MHIB Board Members

MHIB Board Members

In January of 1998 the Maryland Horse Council created p​roposed legislation for the formation of a Maryland Horse Industry Board to work with the Department of Agriculture, to function as a commodity board for the development of the industry. In April of 1998, the proposed legislation was passed into law. The purpose of the Maryland Horse Industry Board is to help develop and promote the state’s horse industry.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture and other interested parties can make recommendations to the Governor’s office, but ultimately the appointments are at the Governor’s discretion.

For Organized Shows and Competitions:

Sheila Curry from Oxon Hill, Prince George's County. 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.

For the Academic Equine Community
Dr. Amy Burk

Dr. Amy Burk serves as the coordinator for the undergraduate Equine Studies  at the University of Maryland/Animal & Avian Sciences Department. She completed her graduate work in Animal and Poultry Sciences as a Pratt Fellow in Animal Nutrition at Virginia Tech, earning an MS in 1998 and a PhD in 2001. At UMD, she teaches Horse Management and Equine Science. As an Extension Horse Specialist, Amy provides statewide educational leadership and training in the areas of equine nutrition and pasture management. She is the project coordinator for the Equine Rotational Grazing Demonstration Site in Ellicott City. She has received several awards including the Outstanding Educator Award from the Equine Science Society and the Poffenberger Excellence in Teaching and Advising Award from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland. She grew up riding in the Linthicum 4-H Hi-Riders and St. Margaret’s Pony Club, both based in Anne Arundel County. She is married to Rob Burk, executive director of the United States Eventing Association; they have two daughters.

For the Thoroughbred Industry:


Jenile Tapscott is from Pasadena, Anne Arundel County. Tapscott has spent most of her life owning, training and caring for Thoroughbreds, working for top horsemen like Charlie Hadry and Gary Capuano and then 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 US Dept. of Agriculture and volunteers as a guide for thePreakness Sunrise Tours..

For Licensed Board & Riding Stables:

Adrian Ford is from Potomac, Montgomery County. Ford operates The Big Easy @ 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


For Animal Control and Humane Societies:
Erin Ochoa

Erin is the CEO of Days End Farm Horse Rescue and has been with the organization since 2005. As a Maryland native, she grew up active in the horse industry and was involved with Pony Club and Potomac Valley Dressage Association. She is a Certified Public Manager through The University of Baltimore. Additionally, she is certified as an equine investigator and animal control officer. Erin has been a court witness, for criminal cases in equine neglect and abuse, in Equine Husbandry and Rehabilitation for multiple counties in Maryland.  Erin serves as a member of the Maryland Professional Animal Workers Association, Board Member representing Associations of The Maryland Horse Council and Advisory Council member of The Homes for Horses Coalition.


For Equine Veterinarians:
Dr. Justin Sobota, DVM

Dr. Sobota was raised on a small fruit farm in Biglerville, Pennsylvania where he developed his love of the outdoors and the agricultural community. He attended Penn State University for undergraduate studies (Animal Bioscience) and developed a passion for horses while working at a local hunter farm. He then traveled to Colorado State University to study additional horse course work. 

He has operated South Mountain Equine for 11 years and services all different types of horses and horse disciplines in four states in close proximity to Middletown--Md., Va., W.Va. and Pa.  His specialties include lameness, chiropractics, and acupuncture. Dr. Sobota is married to a small animal veterinarian and they have two young boys named Connor and Samuel, two goldfish from the fair, a half dozen chickens, and two shaggy dogs.​

For Trails and Recreational Riding:

Jennifer Sulin is from Catonsville, Baltimore County. 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.

For the Maryland Standardbred Industry:

Lisa Watts is from Huntingtown, Calvert County. 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/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.

For The Equine Support Industries:

Connie from Huntingtown, Calvert County. Sawyer is the President and CEO 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  (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sports. In addition, she is the Director of Broadcasting for the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill.

For the Maryland Horse Council:
Neil Agate   

Neil Agate is the founder of Four Gates, LLC, a business and technology services firm that works with early-stage companies in Healthcare IT. He is a board member of the British-American Business Association and co-chair of the association’s communications committee.   While Neil enjoys all horse activities, he is an avid polo player and has been active with several polo clubs in Montgomery County over the years.  In addition to playing the game, he has announced many charity polo matches up and down the East Coast.  Originally from England, Neil has lived with his wife Kathy and two daughters in Darnestown for the last 20 years.   

For the General Public:
Jay Griswold

Jay Griswold is a lifelong horseman and fox hunter with a distinguished career in the business world and in community service. Like his late father (Ben Griswold), Jay became an accomplished amateur steeplechase jockey, riding in a record 16 runnings of the Maryland Hunt Cup, finishing second four times, and losing by just a nose at age 43 in 1982. He won the 1996 Hunt Cup as an owner with Hello Hal.

A graduate of Princeton, Jay is a former partner in Alex. Brown & Sons, a former senior advisor of its affiliate, Brown Investment Advisory, and former chair of Alex Brown Realty Advisors. He is currently a partner in Black Oak Associates, a Mid-Atlantic real estate investment firm. Jay is Chair Emeritus of the Maryland Historical Society and Chair Emeritus of the Board of Visitors and Governors of Washington College in Chestertown. He and his wife Toni operate Wit’s End Farm in the Green Spring Valley where he continues to own and train steeplechase horses and hunt regularly.

For the Maryland Dept of Agriculture:
Steve Connelly

As the Maryland Assistant Secretary of Marketing, Animal Industries and Consumer Services, Steve Connelly oversees a wide range of programs, including Marketing and Agribusiness Development, Food Quality Assurance, Animal Health, Weights and Measures, Horse Industry Board, State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, and Maryland Agricultural Fair Board. His career includes leadership roles with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, Mid-Atlantic Soybean Association, Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation and Maryland Farm Bureau. He earned a degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of Maryland. Connelly resides in Rising Sun with his wife Valerie, who serves as the executive director of the Maryland Farm Bureau.

MHIB Advisory Board Members 


Southern Maryland
Susan McQuilkin oversees SMADC’s “So. Maryland, So Good” marketing program, which educates consumers on why, how and where to buy local farm products and services. SMADC’s programs provide extensive resources to promote, market and support all Southern Maryland agricultural enterprises including the region’s equine industry. Susan assists with the development of SMADC’s equine outreach including equine conferences, the Southern Maryland Equine Guide and the recently launched Southern Maryland Historic Horse Trail. She also works as SMADC ombudsman to help streamline regulatory and other issues impeding profitability of farm businesses. Susan is involved with horses, and often announces at local horse shows.


Central Maryland

Hope Birsh spearheads MHIB's public outreach project HorseLand at the Maryland State Fair. Although she originally came to Maryland to teach riding at McDonogh School, in 1989 she opened Maryland Saddlery in Baltimore County, which now has stores in Crofton and Hockessin, DE. Hope is a past president of the American Equestrian Trade Association and is an MHIB “Touch of Class Award” winner. She owns a farm in the Green Spring Valley Hunt territory, where she lives with her two children, her horses and ponies.

Western Maryland

Laura J. Lane-Unsworth is a lifelong equestrian and a graduate of Longwood University, Laura J. Lane-Unsworth is the founder the Brave HEART (Heroes Equine Adventure & Riding Therapy) Program.  Laura and her husband, a Major in the Maryland Army National Guard, run the nonprofit enterprise from their Larkspur Lane Farm near Hagerstown, Maryland. Laura helped organize the Military Riding Showcase and Horses Healing Maryland’s Military (HHMM) at the Maryland State Fair, a coalition of Maryland stables offering horsemanship and therapeutic programs to veterans and their families.

Eastern Shore

Bruce Quade is credited with brokering the "Ten-Year Deal" that brought together horsemen, tracks and breeders to restore the industry to its current renaissance,  during his 6 year tenure on the MD Racing Commission,. He also developed a program for the revival of the horse breeding program and instituted medication reform programs for the state. For those efforts, the Maryland Racing Media Association presented him with the 2015 Newsmaker Award and in 2016 the Maryland Horse Breeders' Association honored him with the Federico Tesio Award for making significant contributions to the industry. Quade is working with the Horse Board on the Maryland Horse Park System project, specifically helping to coordinate activities with improvements to the equestrian facilities at Fair Hill.

Alejandra “Alex” Abella 

Alex is a lifelong equestrian with experience in several disciplines, as well as in national and international consulting on equestrian facility and land planning;  management; programming;  marketing; and brand building. She is an ARIA-certified riding instructor and stable manager and was awarded the American Riding Instructors Association Instructor of the Year Award in 2004.  Alex has also authored and illustrated a series of children's books on dog behavior and many articles on horses and their management. She speaks five languages fluently.​


Maryland Sports Marketing

Terrance (Terry) Hasseltine, was hired as Executive Director of Maryland Sports in 2008, in early 2014,  he was asked to take on more responsibilities with the Maryland Stadium Authority as Vice President of Marketing and Communication. Prior to coming to Maryland, he was deputy director of the Kentucky Sports Authority (KSA), promoting the state as a sports travel destination, and was instrumental in bringing the 2008 Ryder Cup and the 2010 AllTech FEI World Equestrian Games to Kentucky. During his tenure as Chairman of the National Association of Sports Commissions, the Association saw significant growth in membership, revenues and attendance at their annual Symposium. He served on the NASC Board of Directors for a little over 10 years, five of those on the Executive Committee. He also serves on the Maryland Tourism Coalition Board of Directors, U.S. Sports Congress Advisory Committee and in an advisory role with the Maryland Horse Industry Board.

Since arriving in Maryland, Terry has been instrumental in leading various event-support opportunities for the state related to the FIFA World Cup, ICF Canoe Slalom World championships, NCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championships, World Football Challenge (Chelsea v. AC Milan), Dew Tour, CONCACAF Gold Cup, Iron Man Maryland and many other events. His efforts led to a launch of a state-of-the art web site with a searchable sports facility directory ( Currently Maryland Sports is expanding its web efforts, trade show presence, marketing and attention to TEAM Maryland (

Crystal Kimball Pickett is thef ormer publisher and owner publisher and owner of The Equiery, has been a member of the Maryland Horse Council Executive Committee & Board of Directors since 1991, serving 15 years as secretary, and has actively represented MHC on legislative and regulatory issues for 25 years, including the legislation that created and funded MHIB.  A member of the Maryland Steeplechase Association since 1996, Crystal retired as secretary after 20 years, and now serving as the treasurer. She is currently serving as honorary secretary and Master of Foxhounds for the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds. Crystal has served on the MDA Soil Conservation and Pasture Management Committee, the Howard County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, the Maryland FFA Foundation, Inc. Board of Trustees. As a member of LEAD [Leadership, Education, Agriculture, Development] Maryland Class II, Crystal was the first horse person in any LEAD program in the nation. Crystal is the 2010 recipient of the American Horse Council's Van Ness Award, given in recognition to an individual dedicated to the improvement of the horse industry at the state level.



Keith Wills is a former board member of the Maryland Horse Industry Board. A member of the Maryland Horse Council for over 20 years, Keith has actively served as treasurer and a Director-at-Large representing business. An account representative and loan officer for Mid Atlantic Farm Credit, Keith helped to introduce Farm Credit to the horse industry in the mid-90s, after horses become officially recognized as part of Maryland's ag community. Keith continues to serve on numerous local, state, regional and national boards and chairs the Equine Committee for the National Farm Bureau.

MHIB Staff

Executive Director:
Ross Peddicord

Ross Peddicord, became Executive Director of MHIB in 2011. He has spent most of his life involved with horses, either professionally or for fun, showing, foxhunting, and breeding Thoroughbreds, and for a brief period he rode amateur steeplechase races. He graduated from McDonogh School and Washington College. He has had a varied career in journalism, marketing, sales, public relations and fundraising at a number of Maryland institutions such as the Maryland Jockey Club tracks, the Baltimore Sun, Mount St. Mary’s University and Maryland Life Magazine, where he was co-publisher from 2004-2010. He serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Maryland Tourism Coalition, Executive Directors Committee of the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, and on the board of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.

Stable Inspectors:

Peggy Morgan, has been an Animal Health Inspector with MDA for the past 30 years, and has owned horses for approximately 35 years and has a small family farm with her husband Chris and two children in Upper Marlboro. Many people may have met Peggy at the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Open House, where she has brought animals, including a miniature horse and a draft horse, for the past 20 years. She also inspects animal health papers at regional agricultural fairs and shows..

Ellen James is a lifelong horsewoman in both English and Western disciplines and is a graduate of Montana State University. She also worked for nine years as a veterinary technician. She inspects horse stables for MHIB and veterinary hospitals and clinics for the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. She lives in northern Harford County.

Field Marketing Specialist, Social Media, and Photography
Anne Litz

Anne was born into the Maryland horse world. A graduate of Garrison Forest School and the University of Mary Washington with a Political Science degree.  Anne grew up riding, showing, and hunting in Baltimore County with her mother and working alongside her father with Litz Bloodstock.  After college, she worked for Gannet papers the Worcester County Times, and the Beachcomber as a photojournalist on the Eastern Shore before returning to Baltimore.  Returning to Maryland she worked at the Maryland Saddlery and as a freelance photographer.  In 2013 Anne began working with the Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine as a photographer, membership coordinator and circulation manage as well as volunteering with the MHIB. She currently hunts with Green Spring Valley Hounds. 

Secretary of Agriculture, Ex Officio: Joseph Bartenfelder

Appointed by Governor Larry Hogan to serve as Secretary of Agriculture, Joseph Bartenfelder grew up on a farm and has been a full-time farmer and small businessman. His family lives on the home farm in Caroline County and also owns and operates two other farms in Dorchester County. The Bartenfelder family sells produce wholesale and at the Baltimore City Farmers’ Market, raises poultry, and grows wheat, beans, and corn.

Stable Licensing 
Tonya Kendrick 

Tonya has worked at the Maryland Department of Agriculture for 18 years. Tonya handles the stable licensing for the MHIB; however, she spends most of her time working for the State Vet Board.

China/International Representative
Bob Zhang

Bob has more than seventeen years of experience managing website and digital marketing initiatives for organizations and founded USABAL Solutions in 2011.  He is the newly elected Executive Director of the Sister State of Maryland Inc., an umbrella organization that oversees the State’s 20 sister state relationships. He was the chairman of the Maryland-Anhui Province Sister State Committee and vice-chairman of the Baltimore-Xiamen Sister Cities Committee. Active in the community, Bob was appointed Commissioner of the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs by Governor Larry Hogan, where he serves as the interim chair of the Economic Development Subcommittee.  Bob is a graduate of Towson University where he earned a Master’s in Applied Information Technology. He earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana. He lives in Columbia, Maryland with his family and have two children.


Established ten years ago, the MHIB Health Advisory Committee advises the State Vet and the Secretary of Agriculture; the committee serves as a citizens advisory to help the MDA be more responsive to the needs of the equestrian community on health issues that could have a devastating impact to the horse industry. Industry representatives serve at the invitation of MDA/MIHB.

Racetrack Veterinarians: Kathleen Anderson

Dr. Kathleen Anderson is the President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and operates the Equine Veterinary Care facility at the Fair Hill Training Center in Fair Hill, MD.

Maryland Association of Equine Practitioners: Elizabeth Callahan

A native of the Eastern Shore, Dr. Elizabeth (Didi) Callahan received her DVM from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985, joining Veterinary Medical Center in Easton. She is board certified in the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, Equine Specialty and the American College of Theriogenologists. Her practice interests include reproduction in all species, equine nutrition, and acupuncture. She also breeds warmbloods and competes her homebreds at the FEI level in eventing.

VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center: Michael Erskine

A founding member of this committee, Dr. Michael Erskine is the director of Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center. A graduate of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Mike became the first practicing equine veterinarian in Maryland to be board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). He practices with Damascus Equine Associates in Mount Airy, MD, a group of private ambulatory equine practitioners who serve a wide variety of clients and their horses in Maryland and surrounding areas. Dr. Erskine chairs the Maryland Veterinary Foundation. A member of the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association and the Maryland Horse Council and diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, he is also a past president of all three organizations. Dr. Erskine has special interest in sport and pleasure horses.

MD Racing Commission: J. Michael Hopkins

J. Michael Hopkins has been Executive Director of the Maryland Racing Commission since 2003 and has worked for the Commission in various capacities since 1984. He is responsible for all horse racing programs that are regulated by the Maryland Racing Commission at our state’s Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Steeplechase tracks, including the Commission’s medication rules and regulations. Mike lives at his family’s Elberton Hill Farm in Darlington.

Maryland Veterinary Medical Association: Peter Radue

A 1978 University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Peter Radue joined Dr. Roger Scullin to form Damascus Equine Associates. Dr. Radue is the current President of the Maryland Association of Equine Practitioners (MAEP) and serves on the board of directors for the Maryland Horse Council.  His horse interests have included raising and showing Morgan horses, eventing and foxhunting.  His professional interests include lameness diagnosis and treatment with a special interest in ultrasound imaging.  He lives in Howard County with his wife Nanette and three children.

MDA Office of State Veterinarian: Marla Stevens

Dr. Marla Stevens is a field veterinarian covering all regions of the state. She manages the statewide CEM and fairs/shows programs for the Animal Health Section. In addition, she carries out all equine reportable disease programs and is a liaison with USDA on these matters. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and prior to coming to MDA in 2003, she was a private equine veterinary practitioner.

MDA State Veterinarian: Michael Odian

Dr. Odian, who has been practicing veterinary medicine for nearly 25 years, owns and operates a general equine practice focusing on sport horse medicine in Carroll County. His clients include many of the top competition horses in the state, from Grand Prix jumpers and Circuit Show hunters to World Champion Western reining horses. He also breeds, raises, and shows Percheron draft horses.

Dr. Odian received his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Cornell University and earned his veterinary degree at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada.

USDA Area Veterinarian in Charge: Mark Remick

Dr. Mark Remick is veterinarian in charge of the Maryland-Virginia-Delaware division of the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). His office is located in Richmond, Virginia  and is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Remick formerly worked as head state veterinarian for the Michigan Department of Agriculture.


2021 Meeting Schedule

Jan 12-Teleconference - ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
Feb 9 - Teleconference - ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
March 9 - Teleconference - ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
April. 13th, In Person (location TBD) ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
May 11th - In Person (location TBD) ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
June 8th - In Person (location TBD) ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
July 13th - In Person (location TBD) ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
Aug 10th - Teleconference  ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
Sept. 14th In Person (location TBD) ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
Oct. 12th In Person (location TBD) ross.peddicord@maryland.gov10am
Nov. 9th In Person (location TBD) ross.peddicord@maryland.gov4pm
December No board mtg.  Grants committee meets, date TBD

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