Maryland Horse Chase kicks off in Carroll County

Samantha Gilley, 10, pets the miniature horse at Full Moon Farm during the kick off of the Maryland Horse Chase on Monday, near Gamber.
Samantha Gilley, 10, pets the miniature horse at Full Moon Farm during the kick off of the Maryland Horse Chase on Monday, near Gamber. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO)

Karen Fulton, co-owner of Full Moon Farm near Gamber, spent the Monday morning introducing visitors to her miniature pony, Phillip.

Taking a picture with Phillip is one of the "challenges" of The Maryland Horse Chase, a three-week statewide scavenger hunt designed to introduce people to the joys of horses and to showcase the state's new network of Horse Discovery Centers.


"It's a fun way to get people interested in horses," said Fulton. "It's a little bit like being a restaurant… being a Horse Discovery Center is like getting four-stars. There are countless restaurants, but only a select number that are rated highly."

Fulton welcomed more than 100 people to her farm at the kick-off of the Maryland Horse Chase on Monday, April 6. The chase is sponsored by the Maryland Horse Industry Board, a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The Horse Chase scavenger hunt runs through April 26.

"Maryland has more horses per acre than any state in the union," said Jim Steele, chairman of the Horse Industry Board. "We want everyone to have a positive, fun experience and learn what diverse opportunities the centers have to offer."

Fulton said Full Moon Farm offers English-style lessons, a pony club, birthday parties and horse boarding.

"If participants are interested in something we don't have, this is a great way to partner with and promote other farms," Fulton said.

Those who participate in the Horse Chase will comb the state, earning points by completing 75 simple horse-related photo, action and text challenges at 35 physical locations as well as online.

Fulton said Full Moon Farm's challenges are fairly easy. Participants will take pictures with the pony club sign and with the farm's miniature horses, Phillip and Muffin.

"Miniatures are a great way to introduce people to horses," Fulton said. "They are way less intimidating for first time visitors."

Roxann Baldwin, owner of Sweet Rock Stables, Inc. in Manchester, said the chase is a great way to into the horse industry.

"We're number 20 on the map," Baldwin said. "We'll have a scavenger scramble table where visitors will match the horse-related item to a riddle and a halter challenge to teach people more about how to handle horses."

There will also be opportunities to earn points by answering bonus challenges. Participants who earn the most points will be able to redeem them for nearly 130 horse-themed prizes, like a night at Rolling Hills Ranch's bed and breakfast in Port Deposit.

All entrants will receive free admission tickets to the 2015 Maryland Million, a day of races for Maryland-sired runners, on Oct. 17; horse treats provided by Flax Jax, the official treat sponsor of the Maryland Horse Chase, and other items.

Jennifer, Dave and Katrina Kottra, of Taylorsville, started their Maryland Horse Chase experience Monday at Full Moon Farm. The family plans to visit other sites throughout the challenge.

"It's a great chance to see a lot of Maryland," Jennifer Kottra said. "It will be a good experience to see the different kinds of riding. We can get ideas that we can use in our barn."


All Horse Chase activities are open to all Maryland residents, especially those who have limited or no experience with horses but would like to learn more.



If you go

What: Maryland Horse Chase

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through April 26

Where: Maryland Horse Discovery Centers

More information: Register at http://www.marylandhorsechase.com. For more information, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at ross.peddicord@maryland.gov or 410-841-5798.

Horse Discovery Centers in Carroll County

Darenth Farm

5363 Pommel Drive

Mt. Airy, MD 21771

Full Moon Farm

4326 Louisville Rd.

Finksburg, MD 21048

Nagrom Farm

4145 Littlestown Pike

Westminster, MD 21158

Persimmon Tree Farm

1030 Bloom Rd.

Westminster, MD 21157

River Valley Ranch

443 Grove Run Rd.

Manchester, MD 21102

Sweet Rock Stables

5112 Roller Rd.

Manchester, MD 21102

Talbot Run Equestrian Center

4727 Buffalo Road

Mt. Airy, MD 21771