MDA Presents Touch of Class Awards to Maryland Equestrians During Steeplechase Kick-Off Event
ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 17, 2013) – The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture, presented its Touch of Class Award to several steeplechase champions and welsh pony championship breeders today at the Foxhall Farm Cup Team Chase in Baltimore County which is the first event in the 2013 Maryland Steeplechase Association’s Governor’s Cup Series. The presentations were made at a reception following the race at the Green Spring Valley Hounds course in Glyndon.
Presenting the awards were Maryland Horse Industry Board Chairman Jim Steele and Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Assistant Chief of Staff Ashley Valis.
The MHIB established the Touch of Class Award in 2011 to honor Maryland horses, individuals, teams, organizations or events that demonstrate the highest standards of excellence in the Maryland Horse Industry. The award is given out monthly and is named after a Maryland-bred mare that won two Olympic show jumping gold medals and currently holds the Olympic record for number of clean jumping rounds in an Olympic competition.
“These awards, which we present monthly, keep underlining the high quality of Maryland’s equestrian community,” said MHIB Chairman Steele. “Month after month our state’s equine community keeps turning out champion after champion, both nationally and internationally. Maryland is the cradle of American steeplechasing and also a prime area for the breeding of exceptional Welsh ponies.”
February Touch of Class Award recipients are breeders of national champion Welsh ponies. They were:
• Sally Steinmetz of Rosehaven Farm Ponies in Havre de Grace (Harford County).Ms. Steinmetz is an owner and breeder of three national champion Welsh ponies. She owns and breeds Rosehaven Talisman, who was the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)Leading Welsh Sire in 2011 and 2012. She also owns and exhibits two of his national champion offspring—(1) Rosehaven Magic Rain, Welsh pony hunter champion, and (2) Rosehaven Minuet, Welsh pony pleasure champion. All of these awards were earned in 2012 in the Welsh Pony divisions of the U.S. Equestrian Federation national standings.
• Dr. Margaret Hoffecker and her husband John Almond of Monkton, who breed national champion ponies at their farm, Loafers Lodge Ponies, in Baltimore County. The farm bred eight ponies that competed in the national U.S. Pony Finals last summer at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. One of their homebreds, Loafers Lodge Classic Jazz (whose show name is “Frosted”), was named Medium Green Pony Champion and was ridden by Maddie Schaefer from Westminster.
March Touch of Class Award recipients include owners, trainers, jockeys and horses from Maryland who dominated the national steeplechase scene in 2012. They were:
• Irvin Naylor of Stillwater Farm in Glyndon (Baltimore County), the nation’s leading steeplechase owner for the third consecutive year. His stable, which received a Touch of Class Award in 2011, sent out 13 winners in 2012, earning $449,075.
• Jack Fisher of Monkton (Harford County), the nation’s leading trainer for the sixth time. Fisher’s horses, which he trains for a variety of owners, made 90 starts, winning 16 races and collectively earning $453,645.
• Ross Geraghty of Monkton (Harford County) and Mark Beecher of Glyndon (Baltimore County), the nation’s leading jockey and apprentice jockey, respectively. Geraghty and Beecher, both Irish-born, now make their homes in Maryland. Geraghty led the nation’s jump jockeys by winning 17 races with earnings of $444,950. Beecher was the top apprentice, winning seven races and $123,525.
• Incomplete, champion U.S. timber horse. Incomplete is owned by Bob Kinsley, Jt.-Master of Foxhounds of the Elkridge-Harford Hounds in Harford County. Incomplete is trained by Ann Stewart in Baltimore County. Incomplete, a 12 year-old Maryland-bred gelding, was undefeated in three 2012 timber races, winning in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. His wins included the My Lady’s Manor Steeplechase, the Virginia Gold Cup and earnings of $84,000.
• Blythe Miller Davies of Monkton (Baltimore County), trainer of Pierrot Lunaire, the year’s overall national champion steeplechaser. Ms. Davies began training Pierrot Lunaire in late spring 2012. Under her handling, the horse won back-to-back Grade I steeplechases — The Lonesome Glory Stakes at Belmont Park (NY) and the Grand National in Far Hills (NJ). He was the sport’s leading money-winning horse with $253,000 in yearly earnings.
Previous winners of the MHIB Touch of Class Award this year include Suzanne Stettinius (Modern Penthalon Olympian from Baltimore County); Mackenzie Taylor and her pony Inkspot (World Mounted Games Champions from Montgomery County); Jacob Pope (winner ASPCA Maclay Medal winner, National Horse Show, from Howard County); Officer Megan Lau (Equitation Champion in North American Mounted Police Competition from Montgomery County) and Kristen Wilson and The Midnight Ride (National Walking Horse Champion from Carroll County). For a complete list of winners.
For more information, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at 410-841-5798 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: For photos and I.Ds of the winners