Maryland Therapeutic Riding To Host Derby Day


It may not be the same as watching the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, but Maryland Therapeutic Riding’s (MTR) panoramic pastures in Crownsville will offer another great option.

MTR will host its 14th annual Derby Day on May 6 from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. This is the nonprofit’s largest fundraising event of the year and includes dinner, drinks, live and silent auctions, hat contests and a live broadcast of the Kentucky Derby.

“We will utilize our indoor arena for the event, and it can hold 400 people,” said MTR Executive Director Kelly Rodgers. “It’s truly a fun event with so many things to do and just having it on the farm showcases our services.”

Those services include therapeutic/adaptive riding; physical, occupational and speech therapy; and equine-assisted psychotherapy.

“Our goal is to provide equine-assisted programs that help our participants drastically improve their lives,” Rodgers said. “We help children, adults and military members who have physical, developmental and/or emotional challenges.”

MTR has had participants from 2 years old to 101. The nonprofit works in partnership with Ten Ten Counseling, which is on the Crownsville site, to develop care plans for the participants. The site assists participants with autism, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

The 25-acre property features numerous buildings within the green pastures including facilities for the horses.

“We have over 200 volunteers, and caring for 16 horses is a big job,” said Jessica Mitchell, an Arnold resident and volunteer manager. “They care for the animals, help with mounted sessions, and act as horse leaders and side walkers for the participants.”

Mitchell started as a volunteer eight years ago and transitioned into an employee two years ago and that has helped with training and maintaining the volunteer staff.

“We could not run our programs without our great volunteers,” Rodgers said.

The horses are also specially selected for the therapeutic programs as they go through a 90-day evaluation period to ensure they have the personality for the MTR’s expectations.

“Only about one of 10 horses meet our qualifications,” Rodgers said. “We have had great success stories from our equine-assisted programs,” she added. “We had one young lady who had a stuttering issue, but once she started riding, her stuttering issue went away when she was on the horse.”

Also, with the equine-assisted programs, MTR participants have shown improvement with balance, strength, muscle tone, communication skills, self-image and confidence.

MTR supplements 80% of all program costs, and 100% of the care is covered for military veterans and active military members.

“It’s really heartwarming to see our participants connect with the 1,200-pound animal, and see the happiness on their faces,” Rodgers said.

For more information on advertising, sponsorships or tickets to this event, contact donor engagement manager Lisa Zehring at 443-494-3015 or


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