One year ago, we launched the Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program (MTCP) with the dream of getting enough applicants to fill our six spots; thirteen applicants later, our dreams were surpassed! The six finalists made the most of the opportunity and we are confident that we will hear more from them in the future. Applications for the 2018 MTCP are due April 20th and we are hopeful for another great crop!
Last year also saw the first “Egg Hunt on the Farm” family outreach event at GreenMount Farm; it was a hit! The 2018 version that was planned for Sagamore Farm had to be canceled at the last minute due to poor weather. Sagamore has graciously invited us back again for 2019. We view family-friendly activities as a long-term investment in our industry. Many of us remember our first interaction with a horse; our goal is to make those life-changing moments happen frequently.
New for 2018, we are working with the 4-H Horse Program to expose their 14 & Up participants to the Thoroughbred industry in a three part series. Part one, taking place at Country Life Farm, will give 25 students a look at all aspects of the breeding industry. Subsequent programs will cover the racing/training and sales sectors of the business. Some of these 4-H’ers are future interns, breeders, employees, owners, or industry leaders; we want to get to know them.
Looking forward, we are developing the framework for specific, in-depth internship opportunities in all sectors of the industry. Research shows that Thoroughbred businesses around the state are willing to host interns; our job is to match an intern with the appropriate internship in order to maximize the benefit for all involved. Once matched, the MHIF will pay interns a stipend and have the ability to subsidize housing, if necessary. Grant writing and fundraising efforts to support the new internship initiative are underway.
You have probably noticed the strong educational theme of this update. Since 2016, we have focused on creating programs that feed the pipeline of future Thoroughbred industry participants; with these programs, the MHIF will serve as a resource for people that want to get involved. We are thankful for your support and look forward to working with all of you to continue the tradition excellence that the Maryland Thoroughbred industry represents.