- Published: Tuesday, 29 September 2020 19:52
Gov. Larry Hogan Sept. 29 proclaimed October as Maryland Horse Month, recognizing the many historic, recreational, therapeutic, and economic contributions made by the state’s horse industry.
This year marks the first time all of Maryland’s premiere equestrian sporting events, including the Preakness Stakes, are held in the same month due to scheduling changes in response to COVID-19.
“Maryland has historically led the nation in creating and growing innovative equestrian-related programs, from forming the first sporting organization in the colonies, the Maryland Jockey Club in 1743, to hosting the Maryland 5 Star, one of only seven events of this kind in the world,” Hogan said. “Maryland Horse Month will showcase the depth and breadth of the industry’s impact on our history, heritage, and culture.”
In support of the proclamation, the Maryland Horse Industry Board, which falls under the state Department of Agriculture, will lead a targeted marketing strategy to highlight statewide attractions, events, activities, trails, exhibits, and experiences with an equestrian connection. The Maryland Horse Foundation’s website, MarylandHorse.com, has been enhanced to host live streaming broadcasts, educational content, career exploration series, and behind-the-scenes videos with plans to expand the selection of activities and experiences in the future.
During recent MHIB meetings, it has been noted the marketing campaign will continue beyond Maryland Horse Month. The idea is to continue to build on equine-related content via MarylandHorse.com and other platforms.
“Like many of Maryland’s other businesses in 2020, our industry has had to be nimble in unprecedented ways, including rescheduling major equestrian events,” MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord said. “The Preakness Stakes will be run for the first time in its 145-year history in October instead of May, joining other key equestrian events to be held during the month including the Jim McKay Maryland Million (on Oct. 24) at Laurel and the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill.”
The Maryland Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism has joined the MHIB and many private-sector equestrian organizations to promote Maryland Horse Month. The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association is a participant in the endeavor.