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Sites and Stories
Belair Stable Museum
Birthplace of Racing Champions
Belair Stud and Stable was the preeminent United States racing and breeding operation during the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, producing some of the greatest Thoroughbred racehorses in the United States.
Bowie Race Track
“When It Snows, Bowie Goes!”
Only ghosts and stories remain of this one-mile oval racetrack, once a pioneer of winter racing. The racehorses arrived via a rare covered horse bridge over traffic; the bridge is all that can be seen today.
Christ Church and Chaptico
Church Used as a Stable During the War of 1812
The village of Chaptico was a major stop on the stage coach route in the 1700s. During the War of 1812, the British Fleet ravaged the village and stabled its horses in the historic church.
Therapeutic Riding Programs and a Hewn-Log Barn
Greenwell is home to one of the oldest horse stables, and probably the oldest hewn-log barn in the area. Today, it is home to one of the most unique therapeutic riding programs in the state.
Historic St. Mary’s City
Horses Arrive in the New World
Historic St. Mary’s City is the site of the founding of the Colony of Maryland, and the place where the first horse brought from England to Maryland set foot in the new land.
Horses and Hounds (The Hunt)
“Riding to the Hounds” Brought to St. Mary’s in 1650
A tradition steeped in history, this sport was brought to St. Mary’s County in 1650 by one of Maryland’s first governors, and still retains its elegant charm today.
Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
Equine Artifacts and Natural Beauty
JPPM has more than 65 identified archaeological sites, including the Smith’s St. Leonard Plantation Site (occupied c. 1711-1754) and rare remains of one of Maryland’s earliest stables.
Jousting in Southern Maryland
Maryland’s Official State Sport Began Here
Maryland’s state sport got its start in Southern Maryland, and spectators are welcome today at tournaments around the region hosted by the Maryland Jousting Tournament Association.
Laurel Park (Race Course)
Thoroughbred Racing Since 1911
Laurel Park has been home to Thoroughbred racing since the early 1900s; the Maryland Million, designed to promote the Thoroughbred breeding industry, debuted here in 1986.
Leonardtown’s Horse History
A Most Convenient Place for Horses and Humans
This town, site of the first county seat, had a lively horse history which once included its own in-town race track, an assortment of Thoroughbred farms and an annual Stud-Horse Tuesday tradition.
Marlboro Race Course
Roots of Racing Began Here
Once a Throughbred race course rocked by political scandal, this site is now home to the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, a major hub of equine-related events, training and activities in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Mount Aventine Manor
Countess Breeds Hungarian Horses in America
Mount Aventine Manor was home for a time to Countess Margit Sigray Bessenyey, who crossbred Hungarian horses to create the foundation for the Hungarian Warmblood Association here in the United States.
Point Lookout State Park
The Cavalry and Mounted Messengers
Horses played a key role in this area’s rich military history. Several cavalry regiments were based here during the Civil War, and it was connected to Washington by a mounted messenger relay system during the War of 1812.
Maryland’s Oldest Harness Racing Track
Founded by one of harness racing’s most noted figures, Rosecroft was the political and social center of Prince George’s County in the 1950s and continues to draw racing fans today to watch and wager.
Documenting Maryland’s Equine Heritage
Housed in the Bowie Library, the Selima Room’s collection of books, periodicals and clippings documenting the Thoroughbred industry is one of the few publicly available collections in the country.
Horses Pulled Their Weight on This Colonial Plantation
Sotterley’s restored early 18th-century mansion, outbuildings and artifacts offer visitors a rare insight to the lives of horses and humans on a Colonial tidewater plantation.
Surratt House Museum
Along the Early Stagecoach Route
This historic house and tavern date back to the 1850s; the grounds included an early carriage house and stable. A post office inside the tavern was served by a Southern Maryland stagecoach route.