In late September, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan proclaimed October “Maryland Horse Month” in order to recognize the contributions made by the horse industry to the state.
The COVID-19 pandemic postponed the Preakness Stakes from May 16 to Oct. 3. Jim McKay Maryland Million Day will take place at Laurel Park Oct. 24. The inaugural Maryland 5 Star eventing competition at Fair Hill International in Cecil County was set to take place in 2020, but that has been postponed to Oct. 14-17, 2021. In its place this year, events will take place virtually at maryland5star.us/virtual from Oct. 15-18 as a way to give fans a sneak peek of what to expect next year.
“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 in a news release. “Maryland Horse Month will showcase the depth and breadth of the industry’s impact on our history, heritage, and culture.”
On Oct. 3, Swiss Skydiver won the Preakness, becoming the first filly to win the race since 2009 and sixth overall. There were 250 people allowed at Pimlico Race Course, though none were fans. No fans will be allowed to attend Maryland Million Day. The Maryland 5 Star competition has been a long time coming for Fair Hill, but that’ll have to wait a year.
The Maryland Horse Industry Board and Maryland Horse Foundation are marketing “Maryland Horse Month” in a variety of ways. The Maryland Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism is also promoting the initiative.
“These major equestrian events typically bring in thousands of tourists, as do our world-class destinations such as Assateague Island National Seashore, home to several bands of wild horses,” Liz Fitzsimmons, the managing director of the Maryland Office of Tourism, said in a press release. “Expanding the general public’s knowledge of Maryland’s idyllic horse country, whether it be through driving the Horses & Hounds Scenic Byway, exploring regional historic trails, learning about an historic breeding farm established in the 1740s, or engaging in outdoor activities such as horseback riding, is what we do best. During this inaugural Maryland Horse Month, we will unveil three Maryland Equestrian Travel Collections on our VisitMaryland website.”
Photo Credit: Jaclyn Borowski/PressBox