The Maryland Horse Breeders Association membership has selected two incumbent members, a 2019 presidential appointee and two new members to the 2021 Board of Directors. Dictated by MHBA bylaws, the annually held election fills five open seats on the board.

Those elected will serve for the next three years. Michael J. Harrison DVM, a presidential appointee to the board in 2009 to 2010 who has since served from 2011 to 2016 and as the president of the board from 2018 to 2020, and Christy Holden, a board member for the past three years, are this year’s incumbents.

George Adams – The owner and manager of Housatonic Bloodstock, Adams was a presidential appointee to the MHBA board in 2019. A resident of Baltimore City, Adams is an attorney who had been project manager for Country Life Farm and now serves as the director of stallions and breeding for Wasabi Ventures Stables. A member of the MHBA Social Media and Marketing committee from 2017 to 2018, and the MHBA Legislative committee in 2019, Adams is fully invested in the industry with a few of his own breeding and young stock, along with partnerships in nearly 60 horses and interests in a handful of Maryland and Kentucky stallions. He hopes to “continue to strengthen the Breeder and Owner Bonus programs for Maryland-breds [beyond the exciting new Developer category], to incentivize more breeders to foal in Maryland and invest in young Maryland-bred stock, and to support the young quality stallions standing in the state.”

Michael J. Harrison DVM – A practicing equine veterinarian who has owned and operated his family’s Willowdale Farm in Butler (Baltimore County) since 1983, Harrison has been elected to his fourth term on the board. Serving as president from 2018 to 2020, he is also chairman of the MHBA Legislative committee and member of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Equine Practitioners. Harrison, who breeds, raises and races his own Thoroughbred stock, believes “the Maryland Thoroughbred breeding industry is the critical foundation supporting Maryland racing, directly providing future racing prospects and validating the entire Thoroughbred industry for the positive impact it creates through job generation and the preservation of open spaces, while supporting agricultural related business, and by ultimately enhancing and improving the quality of life in Maryland.”

Christy Holden – The general manager of Country Life and Merryland Farms, where she has worked since 2004, Holden will serve her second term on the board after first being elected in 2018. With a bachelor’s degree in business administration and previous experience in the insurance and fire protection industries, Holden’s extensive skillset helps in her role of managing four stallions and overseeing nearly 125 broodmares, 100 young stock and 20 racehorses. A MHBA Annual Yearling Show veteran and 2020 finalist for the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Award for Leadership in Breeding, the Forest Hill (Harford County) resident hopes “to be a voice for farm managers and professionals in the industry who make a living on Maryland farms, and provide ideas for the long-term success and stability of breeding and racing in the state.”

Ann B. Jackson – Owner of Foxharbor Farm in White Hall (Baltimore County) since 1998 with background as a private investor, Jackson will serve her first three-year term on the board. Breeder of 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup winner Raven’s Choice, along with stakes winners such as Taco Supream and Artful Splatter, she is a member of the National Steeplechase Association, a past board member of the Steeplechase Owners and Trainers Association and a board member/officer for the Ladew Topiary Gardens. Jackson plans to “promote the breeding of Maryland horses that will race in Maryland and promote second careers of Thoroughbreds after flat racing, as steeplechasers, event horses, show horses, foxhunters, trail horses, etc.”

Adair B. Stifel – Co-owner with her parents of Mantua Farm, which has been in the family since 1934, Stifel will serve on the board for the first time. A land conservation consultant who owns a small herd of broodmares, horses of racing age and young stock, Stifel is involved with the Valleys Planning Council, Maryland Environmental Trust and Land Preservation Trust. Highly dedicated to preserving Maryland’s horse industry and green space around the state, Stifel strives to “honor, preserve and ensure the future of Maryland’s horse industry by: 1) breeding and training Maryland-breds for first, second and third careers; 2) enhance the sport of steeplechase racing with Maryland-breds; 3) continuing to advocate for private land conservation as a means of supporting Maryland’s horse farms.”

Of the five directors whose terms expired this year, David Wade and Kent Murray were ineligible to stand for reelection because of having served six consecutive years as a member of the MHBA Board. Those whose terms have not expired are Richard F. Blue Jr., Ellen M. Charles, Michael D. Golden DVM, Michael Horning, Louis Merryman, Sabrina Moore, A. Leonard Pineau VMD, William Reightler, Thomas J. Rooney and James B. Steele.