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Maryland Youth Riding Team Earns Touch of Class Award

Touch of Class Winners

L to R – First Row – Deputy Agriculture Secretary Mary Ellen Setting, Rumsey Keefe, Hallie Kling, Rachael Miller, Gracie Lukaczer, Ryan Keefe, Ellen Reilly, Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance , MHIB Chairman Jim Steele. Second Row – Edith Kling and Theresa Miller.

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture, presented its December Touch of Class Award to a regional youth riding  team that won a national championship at the 2014 U. S. Pony Club Championships in Lexington, Kentucky.

Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Mary Ellen Setting; and MHIB Chairman Jim Steele Chair made the presentation at a reception hosted by The Equiery horse magazine following the Lisbon Horse Parade in Howard County this past weekend. The annual parade drew more than 3,000 spectators and about 500 horses.

The team which rode their mounts in the Parade included Ryan Keefe, 14, from Sandy Spring (Montgomery County); Hallie Kling, 14, from Brookeville (Montgomery County); Gracie Lukaczer, 16, from Washington D.C.; Rachael Miller, 17, from Pasadena (Anne Arundel County); and Erin Reilly, 16, from Woodbine (Howard County).

The team members represented the Iron Bridge Hounds Pony Club from the Washington metro area and the St. Margaret’s Pony Club from Annapolis. They joined forces to win the Novice Event in the three-day event competition, defeating 21 other teams from across the United States.

“Young riders like these form the foundation for the future of Maryland’s horse industry,” said Secretary Hance. “We are so proud of their accomplishment. Their equestrian expertise once again shows that Maryland is a training ground for future champions.”

Coach Rumsey Keefe said, “These young riders are incredibly dedicated and really put forward a great effort.”

Two other Maryland teams, in show jumping and mounted games, also earned national championships at the event and will be honored at Horse World Expo in January at Timonium.

The Touch of Class award was initiated by MHIB in 2011 to honor Maryland horses and people who achieve national and international recognition. So far 59 people and 29 horses, ponies, mules and donkeys from 14 different Maryland counties and 24 different equestrian disciplines have been honored. The award is named in honor of Touch of Class, the Maryland-bred mare that won two show jumping gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. For more information, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at 410-841-5798 or


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If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jessica Hackett
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888