years, Beverly Raymond acted in the unofficial capacity of Executive Director and Executive Secretary, managing the administrative and communication needs of a growing and determined Board. She organized and facilitated monthly meetings and special trips, managed Board communications, crafted, set up and staffed MHIB promotional booths throughout the state, recorded the meetings and produced minutes, not only managed the grant program but was instrumental in crafting and implementing the program, handled public relations and served as ambassador and liaison for the Board at various state functions. In order for this not to interfere with her primary function as State Stable inspector, she performed all of these functions for the Board at a great sacrifice to her personal life, working nights and weekends to fulfill the vision of the Maryland equestrian community.
In addition to her activities with the Maryland Horse Industry Board, she continued on for several years as treasurer of the Maryland Horse Council, before allowing herself to be badgered into retiring and accepting an advisory ex-officio position on the MHC steering committee and the executive committee. On top of all of this, she always made sure that meeting participants had something to drink and something to eat at all meetings!
Beverly Raymond never just “had a job” in the horse industry; she has a mission, and when someone has a mission, there are no time clocks to punch, no office in which one can be contained, and no job description fully adequate. For almost forty years, in both her professional role and in her private life, Beverly Raymond quietly, consistently and persistently worked to better the horse world in Maryland, with no regard for personal recognition or monetary reward. Because of her work and dedication, we have a thriving Maryland Horse Council and a dynamic Maryland Horse Industry Board.
The Equiery can think of no better way to celebrate Beverly Raymond’s contributions to the equine community than for her to receive the 2013 Van Ness Award from the American Horse Council.
Beverly, on behalf of the entire Maryland equestrian community, thank you!