Maryland’s Hay Woes Yes, the rumors are true. Maryland and the

mid-Atlantic region are in the midst of a ma- jor hay shortage. T e Equiery touched base with Maryland hay farmers to fi nd out just what went wrong, where Maryland horse owners can fi nd hay and when the predicted harvests are for 2019. As everyone is aware, 2018 was wet here in

Maryland. In fact, it was record setting wet in Maryland and nearby states. On Novem- ber 16, 2018, WBALTV reported that the annual rainfall at BWI airport was at an his- torical high with 63.01 inches of rain falling so far. T e previous annual rainfall record of 62.33 inches had been set in 2003. On January 2, 2019, the Baltimore Sun

compiled BWI’s annual report stating that the fi nal rainfall amount for 2018 was 71.82 inches. BWI has been collecting weather reports since 1871. T e Baltimore Sun also stated in its January 2 article that Maryland saw 145 days of rain or snow in 2018 and that in Baltimore, it rained an average of 4 days out of every 10 days. According to the National Weather Service,

there were 1,391 fl ood-related reports made in Maryland in 2018. In comparison, there were only 262 such reports made in 2017. T is wet weather forced many equine com- petitions and activities to cancel throughout the year and even though 2018 is long over, we are still feeling its eff ects as wet weather also caused a smaller crop yield for hay farmers. T e Equiery called over 100 hay farmers in

Maryland and was able to gain inventory re- ports from many of them. On average, the hay farmers we spoke with said that in 2018 they were able to harvest two to three cuttings of useable hay, which is low compared to previous years. Some reported hay being harvested cor- rectly but then getting damaged by rain during the drying process. One farmer reported that he even had to re-bale some round bales to save the “good stuff ” that was in the inner layers. Nearly 55% of those we spoke with stated

they were sold out of 2018 hay and those who did still have hay in their barns have it saved for current customers or their own animals. T e bigger hay dealers in the state promised to fi nd hay for horse owners but warned of ever in- creasing prices as they have to ship in hay from farther and farther away. One dealer said he is shipping in from upstate New York and as far west as Ohio and another said he was getting

hay from Canada. Another dealer said he was able to fi nd compressed bales in Indiana and is shipping these to Maryland. We were also getting reports from readers of

Foxtail showing up in locally grown hay. Fox- tail is a poisonous weed that can cause ulcers in horses’ mouths and also GI tract issues. Typi- cally, this region is too dry to support Foxtail.

Baltimore Sues Stronach Group On March 19, Baltimore City Mayor Catherine

Pugh held a press conference to announce that she, the City Council and three residents have jointly fi led a lawsuit against T e Stronach Group (TSG) in hopes to keep the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. T e lawsuit claims that that TSG, own- ers of Pimlico, is “openly planning to violate Maryland law by moving the Preakness to a diff erent race track despite the ab- sence of any disaster or emergency.” Under current Maryland law, the

PL Mercury Wins Top Honors PL Mercury, owned by Dr. Claire Godwin of Laytons-

ville, recently earned two Horse of the Year titles for his 2018 endurance ride season. T e Arabian Horse Associa- tion named him its 2018 Distance Horse of the Year, and the Eastern Crabbett Arabian Horse Society named him 2019 Horse of the year.

T e hay farmers we spoke with were not wor- ried about Foxtail and stated that with proper crop management practices, weeds in hay should not be an issue. As we head into spring with even more rain and snow falling, hay farmers are already wor- ried about this year’s crop. “It needs to be dry long enough for us to properly prep our fi elds. We should be doing that now but haven’t been able to,” one farmer stated. Another was wor- ried he won’t see his fi rst harvest ‘til mid-sum- mer if the wet weather continues. What does this mean for horse owners? Hay

prices will continue to rise until the 2019 crops can be harvested. T ere is no need to panic as hay suppliers will fi nd you hay, it just may cost more than you are used to paying. T e best advice we heard from a hay farmer for this year… order your hay early and keep your barn well stocked! To fi nd a hay supplier near you, go to equiery.

com and click on our Hay & Straw Directory. Want to be added to this list? Call 1-800- 244-9580 today!

Preakness Stakes cannot be moved from Pimlico unless there is a natural disaster or emergency situation forc- ing the race to be held elsewhere in Maryland. David McFadden of the Associated Press reported that through an email correspondence with TSG, a representative from TSG stated that the company “believes these actions are premature and unfounded.” T e lawsuit accuses TSG of creating a

“disaster” by under-investing in Pimlico and instead, TSG has spent the major- ity of the state aid it received on Laurel Park. T e lawsuit asks the court to grant ownership of Pimlico and the Preakness to the City of Baltimore through con- demnation. T e lawsuit also asks that

TSG be prevented from using any additional state bonds to fund improvements at Laurel. TSG had previously stated that it intends to keep the Preakness at Pimlico through 2020 and a study conducted by the Maryland Sta- dium Authority stated that it would cost $424 million to tear down Pimlico and rebuild from scratch. Mayor Pugh strongly endorses the redevelopment plan recommended by MSA. When the study’s fi ndings were announced last December, TSG also expressed their support of the proposal but stated they could not pay for the entire project on their own. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told

WBAL radio, “the overwhelming number of people in Maryland don’t really care where [the Preakness] is held. T ey would just like to keep it in Maryland.” He did add that personally, he would like to see the race remain in Baltimore.

Furst Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement T e Equiery fi rst reported on embezzlement

charges against former American Horse Coun- continued...


The Equiery, P.O. Box 610, Lisbon, MD 21765 • FAX: 410-489-7828 • email Be sure to include your full name, phone number and address. All submissions become the property of The Equiery. | 800-244-9580 APRIL 2019 | THE EQUIERY | 9

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