Maryland’s equine industry is on display this month, with an official proclamation from Governor Larry Hogan declaring October as Maryland Horse Month .
As the state with the most horses per square mile, Maryland has a long-standing history with the horse industry. Since 1873, it has been the home of the Preakness Stakes, or the second jewel of the Triple Crown. The state now also hosts the Maryland 5 Star , one of only seven 5-Star events worldwide.
"As the only state to host both a Triple Crown Race and two international 5-Star events, Maryland is proud to be a leader in the horse industry," said Governor Hogan.
Maryland is also home to approximately 800 stables; 42 Horse Discovery Centers in 18 counties; the Horses & Hounds Scenic Byway ; numerous experiences with equestrian connections; and more. With help from these assets, the horse industry generates a more than $2 billion economic impact in the state, supporting 28,000 industry jobs, according to the Maryland Department of Agriculture .
"Drive along the [byway] to explore our beautiful countryside also famous for producing Thoroughbreds that have raced on major tracks across America,” said Liz Fitzsimmons, managing director of the Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism and Film.
For Winbak Farm , this type of month-long celebration of the industry helps highlight its mission and its award-winning stallions. The Cecil County farm has specialized in breeding, raising, and selling Standardbreds since 1991, and in this year alone, has recorded more than 1,300 wins from its horses. Owner Joe Thomson previously participated in an international trade mission with the Maryland Department of Commerce, which introduced him to new clients in the European market.
“The climate and rolling hills of Maryland make it an ideal place to raise horses," said Thomson. "Since 1998, horses raised at our Chesapeake City Farm and sold by Winbak Farm have made over $412 Million dollars. The folks who have purchased our Maryland-raised yearlings have done very, very well.”
It's no doubt that equestrian activities mean big business for Maryland, and that's just one area of agriculture that's thriving here. Learn more about agribusiness in Maryland.