ANNAPOLIS, MD (November 8, 2022) – October 31, 2022, marked the end of Maryland Horse Month and a very successful third year of events organized by the Maryland Horse Industry and its partners. More than 50,000 spectators collectively attended three major events—the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, the Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park, and the Washington International Horse Show at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro. The month kicked off when 2,000 horses entered the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, making it the largest hunter/equitation show in North America.
International riders Tim Price of New Zealand and Conor Swail of Ireland turned in thrilling performances just weeks apart to win Maryland’s two signature 5-Star equestrian events at Fair Hill and Upper Marlboro, respectively. Each rider’s victory was achieved in jump-offs decided by just fractions of a second, Price defeating USA’s Tamie Smith in the final show jumping phase of the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill on Oct. 16 and Swail besting Daniel Gluman of Israel on Oct. 29 in a heart-pounding President’s Cup at the Washington International Horse Show, held for the first time at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center.
Local horsemen and women also shared the action when Ournationonparade, the product of Jay Williamson’s one-horse broodmare band, swept to victory in the Maryland Million Classic, and $10.5 million worth of Thoroughbred yearlings, many Maryland-breds, were sold at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.
Millions of viewers watched the action on national, local, and Livestream broadcasts on CBS Sports, Maryland Public Television, and live streams throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. There were also thousands of hits on various social media platforms.
Another month’s feature included the opening of the new Maryland Horse Library and Education Center located in Reisterstown, housing one of the nation’s finest collections of sporting books. The Center is now open to the public.
“There is no question that the level of equestrian activity in Maryland has reached new heights,” said Jim Steele, chair of the Maryland Horse Industry Board. “All of these events took place in a single month, October. Then add in our other major events like the Preakness and the Maryland Hunt Cup, and you’ve got a full menu of horse sports throughout the year.”
Marylanders now have the opportunity to see “up close and personal” riders like Price, the number one Event rider in the world, and Swail, fresh off a team victory for Ireland in the Aga Khan Trophy at the Dublin Horse Show, in their backyard.
“These elite horses and athletes can inspire and teach all of us to improve our skills, both on and off the horse,” Steele added. “Or we can simply admire the beauty and majesty of these incredible animals.”
The major event organizers were pleased with how the competitions unfolded.
“A huge thank you to all of the incredible supporters who helped in the success of the second edition of the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory, including our partners, sponsors, loyal volunteers, Governor Larry Hogan, State of Maryland, Cecil County and more,” said Jeff Newman, President & CEO of the Maryland 5 Star Event Committee, an affiliate of the Sport & Entertainment Corporation of Maryland. “We are honored to do our part in representing and showcasing the incredible Maryland horse industry during October Horse Month and congratulate the other events on their success.”
“I’d like to give special thanks to Prince George’s County and Maryland state officials, as well as our sponsors, supporters, competitors, and attendees, for making this year’s Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) the biggest and best yet,” said Victoria Lowell, President, WIHS. “WIHS is a unique event. While the nation’s and world’s top riders compete, we also enable access to horses through various exhibitions and hands-on activities for those who may not otherwise have the opportunity. Sharing this thrilling sport with Maryland’s horse lovers and surrounding communities is special, and we achieved that thanks to a tremendous team effort.”
Cricket Goodall, executive director of the Maryland Million and the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, added, “All Marylanders should be proud not only of the horse industry and events showcased during Maryland Horse Month this October but of all the equine activity that goes on year-round. Maryland celebrates horses daily with the farms, shows, races, and the people who love, work, and play with horses!”