The Maryland horse industry is large. There are more horses per square mile (10.5) in Maryland than in any other state in the country, and 51.8% of Maryland households contain at least one horse-enthusiast. We have over 800 licensed lesson and boarding stables and over 200 equine organizations state-wide. We have 40 therapeutic riding centers, including over a dozen veterans programs. Our official state sport is jousting.
The horse industry has a $2.4 billion annual impact on the Maryland economy. Horse farms constitute over 25% of all agricultural land in Maryland, and 88,000 equine acres are preserved in perpetuity as farmland. The recreational riding sector alone generates $450 million annually. The competition sector supports over 3,340 jobs in Maryland and has a $310 million annual economic impact on the state’s economy.
The Maryland horse industry is not just large, it is also diverse. We are home to 40 breeds of horses and 35 different equestrian disciplines, including: barrel racing, competitive trail riding, cutting, dressage, draft horse pulling, driving, endurance, eventing, fox chasing, harness racing, hunter/jumpers, jousting, mule jumping, polo, polocrosse, ranch riding, reining, rodeo, show jumping, side saddle, steeplechasing, therapeutic riding, Thoroughbred racing, vaulting, western dressage, western equitation, and working western, as well as several others. We have five international competition venues in the state,1 and we are an easy drive to two others.2
Maryland also stands out in the Mid-Atlantic for its unusually high number of riding schools that have large and well-developed lesson programs. These schools teach beginning riders of all ages, in various styles of riding, and keep our industry vibrant with a constant supply of new equestrians.
There is something for everyone Maryland’s horse industry. Maryland truly is horse country.
1 Pimlico Race Course (host of the Preakness States), the Fair Hill Special Event Area (host of the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill), the Prince George’s County Showplace Arena (host of the Capitol Challenge Horse Show and the Washington International Horse Show), Laural Park (host of the Maryland Million), and Loch Moy Farm (host of the Maryland International CCI4*/3*/2*/1*-S).
2 Morven Park International Equestrian Center in Leesburg, Virginia, and Plantation Fields in Coatesville, Pennsylvania (host of the Plantation Fields International Horse Trials).