Maryland Horse History Trails


Hoofbeats Through History

The first Maryland Historic Horse Trail, which includes 11 sites steeped in equine as well as Maryland history, was unveiled by the Maryland Horse Industry Board(MHIB) on July 13, 2014 at a special gathering during the evening’s race card at the Ocean Downs harness track in Berlin. MHIB is a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

The second Maryland Historic Horse Trail is the Southern Maryland Historic Horse Trail. The Southern Maryland Historic Horse Trail is also a joint project of Southern Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC) and the MHIB. The Southern Maryland Trail is one of a network of heritage trails across the state that highlights the contribution of horses to Maryland’s history and culture. Photos, anecdotes and other site information collected for this project will become part of a statewide catalog documenting the role of horses in Maryland’s history.

These  Websites Provide Residents with Self-Guided Tours of Maryland History.                                                      

                                                                                                                                               © Jen Britton

 Horses at the Beach Brochure

The self-guided “Horses At The Beach” driving tour, which takes place in Worcester and the southern part of Wicomico counties, can be accessed through the new website:

An accompanying brochure is available at tourism centers and can be downloaded from there website Eventually a phone app and historic markers will also help guide visitors along the trail.

The trail takes visitors from the Assateague National Seashore Park, home of Maryland’s famed “Wild Horses,” the Assateague Ponies, to Glen Riddle Farm, now a popular eatery that was once the training grounds of Thoroughbred horse racing legends Man O’War and War Admiral. The horses’ iconic status is honored in the stunning restoration of the farm’s training barn, in equine oil portraiture and in a History Hall of Fame. Other stops include Ocean Downs, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary, the Calvin B. Taylor Museum and Holly Ridge Equestrian Center, the area’s first certified Equine Experience Center where the public can enjoy and learn about horses firsthand.

The project is the brainchild of Angela Reynolds, prominent in state tourism circles and a member of the MHIB Horse History Committee. She presented the idea a year ago to committee Co-Chairs Karin DeFrancis and Jay Griswold. They encouraged her and fellow committee members Ellen Moyer and Margaret Worrall to proceed full speed ahead.

“Our hope is that this is the role model for several Historic Horse Trails that will be developed statewide,” Ms. DeFrancis said. The second Historic Trail is now in Southern Maryland where horses are rooted in the state’s colonial past. The Southern Maryland Trail features stories and sites in Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties* that illustrate the role of horses in the region’s past. The centerpiece of the project is a mapped, self-guided trail of documented, equine-related destinations throughout the region that will offer historical insight and educational opportunities. 

The Southern Maryland Horse History Trail supports SMADC’s ongoing mission to promote the horse industry in Southern Maryland, as well as all farms throughout the region.

Reynolds enlisted the help of the community and local tourism leaders as well as owners and curators of the various sites. Moyer, a former Mayor of Annapolis, and Worrall, one of the state’s most noted equine historians, researched the sites and wrote the background stories. All searched for vintage photographs to populate the website and brochure.

“This has been a labor of love for Ellen, Margaret and myself,” said Reynolds, who is the daughter of a horseman. One of the sites is the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, a property owned by local horseman John Fager and managed by Reynolds. The hotel once housed the town’s livery stable and offered guests a horse-drawn bus to take them to and from Ocean City.

Griswold added, “We are so proud of what Angela, Ellen and Margaret have achieved. With their help, we plan to maintain the integrity and appeal of this trail as we enlist more partners and expand this effort to develop more Historic Horse Trails all over Maryland.”

For more information, contact or MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at or 410-841-5798.

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