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Maryland Horse Foundation launches $1 million capital campaign to build Horse Library and Education Center in Baltimore County

The Maryland Horse Foundation is trying to raise $1 million for a new Maryland Horse Library and Education Center, to be located in a building at 321 Main St. in Reisterstown. Here is a conceptual image of the library and education center. (Courtesy Photo / Maryland Horse Breeders Association)
The Maryland Horse Foundation is trying to raise $1 million for a new Maryland Horse Library and Education Center, to be located in a building at 321 Main St. in Reisterstown. Here is a conceptual image of the library and education center. (Courtesy Photo / Maryland Horse Breeders Association) (Jordyn Brand (MHBA))

The horse industry’s importance to Maryland, featuring 28,000 jobs and 16,000 horse farms and stables, will be recognized if an effort to raise $1 million to build a library and educational center in Reisterstown proves successful.

The Maryland Horse Foundation recently announced the establishment of the Maryland Horse Library and Education Center capital campaign to honor the rich history of horses in the state.

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Since 2012, Maryland horse officials have been looking for a facility following studies calling for a library and education center. After weighing various options, including property at Goucher College, they settled on a building at 321 Main St. in Reisterstown, which the Maryland Horse Breeders Association moved into last June.

Plans call for the library and education center to include a reference section, memorabilia area, meeting space and rotating exhibits, according to a news release. The library and education center will showcase all horse sports in Maryland, from flat racing to steeplechasing and polo.

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“We’re including all aspects of the industry — horse sports, horse activities — in what we do here and offering that to people who want to come learn,” Cricket Goodall, executive director of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, said in the release.

Maryland has more horses per square mile than any other state, including Kentucky.

The capital campaign seeks to raise $1 million that will be used to update 3,500 square feet of space in the historic building, purchase furnishings, integrate current audio/visual technologies and support ongoing operational costs, according to the news release.

“We ended up finding a historic building in Reisterstown that had a lot of charm and character,” Goodall said.

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While the goal is to raise $1 million in a year’s time, work on the center will begin if a significant portion of that amount can be generated, Goodall said. In the meantime, the office space in the building is newly renovated.

The breeders group also has been working closely with the Reisterstown Improvement Association to brainstorm on ideas and possible grants.

Ross Peddicord, executive director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, called the establishment of the horse center “really exciting.” “The history of horses in this state goes over 350 years and the Maryland Horse Library and Education Center will chronicle all of [it],” he said, adding, “It’s going to be a nice attraction in Reisterstown.”

Since its founding in 1929, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association has focused on education and raising awareness about the horse industry.

Josh Pons, co-chair of the capital campaign and president of the Maryland Horse Foundation, noted the importance of the center’s instructional component.

“An exciting part is the educational aspect … teaching young people about the history in Maryland and how valuable horse farms are to the community,” he said.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Josh Pons’ name and title. He is president of the Maryland Horse Foundation. The article has been updated to reflect accurate information.

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