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Six New Members Named to Maryland Horse Industry Board

Two Current Members Reappointed 

ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 6, 2023)—The Maryland Department of Agriculture has announced the appointment of six new members to the Maryland Horse Industry Board. Two current members have been reappointed to serve. Each member appointed will serve a four-year term on the board.  

“The Maryland Horse Industry Board is vital to ensuring the Maryland horse industry remains strong while preserving the hard work of the thousands who are connected to the industry,” said Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks. “I welcome and congratulate the new members and those being reappointed.” 

The Maryland Horse Industry Board was formed by the General Assembly in 1968 to address equine welfare issues and to license public riding stables. The board’s role was broadened in 1998 to include industry promotion and economic development when it became part of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The board reviews, licenses and inspects more than 800 public riding and lesson stables and promotes all aspects of the state’s equine industry. By state law, the 12 members represent various sectors of the industry. 

The new members of the board include:

Sheila Curry (Organized Shows & Events), Oxon Hill, Prince George’s County: Sheila Curry is a certified public accountant and is currently grants and partnerships manager with the Strategic Partnership Cluster in the Office of Prince George’s Executive Angela Alsobrooks. In that role, and through a lifelong love of horses, she was instrumental in bringing the 5 Star Washington International Horse Show to Maryland.

Adrian Ford III (Licensed Stables), Potomac, Montgomery County: Adrian Ford operates The Big Easy at Canterbury Farm stable which offers lessons, training and boarding as well as opportunities for clients to compete in regional hunter, jumping and event shows. Originally from Louisiana, he has trained horses and riders since 1988 and has numerous local and state high score winners to his credit.

Connie Sawyer (Trade & Support Industries) Huntingtown, Calvert County: Connie Sawyer is the President and chief executive officer of Connie Sawyer LLC, a live sports production and promotions  agency, with an expertise in international equestrian sports production, broadcasting and marketing. Currently Sawyer acts as the North American Events Manager for the Federation Equestre Internationale, the international governing body of equestrian sports. In addition, she is the director of broadcasting for the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill.

Jennifer Sulin (Trails & Recreational Riding) Catonsville, Baltimore County. Jennifer Sulin is the owner and operator of Plot Twist Farm in Glenwood, MD. She provides both English and Western riding lessons as well as programs for Girl Scout troops and the Howard County Public School System. She is a board member of the Maryland High School Rodeo Association. She enjoys trail riding with her two daughters, Charlize and Ryenne, who also participate in local, state and national rodeos.

Jenile Tapscott (Thoroughbred Sector) Pasadena, Anne Arundel County. Jenile Tapscott has spent most of her life owning, training and caring for Thoroughbreds, working for top horsemen like Charlie Hadry and Gary Capuano in addition to owning and training horses herself. Her best horse was the stakes-placed filly Candy Coated Dame. Both her parents, Radcliff and Carylyne, owned and trained racehorses. Tapscott is currently retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and volunteers as a guide for the Preakness Sunrise Tours.

Lisa Watts (Standardbred Sector) Huntingtown, Calvert County. Lisa Watts started out as a pari-mutuel teller at Maryland racetracks 36 years ago and was drawn to harness racing as her responsibilities grew at Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill. She has been the general manager and director of operations at Rosecroft, one of the state’s two harness tracks, since 2009. Watts has two grown sons and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund.

Board members reappointed include: 

Dr. Amy Burk (Equine Academic Community), Columbia, Howard County: Dr. Amy Burk is the director of undergraduate programs in the Department of Animal and Avian Sciences at the University of Maryland. She teaches Horse Management and Equine Science and is the project coordinator for UMD’s Equine Rotational Grazing Demonstration site in Ellicott City. She has received numerous outstanding educator awards and also serves on the boards of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and the Maryland Horse Council.

Erin Ochoa (Humane Societies), Rohrersville, Washington County: Erin Ochoa is the chief executive officer of Days End Farm Horse Rescue and has been with the organization since 2005. She is certified as an equine investigator and animal control officer. She has been a court witness for criminal cases in equine neglect and abuse in equine husbandry and rehabilitation for multiple counties in Maryland. Days End is recognized as a national and international leader in equine welfare. 

Other current board members, whose terms expire June 30, 2024, include Neil Agate (Maryland Horse Council), Jay Griswold (At Large) and Dr. Justin Sobota (Licensed Veterinarians).

Cassie Shirk, Assistant Secretary for Marketing, Animal Industries and Consumer Services of the Maryland Department of Agriculture, represents the department on the board.

For further information about the Maryland Horse Industry Board, please contact  Ross Peddicord, Executive Director, at or 240-344-0000.        


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