first published in the March 2022 Equiery

Member News
Member Promise Landing Farm has been provisionally named one of 17 “Community Outreach Organizations” by the US Equestrian Federation. The program was created in 2021 to highlight organizations nationwide that “spread the joy of horse sports to underrepresented or underserved communities.” Status is granted on a provisional basis until the completion of required background checks and training by the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Member Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding (CTR) has hired Katy Santiff to the newly created position of Program Director. “[During the] pandemic, it became abundantly clear to our staff and board of directors that we needed a talented person to guide our programming on a full-time basis,” said Cathy Schmidt, Founder and Executive Director.

Santiff spent much of her childhood on a small farm in Southern Maryland and is a graduate of the University of Maryland. After a successful career in sales, marketing, and management, she made a strategic career move into the nonprofit world by applying her experience and skills in management to a behavioral health organization near Annapolis before joining. “I’ve been looking for a way to reintegrate my love for horses with my passionate desire to continue to help people, and finding this opportunity was a way for me to do this both personally and professionally,” said Santiff.

Vicki Carson is a woman with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Not only is she the President of Carson & Associates LLC, a technology consulting firm for professional services organizations, and not only does she oversee the charity she founded, Maryland Fund For Horses, Carson has now launched a new business, The Thoughtful Horsewoman. The new consulting firm advises those new to horse ownership and horse farm ownership to help them “avoid the pitfalls and heartbreak” of the horse world.

New member Strider is an on-line entry system for horse shows, clinics, educational seminars, schooling days, and more. Strider’s app is used widely in Maryland, including by MHC members Loch Moy Farm, A Bit Better Farm, Waredaca, By Chance Farm, Oak Spring Equestrian, and PVDA, among others. Local equestrian and Strider CEO, Tara Swersie, has a classic Washington professional background. For 11 years, Swersie worked with the Department of Defense, either directly or as a contractor with SAIC, focusing on leading advanced technology projects. In 2012, Swersie helped found Sahara Capital, an international investment firm focused on high growth equity returns. Swersie also holds the patent for Strider’s contactless eWaiver service.

The charity Maryland Horse Foundation (MHF) was created in 1988 by MHC association member Maryland Horse Breeders Association to serve various educational and charitable needs of the Maryland horse industry. When MHBA had the opportunity to acquire an historic building on Main Street in Reisterstown, the leadership realized that they had, with this building, the opportunity for a long-held dream of MHBA and MHF: to establish a Maryland horse museum and archive. And thus was born the Maryland Horse Library & Education Center.

The 501(c)3 organization The Greenwell Foundation, Inc. manages the almost 600-acre Greenwell State Park, located along the lower Patuxent River in St Mary’s County. The Foundation is dedicated to providing accessible and inclusive programs, services, and facilities for all community members, with and without disabilities. The Foundation offers Equestrian, Nature Connection, and Summer Camp programs, kayaking, riding, and carriage driving lessons, guided trail rides, and various interactive equine experiences. Many of its instructors are PATH International certified for equine-assisted therapy, and the facility is an official Maryland Horse Discovery Center. Jolanda Campbell serves as the Executive Director and Jenn Boarman oversees the equestrian programs.

Airy Hill Stables is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in Chestertown and is owned and operated by Christina and Bart Stinchcomb. Husband Bart works behind the scenes to keep the operation running smoothly, while Christina, a certified Equine Gestalt coach and a certified Reach Out To Horses Trainer, is committed to holistic wellness and equine connection, Airy Hill blends the practices of Yoga Nidra, Sound Healing and Vinyasa Flow, along with the traditional services of lessons, guided trail rides, coaching and boarding. The farm also offers overnight stays, corporate experiences and overseas equestrian trips.

Eagle Eye Ag, owned by Emma Mullineaux, is located in the gateway of Western Maryland, Frederick County. For her day job, Mullineaux is an application specialist with Willard Agri-Services, a large fertilizing company specializing in the traditional ag economies of food and fiber. Mullineaux’s horse friends kept asking her who they could call that has the smaller equipment needed to lime or fertilize their pastures or treat their arenas. Clearly, there was an opportunity for a new service business! With the blessing of the leadership at Willard, Mullineaux launched Eagle Eye Ag, using a Kubota Mule with GPS capability for precise and even applications. This is not her only side business. She also has Monocacy Junction, an online delivery platform for local restaurant and food service businesses and Old Line Outdoors, a sporting goods company.

Long-time Equiery advertiser Precise Buildings, LLC. is a new Industry Professional member. Owned by John Fisher, Precise was founded on the principles of family, faith, integrity, and work ethic. Located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and servicing the mid-Atlantic area, Precise uses skilled Amish craftsmen combined with state-of-the-art innovative engineering in designing and building equestrian facilities, bank barns, wedding venues, pole buildings, wineries, garages, run-in sheds and restoration work. Says Fisher, “We are committed to excellence and focused on the details to make our customer’s visions a reality, precisely as they dream.”

Hope Birsh began her equine industry career at 13 when she started teaching lessons in the middle of the Bronx, New York. In the 1980s, she moved to Maryland to teach at McDonogh School. She was happy doing that – until she was no longer happy doing that. “A new couple walked in for their first lesson. Neither had ever thrown a leg over a horse, but they were already dressed to the nines in the most expensive equipment, gear, and clothes money could buy. I felt bad for them. It was clear that some local store clerk had taken advantage of them – and they didn’t need all that stuff,” Birsh said. With that, she decided to start a saddle shop with reasonably priced products, where no matter how much someone knew (or didn’t know), he or she would feel comfortable. In 1989, Birsh opened Maryland Saddlery. Thirty-three years later, Maryland Saddlery now has three locations and is the keystone in a national 80-shop Overstock Division partnership launched in 2019. In 2021 Maryland Saddlery launched a national online consignment division

Oak Spring Equestrian (Barb Sullivan) • Coexist Stables (Elizabeth Tonti)) • Rose of Sharon Equestrian School (Joan Twining) • Keene Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram (Ashley Adams Aycock) • Fine Idea Stables (Abby Gibbon) • Veteran Writing Services (Valerie Ormond) • Woodwind Farm (Alice Alstatt)