Economic Issues

Horses mean business in Maryland. The horse industry has a $2.9 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 generates $621 million annually. The competition sector supports over 3,340 jobs in Maryland and has a $326 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. We have four international competition venues in the state, and we are an easy drive to two others. 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 market entrants.These programs are also in high demand, which means our many lesson barns are working extra hard to keep our industry flourishing.

Working with horses also means working hard. MHC is committed to making sure that both horse industry businesses are treated fairly by the state and that horse industry works are treated fairly by their employers.

Photo by Charles Toler

MHC’s recent accomplishments on this front

  • MHC created the Horse Industry Work Release Program in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Corrections and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. (2023)
  • MHC publishes wage and hour compliance information for horse industry employers and employees in The Equiery. (2022)
  • MHC participates in a study group with the State Department of Assessments & Taxation and the Maryland Department of Agriculture to ensure that horse properties continued to be assessed as agricultural properties. (2022)
  • MHC hosts webinar for horse businesses on third-party payment apps. (2022)
  • MHC hosts webinar with state legislators and Hogan Administration officials re legislative bond money available for capital projects for horse businesses.  (2021)
  • MHC prepared a packet of COVID-19 Resources for Maryland’s Horse Community. (2020)
  • MHC hosted a Barn Fire Seminar. (2019)
  • Maryland Fund for Horses published and distributed 5,000 copies of MHC’s Safe & Sound: A Resource Guide for New and Prospective Owners distributed since printing. (2016)
  • MHC hosted the “Maryland-Made Sold Worldwide” three-session business seminar for entrepreneurs interested in developing innovative products for the equestrian community. (2015)
  • MHC launched the Business Network for Business and Farm members. (2010)
  • MHC hosted an equine liability and insurance forum with Maryland Insurance Commissioner. (2005)
  • MHC organized two day-long seminars, one for owners of horse businesses in Maryland and the other for those running nonprofit associations and clubs in Maryland; over 200 people attend. (2004)
  • MHC spearheaded successful legislation to create a Maryland Horse Industry Board, which Board was established on October 1, 1998.
  • MHC released brochure on “Insurance, Litigation, Liability Reform and the Effect on the Maryland Horse Industry.” (1996)
  • MHC partnered with Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Emergency Management Association, Maryland Cooperative Extension, Maryland Racing Commission and the Maryland Jockey Club to release the brochure “Disaster Action Guidelines for Horse Owners.” (1994)
  • MHC bumper sticker “Maryland Horses Mean Business” released; featured in EQUUS magazine. (1992)


Guide to Horse Ownership (2019)

Maryland Horse Industry At-A-Glance (2023)

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