Thursday, October 31, 2013

John Blackburn Launches Healthy Stables By Design at the Washington International Horse Show Armed Forces Reception

For Immediate Release
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Releases and High-Res Photos Available at
Media Contact: Carrie Wirth
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389  fax 561.753.3386
John Blackburn Launches
Healthy Stables By Design at the
Washington International Horse Show 
Armed Forces Reception
All Author Proceeds Donated to Equine Charities
Washington, D.C. - October 30, 2013 - Award-winning equestrian architect John Blackburn celebrated the launch of his newly released book, Healthy Stables by Design, at the Armed Forces Reception at the Acela Club in the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The event was part of Military Night at the 55th Annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) on Friday, Oct. 25.
Co-author Beth Herman, John Blackburn and Susan Lylis
Approximately 250 VIPs, guests and members of the media joined Blackburn for a short program, cocktails and dinner. A portion of the ticket sales and all author proceeds from Blackburn's book were donated to the Caisson Platoon Equine Assisted Therapy Program and PATH International's Wounded Warrior Project area organizations: Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, Maryland Therapeutic Riding, Therapeutic Riding and Recreation Center and Loudoun Therapeutic Riding.
John Blackburn, Rhonda Van Lowe, Bridget Love Meehan and 
Former Congressman John Tanner
On hand were members of the Third Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the U.S. Army, serving the nation since 1784. The Old Guard is the Army's official ceremonial unit and includes the Caisson Platoon. Also in attendance were members of the U.S Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, who performed their precision rifle drill for the WIHS audience.
WIHS Executive Director Bridget Love Meehan welcomed the group and introduced Rhonda Van Lowe, Chairman of the Board of Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program. Van Lowe shared her experience with horses in the program and described what a wonder they are. She spoke about their new facility, designed by Blackburn. Then she turned over the podium to Blackburn.
Former Congressman John Tanner and Jane Thery who chairs the Farm Stewardship Committee of the Maryland Horse Council listen to Blackburn's remarks.
Blackburn gave thanks to his co-author, Beth Herman; his sponsor, Lucas Equine; the Washington International Horse Show; his wife, Jenni, and others for their support.
"Horses have given me so much, and now it is time for me to give back to horses," said Blackburn about his decision to donate all his proceeds from his book to equine charities. The architect and author will travel for the next year for public book signings at booksellers and private events at farms featured in Healthy Stables by Design. Proceeds from every event will benefit equine charities.

Alltech National Horse Show Is the Next Stop on the Blackburn Book Launch Tour  The next stop on Blackburn's book launch tour is the Alltech National Horse Show, where he will appear for book signings on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 30, after the show at Gracie Street Garden; onFriday, Nov. 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the Taylor Harris Club; and at noon on Saturday, Nov. 2, in the North Star Rider Lounge. He will also be on hand at the Lucas Equine booth from Wednesday to Saturdayduring the show.
About Healthy Stables By Design by John Blackburn with Beth Herman  
Healthy Stables by Design is a museum-quality coffee table book that illustrates Blackburn's approach to equestrian architecture through dramatic photography and compelling writing. It introduces the concepts of aerodynamic ventilation, strategic natural light and passive solar heating and cooling into significant horse barn designs ranging from exquisite to functional.

About John Blackburn
John Blackburn serves as the President and Senior Principal of Blackburn Architects, a Washington, D.C. firm. He has 35 years of expertise in architecture and 30 years of work focusing specifically on equestrian architecture with more than 160 horse farm designs to his credit. His award-winning work is widely known for its beauty, functionality and sustainability.

Blackburn has built facilities for racing, polo, hunters and jumpers and Quarter Horses in a variety of climates and evolving site conditions and he has been featured in dozens of equestrian, architecture and luxury lifestyle publications.

Click here to learn more about Blackburn Architects.

Healthy Stables by Design by John Blackburn is available for purchase. Click here to order your copy.

For more about Healthy Stables by Design, by John Blackburn, click here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

MDA to Administer Compost Facility Operators Exam

From Southern Maryland News Net:

MDA to Administer Compost Facility Operators Exam

October 22, 2013
November 1; Examination Required Before Facility Operators Can be Certified
The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will administer the Compost Facility Operators exam on Friday, November 1, at 9 am at MDA headquarters, 50 Harry S Truman Parkway, Annapolis. Passing this exam is required to become certified as a Compost Facility Operator. Individuals who want to take the exam must register with Phil Davidson, Registration Supervisor, at (410) 841-2721 or
The State of Maryland regulates the commercial composting process to ensure that the finished product will benefit plants and customers as intended. Those products are registered with MDA’s State Chemist as soil conditioners or composts. Individuals who are composting materials to be sold or distributed must demonstrate their competency by passing an exam and becoming certified.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Maryland Horse Council Farm Stewardship Committee
2013 Accomplishments and 2014 Plans

The 2013 goals for the Maryland Horse Council Farm Stewardship Committee were to raise the profile of well-managed horse farms as healthy for horses and healthy for the environment, connect horse farm owners and managers to quality information, technical assistance and financial resources needed to improve their farm management, stay ahead of the curve on new laws and regulations affecting land management – including participating in regulatory drafting and promoting new ideas for effective manure management – and to sign up at least 10 horse farms in the Maryland Farm Stewardship and Certification and Assessment Program (FSCAP) which recognizes environmentally-sound farm management.

The Committee Chair is Jane Thery and the Vice Chair is Amy Burk.  During the year we held a meeting each quarter, at Wyndham Oaks Stables, the University of Maryland Pasture Management Facility, Sagamore Farm and (forthcoming) the Potomac Hunt Club.   About thirty participants attended each meeting.   In addition to the host venue, Piedmont Insurance Group sponsored each meeting.

Accomplishments are:
·         Eleven horse farms in the Farm Stewardship and Certification Assessment Program (FSCAP), protecting 1,140 acres in eight counties;
·         A letter from Governor Martin O’Malley lauding each horse farm owner for his/her FSCAP certification and recognizing the importance of horse farms in preserving farm land, open space and the environment;
·         Inclusion of a senior Maryland Horse Council official on the advisory committee of the Maryland Agricultural Certainty program to represent horse farms;
·         Formation of a new alliance with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to promote the voice of the horse community in discussions of environmental regulations and explore options for upgrades in horse manure management;
·         Presentation of a grant proposal to the Maryland Horse Industry Board to survey horse farms, haulers and end users of horse manure and investigate new options for the use of this organic resource;
·         Strengthening the relationship between the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts and the horse community through their equine specialists and the FSCAP program;
·         Technical briefings on pasture management, native plants and wildlife habitat, composting, energy-efficient stable design and environmental regulations;
·         Maintenance of a “blog” on the MHC website to share meeting results and links to resources for horse farm owners and managers

            Goals for 2014 are to sign up at least another 10 horse farms in the FSCAP program, participate in the design of the regulations for the Agricultural Certainty program to make sure they are horse farm friendly, provide horse farms with updated information on environmental regulations, continue to promote links between horse farmers and resources available to them, promote modern horse manure management, including composting options, and to explore top-level alternatives for farm management including wild-life habitat and energy-efficient stables. 

            Once again, we join Governor O’Malley in congratulating the FSCAP Certified Agricultural Stewards of the following horse farms:

           Carolyn Krome, Persimmon Tree Farm; Steven Darcy; Edgewood Farm; Karla Stoner, Bloomsbury Forge; Milly Welsh; Graden; Lori Larson, Wyndham Oaks; Kevin Plank, Sagamore Farm; Rick Terselic, Potomac Horse Center; Michael Rubin, Breezy Hill Farm; Linda Santomenna and Robert Alphin, Blue Waters Farm; Barbara McDonald, Shamrock Arabians and Marko Bulmer, Roedown Farm.