October is a Perfect Time for Horse Play in Maryland
Baltimore, Md. (October 3, 2013) — Horses have played an important role in Maryland since the first settlers arrived at St. Mary's City in the mid-17th century. In those early days, the horse was essential for farming and as a mode of transportation. Although tractors and cars have taken much of the burden off horses, Maryland’s fascination with these beautiful animals has not diminished. When it comes to horse play, Maryland offers a little bit of everything.
“From the wild ponies of Assateague Island to horse-soaring aerobatics at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Prince George’s County and Fair Hill International Festival in Cecil County, Maryland is well-known for its equine roots,” said Margot Amelia, executive direction, Maryland Office of Tourism. “And, with fall colors at their peak, it is a great time to horse around in Maryland!”
"There is nothing quite like the bonds that people forge with horses. It is almost magical," said Ross Peddicord, executive director, Maryland Horse Industry Board. “Horses bring Marylanders closer to nature and promote a healthy, active lifestyle. This October, visit one of Maryland’s many licensed stables for some equine fun."
Here is a sampling of equine-related attractions and events during October:
Jousting: Jousting is the state sport and synonymous with Maryland history. It has survived in Maryland since the founding of the original colony. You can see medieval jousting at the Maryland Renaissance Festival near Annapolis through October 20 and nightly at Medieval Times at Arundel Mills. Plus, the National Jousting Tournament takes place October 12 in Petersville, Frederick.
Bonnymeed Farm – Washington County - Explore the battlefield and all its history with a personalized guided tour by horse and carriage for a unique perspective about the Battle of Antietam that was fought on September 17, 1862.
Thrasher Carriage Museum - Allegany County - One of the top collections of horse-drawn vehicles represents every walk of life from a milk wagon to a Vanderbilt sleigh. The museum is located at the turn-around depot of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Frostburg. The Western Maryland locomotive is a steam-engine “iron horse.”
Belair Stable Museum – Prince George’s County – The museum pays tribute to Maryland’s horseracing tradition. Built in 1907 by the Woodward family, famous in both British and American Thoroughbred racing circles, the stable now includes exhibits about Thoroughbred history and bloodlines, racing silks, trophies, a carriage collection, farm equipment and a 1923 stable master’s apartment. The farm was home to the only father-son Thoroughbreds to win the Triple Crown: Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha (1935).
Capital Challenge Horse Show – Prince George’s County – In its 20th year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on pre-eminent hunter competitions. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, this year show will take place through October 6.
Capital Polo Club – Montgomery County – The club is located on nearly 600 acres of fields and wooded terrain in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve and includes three full size polo fields, one outdoor arena, one indoor arena and a full grandstand/clubhouse. October’s competitions include embassy and Halloween matches.
Days End Farm – Howard County - A nationally and internationally respected equine rescue and rehabilitation center, which cares for starving, abused and neglected horses seized by animal control agencies in Maryland and the tri–state area. On October 19-20, the farm hosts a clinic to show long-time and first-time horse owners about the proper care of their soon-to-be four-legged friends.
Maryland Million – Anne Arundel County - This is a celebration of Maryland-sired horses that was started by legendary broadcaster Jim McKay. This year’s event is October 19 at Laurel Park.
Greenwell Foundation – St. Mary’s County - The foundation works in partnership with the Maryland Park Service to provide accessible and inclusive programs including therapeutic and recreational riding lessons.
Southern Maryland Equine Guide: The guide showcases the region’s growing equine industry and brings together resources for horse businesses, owners and riders. The guide’s 31 full color pages include a comprehensive directory of more than 60 equine stables located in the five counties of Southern Maryland.
Assateague Island State Park - Worcester County – Assateague's wild horses are descendants of domestic animals that have reverted to a wild state. Their ancestors are likely horses brought from the mainland to barrier islands such as Assateague in the late 1600s. It was a way for owners of these horses to avoid fencing laws and livestock taxation.
Fair Hill International – Cecil County - Watch the competition of three equine disciplines (dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping). This equestrian triathlon, which has its roots in the training and testing of military horses in order to prove their ability to remain in service, will celebrate its 25th year October 16-20.
About Maryland tourism:
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Visitors to the state spent more than $14.3 billion on travel-related expenses in 2011. During 2011, the Maryland tourism industry also generated close to $2 billion in state and local taxes, and provided more than 131,000 jobs for Maryland residents.