Preliminary data have been released on the University of Maryland's seven-county horse survey taken in Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
The survey was to assess the composition, characteristics and economic impact of Maryland's equine industry.
Almost 17,000 questionnaires were sent to households and private stables that were on more than 300 lists obtained from equine organizations. The response rates were 17.2 percent from households and 42.2 percent from stables.
The survey found that the number of individuals involved with horses in this seven-county region totaled 80,976. The horse population of 76,024 did not include horses stabled at Laurel and Pimlico race courses.
The total nonracing-related, direct economic activity totaled $617.9 million for the region. An estimated 20,710 jobs in this area are dependent on the horse industry.
Survey respondents in all counties overwhelmingly listed trail riding as their preferred equine activity. The second most popular activity in Carroll and Howard counties was all types of showing.
A matter that met with overwhelming agreement is that loss of open space is the most critical issue facing the Maryland equine industry. Increasing costs and liability insurance were the second most cited problems in Carroll and Howard counties, respectively.
One result that surprised survey author Dr. Malcolm Commer of the University of Maryland is that only 6.6 percent of respondents said that they might decrease their projected horse involvement during the next five years.
Approximately 50 percent thought their horse involvement would remain the same and 44 percent thought their involvement would increase.
This did not surprise me at all -- in fact, I'm surprised that as many as 6.6 percent thought their horse involvement might decrease. I can't think of anyone I have ever known who has actually gotten away from being involved with horses.
As I always say about my two horses: I can't afford one horse, so I may as well not afford two.
Commer said that the raw data and more thorough analyses of the survey results will be published in 1994.
CCEC plans activities
The Carroll County Equestrian Council monthly meeting will be Tuesday at the East Middle School on Longwell Avenue in Westminster.
The next CCEC educational seminar will be Nov. 17 and feature one of the hottest topics in the equine world: insurance.
Pat Reynolds of the Reynolds Insurance Agency will discuss equine-related insurance topics and answer questions. These free seminars are open to the general public. Free refreshments are served.
Calendar of events
Tuesday -- Carroll County Equestrian Council general meeting. East Middle School, Longwell Avenue, Westminster. 7:30 p.m. (410) 833-4593.
Saturday -- Schooling Dressage Show, Good News Farm, Boyds. (301) 353-1195.
Saturday and next Sunday -- Anne Kursinski clinic, Shadowbrook Farm, Baltimore. (410) 796-4947.
Nov. 17 -- CCEC educational seminar on equine insurance. Agriculture Center, Westminster. (410) 833-4593.
Nov. 19 -- Deadline to register for the Dec. 4 pleasure horse seminar sponsored by the Cooperative Extension Service and the University of Maryland. (410) 848-4611.
Nov. 20 -- Trail Work Day. Piney Run Equestrian Trails. Martz Road off Liberty Road, Eldersburg. 9 a.m. (410) 875-2630.