ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed October as Maryland Horse Month, recognizing the abundant historic, recreational, therapeutic, and economic contributions made by the state’s horse industry.
“Maryland has a rich history as a leader in the horse industry, and is one of only two states to host both a Triple Crown Race in the Preakness Stakes and an international 5-Star Event, coming this year to Fair Hill,” said Governor Hogan. “With more horses per square mile than any other state, the equine community is a critical part of our state’s heritage and economy. I encourage all Marylanders to join in celebrating Maryland Horse Month.”
In celebration of Maryland Horse Month, the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) and its industry partners are leading a targeted marketing strategy to highlight the many statewide attractions, events, activities, trails, exhibits, and experiences with an equestrian connection.
2021 marks the inaugural Maryland 5-Star Event at Fair Hill, a major new international equestrian event at a newly-refurbished state facility that will draw competitors from across the U.S. and abroad. The Maryland 5-Star Event takes place Oct. 14-17 at Fair Hill International in Elkton.
Other major Maryland horse events include the Capital Challenge Horse Show, one of the largest horse shows in the country with nearly 1,400 entries, at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro from Oct. 1-10; and the Jim McKay Maryland Million horse race at Laurel Park Racetrack in Laurel on Oct. 23.
In between these major events are championship finals in jousting, rodeo and hunter/jumper disciplines, as well as All Breed exhibitions, carriage driving displays and numerous events hosted by the state’s 40 Horse Discovery Centers, individual farm owners and equine organizations.
“We are fortunate that during the pandemic many folks discovered the benefits of riding horses, being outdoors, getting fresh air and exercise with these magnificent animals,” said Ross Peddicord, executive director of MHIB. “We hope this interest carries over into increased attendance and enjoyment at our equestrian events. Maryland Horse Month is a good way to underscore all that we have to offer.”
A new video titled, “Why Horses,” will be available on the MHIB YouTube channel and the MarylandHorse.com, which beautifully depicts the many compelling benefits of involvement with horses. The board is also encouraging participation in the national Mustang Discovery Ride in which two young women will start a 5,000-mile, year-long cross country trek in Maryland during October on their Mustang mounts. Marylanders are encouraged to ride along in the state during October and support this effort to adopt and then turn these wild animals into useful and enjoyable riding horses.
The Maryland Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism has joined the Horse Industry Board and the Board’s many private-sector equestrian organizations to promote Maryland Horse Month.
“Major equestrian events typically bring in thousands of visitors, as do our world-class destinations such as Assateague Island National Seashore and Assateague State Park, home to storied herds of wild horses,” said Liz Fitzsimmons, Managing Director of the Maryland Office of Tourism and Film. “Driving the Scenic Horse and Hounds Byways, travelers will journey through an impressive landscape and perhaps will venture into one of the riding stables to saddle up to really horse around in Maryland.”
Maryland leads the nation in the number of horses per square mile, according to the American Horse Council. In addition to tourism attractions, there are 40 friendly and knowledgeable Maryland Horse Discovery Centers located in 18 counties that include licensed stables, therapeutic riding program providers, and state-of-the-art equestrian centers. All provide the perfect introduction to various segments of the industry.
Follow Maryland Horse Month on social media and use #MDHorse, #MDHorseMonth, #VisitMaryland, and #MDinFocus when posting about your tour of Maryland’s Equestrian Travel Collection. For the individual events, add #Maryland5Star, #Makeit5Star, #CapitalChallenge, and #MDMillion.
For additional travel information, please visit visitmaryland.org.