Maryland is for Horses

Maryland_Horse

The Maryland state slogan should be “Maryland is for Horses;” it makes much more sense than “Virginia is for Lovers.” It’s not just the history, the legacy, and the facilities, but our fellow citizens’ support. Although I’ve been involved with horses since my first riding lessons at Kettering Stables in the 1960’s and grew up watching horses run at Bowie Race Track, I did not understand the far reaching impact horses had on communities, businesses, individuals, and industries until recently. I’m not an economist, but I can use my own personal example to illustrate how one person’s horse habit can affect the local economy.

As a child, I took horseback riding lessons, which of course also required the purchase of boots and riding clothes. My parents took our family to Bowie Race Track where they spent money to get in, buy programs, bet on races, and buy food and drinks at concession stands. I worked at barns feeding horses and mucking stalls in exchange for more lessons and riding opportunities, an arrangement which still works well to this day for many stables to help them run their businesses. My parents eventually leased a horse for me, which required us to purchase tack, grooming equipment, and more. I even learned a bit about business as a teenager when I would ride my horse over to Allen Pond and collect a small fee for “pony rides” from park patrons.

I didn’t grow out of the horse phase in my adult years, and today my husband and I own three horses we board at Loftmar Stables in Bowie. In fact, the sole reason we bought the house was because it was adjacent to a stable. We pay for monthly board, riding lessons, vet bills, dentist bills, and farrier bills. We purchased a horse trailer at Cox Trailers in Clinton and buy gas to trailer our horses to local trail rides and to horse shows. We pay entry fees at shows and while there support local vendors. We regularly shop at Southern States in Upper Marlboro, Dover Saddlery and Maryland Saddlery in Crofton, and Bowen Farm Supply in Annapolis for equipment and supplies. We frequent Outback Leather in Laurel to have our horse blankets cleaned and repaired.

I continued the family tradition of attending horse races, and we entertain ourselves at Laurel Park, Pimlico, and Rosecroft Raceway and support their concessions. I am Secretary of the Maryland Horse Council and spend money travelling across the state to attend meetings and events. My husband and I are strong supporters of horse rescues and contribute money to help three Maryland horse rescues. I’ve authored two horse books and pay Maryland Sales and Use Tax on sales. I travel to schools and to book signings, and again, support those local economies while there.

The list goes on, but the point is the horse industry touches many segments and individuals in the economy that some might not ordinarily consider. My example is one, and there are an estimated 65,500 horse owners, employees, and volunteers in the state. Think about it the next time you see a horse trailer on the road…Maryland businesses are likely benefitting economically from that cargo. Horses are not just good for people with the horse habit, but for the many people supporting that habit through their local goods and services. Yes, Maryland is for Horses.     

This article was shared with state lawmakers as part of Maryland Horse Industry Day, Feb. 23, 2016, in Annapolis, Md.

“Believing In Horses, Too” Awarded Grant

MHIBThank you to the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) for selecting “Believing In Horses, Too,” for a 2016 grant award! The funds will be used to purchase and donate a copy of “Believing In Horses, Too,” for every Maryland county public library system and Baltimore city. “Believing In Horses, Too,” tells the story of a young girl who worries about her Navy father serving in Afghanistan. She turns to her love of horses to distract her from her problems. Her adventures with horse rescue, show competition, and equine-assisted therapies present her challenges, and she learns about overcoming adversity through friendships and personal growth.

As the author of the book, and the grant, the goal is of the grant is to educate readers about horses. The novel delivers lessons on horsemanship and familiarizes readers with horse-related organizations and informational resources in the Washington, DC, region.

The grant project helps get a horse book on the shelves that is a positive reflection of the horse industry and is accurate in its descriptions of equine rescue, therapeutic, riding and equine assisted activities. I conducted in-depth research and worked with the organizations depicted in the book to ensure the story, while fictional, introduced readers to realistic situations.

Providing the book to a larger population at no cost to them through the library system will inform more people about aspects of the horse industry they may not otherwise be exposed to. Additionally, putting the book in more readers’ hands helps recognize the many hard working volunteers across the state, and might inspire more to become involved.

A full list of recipients including detailed descriptions of each project is available on the Maryland Horse Industry Board’s website.

Thank you, again, MHIB, for helping me share this book with readers across the state!

 

 

Learning Something New Every Day

Being Secretary of the Maryland Horse Council is not always that secretarial. Take for instance, this past weekend’s Maryland Horse Council Annual Barbeque, when I had the opportunity to play polo on the Maryland Horse Council Executive Committee’s team.

Valerie Ormond (left), Grace Fulton (center), and Jaime Navarro (right). Photo by Sue O'Donnell.

Valerie Ormond (left), Grace Fulton (center), and Jaime Navarro (right). Photos and videos by Sue O’Donnell.

[Read more…]

Inspirational Young Horse Saver

I reconnected with a childhood friend recently whose daughter, Nicole, volunteers with Freedom Hill Horse Rescue. My friend mentioned Nicole was preparing her end-of-year book report and diorama on my book, “Believing In Horses.” When I saw her diorama and read her report, I found it so touching that I wanted to share them with others. In times when children are often criticized for being self-centered and lazy, I’m happy to highlight one who is not.

So, from my youngest contributor to this blog, I bring you 10-year-old Nicole Cavanaugh, an inspirational young horse saver.

Nicole Cavanaugh's diorama for Believing In Horses

In this scene from “Believing in Horses” Sadie is going to Freedom Hill Horse Rescue for the first time. Sadie is visiting Freedom Hill to sign up as a volunteer and to show them her presentation about the horses that need to be saved. She is hoping they will help her save the horses that are going to be auctioned. This is an important moment for Sadie because this is the first time she asks for help to achieve her goal. (Nicole Cavanaugh)

Summary

The Navarros are moving to Bowie, Maryland, because Sadie’s Dad is in the military and is being reassigned for a few years. One of those years he will be in Afghanistan, which makes Sadie sad. Her reward for being so good about the situation is a horse. Sadie’s grandmother sends Sadie a horse. His name is Color Me Lucky but they call him Lucky. One day Sadie learned about 10 horses that needed to be saved because they were going to auction. Many horses that go to auction are killed for meat. Sadie decided she [Read more…]

Christmas Heroes

Christmas brings back my last happy memories with my father. Growing up as “Daddy’s little girl,” it was no family secret that we shared a special bond. Dad served in the Navy in my early years, and I enjoyed hearing sea stories and exotic tales of places he visited. One time he brought home from a Navy cruise a three-foot-tall wooden table shaped like a monkey, which my brother and I named “Baboo.” My mother hated it. Mom’s detest for this furniture-creature among our early Colonial style décor made Baboo that much funnier to me, at six-years-old, and my way more mature older brother at seven. Dad’s sense of humor never stopped, and to this day when I think of him, I see twinkling blue eyes, shiny round cheeks, and a grin that made his entire face smile — just like that last Christmas.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Edward J. Ormond, U.S. Navy

Lieutenant Junior Grade Edward J. Ormond, U.S. Navy

Whether consciously or not, I followed in my father’s footsteps and joined the Navy.  Fiercely proud, my dad visited me at every duty station he could. And when I came home, Dad always wanted me to stop by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter Home, Omaha Beach Chapter Number 7, in Bowie, MD, to show me off to his friends and colleagues in the local veterans’ organizations. Every Christmas, the DAV held a holiday party for the residents of Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. Each year, one of the big highlights of the event for the Charlotte Hall residents was the belly dancer. [Read more…]

Setting and Reaching Goals

I saw this quote today which confirmed to me I should go ahead and write the blog post I’d been thinking about.

Cumberland, Md., beginning of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Cumberland, Md., beginning of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Zig Ziglar.

I recently biked the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal towpath – 184.5 miles – over a few days.  I had set a goal for myself years ago that this was something I wanted to do in life.  Last May, while my husband and I were on vacation in Shepherdstown, WV, we biked a portion of the canal on our way to Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland and decided it was time to reach for that C&O Canal goal. [Read more…]