“As a $1.6 billion dollar industry, the Maryland horse industry is a vital part of our state’s economy and way of life, and all of its participants, from veterinarians and horse owners to racetracks and hospitality vendors, appreciate the Administration and Legislature’s efforts to revitalize the industry, particularly in the past several years,” said Dr. Kathleen Anderson, President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and Owner of Equine Veterinary Care at Fair Hill Training Center.
“We are uniquely fortunate to have so many supporters in our state government and throughout Maryland, and that is what sets Maryland’s horse industry apart from other states,” she continued. Fair Hill Training Center in Cecil County, one of the premier Thoroughbred training facilities in the United States, is a 5,656 acre Natural Resources Management Area owned by the State of Maryland.
For the second year in a row, the Governor proclaimed the day as Maryland Horse Industry Day. The proclamation states, “The Maryland Horse Industry employs nearly 28,000 Marylanders, accounts for $512 million in sales annually, $72 million in taxes collected and includes 587,000 acres of our beautiful State…Maryland is pleased to commend the Maryland Equine Industry for its contributions to the economic health of our great State.” The Lieutenant Governor attended the day’s Kick-Off to present the proclamation to James B. Steele, Chairman of the Maryland Horse Industry Board and to Cricket Goodall, Executive Director of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.
In appreciation of Maryland’s commitment to the prosperity of the equine industry, Maryland-based artist Sam Robinson presented a gift of art to the State of Maryland, accepted by Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford at the Kick-Off. The framed art was a painting titled “Autumn Afternoon,” a beautiful horse farm scene.
Senator J.B. Jennings (R-7), Senator Joan Carter Conway (D-43), and Secretary Mark Belton of the Department of Natural Resources spoke to the importance of the horse industry to Maryland’s economy, culture, and environmental preservation.
Delegate Seth Howard (R-30B), sponsor of HB660 to establish an annual Equestrian Day, described how the legislation would recognize Maryland’s time-honored equestrian and horse racing traditions. HB660 would designate the final race of the Triple Crown as Equestrian Day in Maryland.
The day also included a kick-off and issue briefing, reception, and constituent meetings with over 25 legislators. Hundreds of Marylanders from around the state came to the State’s Capitol to advocate for the industry.
Earlier in the day, Ross Peddicord, Executive Director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, commented, “We need to continually remind legislators and our fellow citizens of the strength of our industry and its positive impact on our state, from the wild ponies at Assateague to trail riding stables in Garrett County to events like the Preakness, Maryland Million, Maryland Hunt Cup, Fair Hill International, and Capital Challenge Horse Show.”
“Although we all have our special disciplines, we are united in promoting the major benefits that horses provide to improve people's lives and to enrich our state's cultural and economic landscape," he added.
About the Maryland Horse Industry Partners
The Maryland horse industry partners are a coordinated voice of individuals and businesses throughout the state involved in Thoroughbred and Standardbred horse racing and breeding, trail riding, steeplechase, sport horse competitions, rodeo, carriage driving, therapy programs, recreation and other equestrian industries. They represent over 200 equine organizations and 35 different equestrian disciplines.
Their mission is to educate public officials as well as citizens about the importance of the horse industry – in jobs, economic impact, open space, animal welfare and preservation of long-standing cultural traditions.
The 14 Horse Industry Day sponsors include: Cloverleaf Standardbred Owners' Association, Fasig-Tipton Co., Maryland Association for Wildlife Conservation, Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Maryland Horse Council, Maryland Horse Industry Board, Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Million Ltd., Maryland Standardbred Breeders Association, Maryland State Fair, Maryland Steeplechase Association, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Ocean Downs Racetrack, and Rosecroft Raceway.
For more information visit www.marylandhorse.com.