Champion Equines from Montgomery County Accept Touch of Class Awards From Lt. Governor Brown
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Lt. Governor Anthony Brown presented the Maryland Horse Industry Board’s (MHIB) Touch of Class Award to a champion show horse and rider today during the 7th annual Maryland Horse Council Barbecue at Dodon Farm Horse Training Center & Vineyard in Davidsonville. Joining him in the presentation were Agriculture Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting and MHIB Chairman Jim Steele.
Accepting the award were Ashley Foster, a 17 year-old college freshmen, and her horse Charade, a 12 year-old Warmblood gelding who trains at Rolling Acres Farm in Brookeville in Montgomery County. Lt. Governor Brown also presented a Secretary’s Citation to Kathy Schwartz-Howe, founder of Days End Farm Horse Rescue, who is retiring after 24 years as the organization’s executive director.
“I am pleased to present the Touch of Class award to Ashley and Charade, an accomplished rider and horse who represent the best of our equine industry’s past, present and future,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Maryland has a long tradition of horsemanship, and today we have more horses per square mile that any other state. I congratulate this team for being such outstanding representatives of our state on the national level.”
Foster and Charade, trained by Foster’s aunt Mary Lisa Leffler, were Champions in the Large Junior Hunter division for riders ages 16-17 at the Washington International Horse Show, the Capital Challenge Horse Show, the National Horse Show, and placed first nationally in the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s 2012 Horse of the Year Grand Champion for Junior Hunters 16-17. This division attracts thousands of competitors at horse shows throughout the United States. The pair also collected multiple championships at shows in Florida, Virginia, New York and Vermont. Foster was the recipient of many special awards including the Frances Rowe Award for Junior Exhibitor of the Year by the Virginia Horse Shows Association and the Tad Coffin Equitation Championship. She will be attending Auburn University in January as a freshman and will be a member of the school’s Equestrian Team.
Lt. Governor Brown also presented a Secretary’s Citation to Kathy Schwartz-Howe, who founded Days End Farm Horse Rescue in 1989, in recognition of her lifetime achievement in protecting horses from abuse and neglect and for organizing community outreach and education programs to teach people how to care for equines responsibly. After 24 years, she is retiring as executive director of the horse rescue. During her career, she helped grow a small non-profit shelter into a full-scale, well-respected national rescue and rehabilitation facility housing 50 to 70 horses with more than 1,200 volunteer helpers.
The MHIB, a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture, presents the Touch of Class Award monthly to recognize Maryland horses and people who achieve national and international success. The September award ceremony kicks off the third year of Touch of Class presentations. In its first two years, MHIB has honored 48 people and 21 horses representing 20 different equine disciplines from 12 different Maryland counties. All are national and international champions.
“The Touch of Class awards program has showcased the great diversity and high quality of Maryland’s horse industry in all of its aspects,” said MHIB chair Jim Steele. “It has highlighted the robust activity taking place in our equine community.”
For more information about the MHIB or Touch of Class Awards, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at 301-841-5798 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See a summary of the 2010 Equine Census.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos will be available after the presentation. Contact Vanessa Orlando at email@example.com or 410-841-5889 (office) or 443-370-9758 (cell)