Updated: June 12, 2023
By Erika Crowl

EBR-51  |  July 2020

University of Maryland Extension Resources for Horse Owners

Pature demonstration. Photo Credit: Jane Thery, MD Horse Council
Photo Credit: Jane Thery, MD Horse Council

Maryland’s horse industry adds $1.3 billion to the economy, according to the American Horse Council 2018 economic impact study. Maryland is home to over 100,000 horses and ranks number 1 in terms of horses per square mile.

University of Maryland Extension is designed to help guide and provide resources for Maryland’s horse enthusiasts.

University of Maryland Extension (UME) is a non-formal education system within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR). UME is broken down to four program areas; 4-H and Youth Development, Agriculture and Food Systems, Environment & Natural Resources, and Family and Consumer Sciences. All programs offered within Extension are based on research and data generated at land grant Universities and all programs are open to the general public.

Maryland Extension has offices in all twenty-three counties and Baltimore City along with four educational research centers located throughout the state of Maryland. UME is staffed with equine educators and specialists in several counties in Maryland. To find the list and contacts of educators and specialists, visit https://extension.umd.edu/horses.

Resources Available

UME offers a multitude of equine-related programs, online recordings, webinars, and publications that are offered either for free or for a small fee to the public.

  • Pasture Management: Managing your pastures properly will lead to high-quality, productive forages for your horses. UME offers programs throughout the year to address different management strategies for pastures like rotational grazing, weed control, renovating poor performing pasture, and more.For more information on upcoming pasture management seminars, visit the Maryland Forages Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MarylandForages.
  • Soil Sampling: While University of Maryland does not have a soil testing lab on campus, Extension faculty can help guide you on proper soil sampling procedures, provide a list of recommended soil testing labs in the Mid-Atlantic region, and loan soil probes to farm owners from county offices. Find your county office at https://extension.umd.edu/locations.
  • Forage/Hay Sampling: Proper forage and hay sampling is important and sometimes essential for horses with special dietary needs. Extension faculty can assist owners with proper sampling and may offer the use of a forage probe for sampling hay on the farm.
  • Equine Seminars and WebinarsUME educators and specialists frequently host equine seminars and webinars for horse owners and farm operators. Topics vary from equine nutrition, health, and business management. Follow our social media page (https://www.facebook.com/Equine-Studies-atthe- University-of-Maryland-105729806176354) to learn about upcoming events.
  • Recorded Webinars: Many of our seminars and webinars are archived and located on our UME Maryland Horses webpage (https://www.youtube.com/user/UMDHorseExtension).Recorded webinars feature topics on horse ownership and care, pasture management, and equine nutrition and health. 
  • Maryland Horse YouTube Channel: UME has a large selection of short videos related to equine care and horse farm management. Visit our University of Maryland Horse Extension YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/UMDHorseExtension) to watch the latest videos from our Extension faculty.
  • Written Publications: Our UME Maryland Horses webpage houses a repository of publications on various topics written by University of Maryland faculty and other land-grant universities. Publication topics include manure management, nutrition, equine business management, and equine leasing agreements. Publications can be found on the UME Maryland Horses webpage (https://extension.umd.edu/programs/agriculture-food-systems/program-areas/animal-science/horses/horse-resources).
  • Equine Rotational Grazing Demonstration Site: The Equine Rotational Grazing Demonstration Farm is part of the Central Maryland Research and Educational Center in Clarksville, Maryland. The 5.5-acre site was developed to educate equine farm operators how to better manage their pastures. The area includes a sacrifice lot, two vegetative heavy use areas, and four rotational grazing pastures. To visit the rotational grazing demo site, contact Dr. Amy Burk at amyburk@umd.edu.

Additional Resources by UME Partners

  • Local Soil Conservation Districts
    Local Soil Conservation Districts can help with implementing best management practices for equine operations. Examples of best practices could be heavy use areas, stream crossings, watering systems, roof runoff structures, and manure storage structures. Some operations may qualify for cost–share assistance. Contact your local district office (https://mda.maryland.gov/resource_conservation/Pages/technical_assistance.aspx) to obtain more information.
  • Horse Outreach Workgroup
    The Maryland Department of Agriculture assembled a group of forage, equine, and land conservation experts to write fact sheets on important topics including manure management, pasture establishment and management, and mud control
    on horse farms. View the fact sheets at: https://mda.maryland.gov/resource_conservation/Pages/horse_pasture_manure_
    or call the Office of Resource Conservation at 410.841.5865.
  • Nutrient Management Planning
    In accordance with Maryland Department of Agriculture regulations, farm operators that own/ manage eight or more animal units (1,000 lbs = 1 animal unit) and/or gross $2,500 from the operation must develop and follow a Maryland Nutrient Management Plan. Nutrient Management plans can help equine operations increase soil fertility with proper fertilization records and reduce excess nutrient run off into nearby watersheds. Contact MDA for current information and support regarding nutrient management plans. https://mda.maryland.gov/resource_conservation/pages/nutrient_management.aspx
  • eXtension Horses
    eXtension Horses is a national online learning platform for all equine enthusiasts. This website houses a large variety of online courses, podcasts and infographics from university extension faculty across the nation. Visit https://horses.extension.org/ to learn more.

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