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Maryland Youth Riding Teams Receive Touch of Class Awards

From left: Madison Iager (Maryland High School Rodeo Queen), Dr. Mike Odian (MHIB), Kelsey Abrecht (GSHPC), Chris Donovan (coach), Daisy Fenwick (GSHPC) and Jim Steele (MHIB)

From left: Madison Iager (Maryland High School Rodeo Queen), Dr. Mike Odian (MHIB), Kelsey Abrecht (GSHPC), Chris Donovan (coach), Daisy Fenwick (GSHPC) and Jim Steele (MHIB). Photo by Katherine O. Rizzo/The Equiery

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Two youth regional riding teams that won national championships at the 2014 U.S. Pony Club Championships in Lexington, KY received the January Touch of Class Award from the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) last week at the Horse World Expo in Timonium. The two teams represent two different equestrian disciplines—Mounted Games and Show Jumping. The MHIB is a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

MHIB Chairman Jim Steele, MHIB member Dr. Mike Odian, MHIB Advisory Board member Keith Wills, and current Maryland High School Rodeo Queen Madison Iager (a former Touch of Class Award winner) made the presentation at a reception hosted by The Equiery horse magazine.

The Mounted Games Team, called the “Zig Zaggers,” is composed of Ashley Button, 11, from Brinklow (Montgomery County); Katelynn Kling, 11, Brinklow (Montgomery County); Ethan Riccio, 13, Woodbine (Carroll County); Grace Strosnider, 12, Brinklow (Montgomery County); and Laura VanHasselt, 15, Columbia (Howard County). The “Zig Zaggers” defeated 13 other teams from across the nation in the Junior Division and will compete April 26 for another national championship at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in Lexington.

The Show Jumping Team —  comprised of Kelsey Abrecht, 15, Towson (Baltimore County); Daisy Fenwick, 15, Cockeysville (Baltimore County); and Brianna Price, 19, (Harford County) — “scrambled” with two other riders from California to defeat seven other teams in the Modified Show Jumping Division.

From left: Kieth Wills (MHIB), Madison Iager (Maryland High School Rodeo Queen), Ashley Button (IBHPC), Grace Strosmider (IBHPC), Laura VanHasselt (Burntwoods), Ethan Riccio (Burntwoods) and Jim Steele (MHIB)

From left: Kieth Wills (MHIB), Madison Iager (Maryland High School Rodeo Queen), Ashley Button (IBHPC), Grace Strosmider (IBHPC), Laura VanHasselt (Burntwoods), Ethan Riccio (Burntwoods) and Jim Steele (MHIB). Photo by Katherine O. Rizzo/The Equiery

“Last month we honored another group of five young riders who won the 3-Day Event competition, so this means a total of 13 young Maryland riders were on winning national Pony Club teams,” Steele said. “This bodes so well for the future of the Maryland horse industry. We couldn’t be happier that we have this reservoir of young equestrian talent. It also shows that we have excellent riding instructors and facilities in our state.”

The Touch of Class Award was initiated by MHIB in 2011 to honor Maryland horses and people who achieve national and international recognition.  To date, 67 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 ross.peddicord@maryland.gov.


Contact Information

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

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