HistoryIn the Summer of 1979, a group of Howard County mothers loaded their children and ponies into trucks and trailers and headed off to local horse shows, never knowing what was in store for us. What we discovered at many of these shows was a little shocking. Lines were unmeasured. Footing was often hard and rocky. Jumps could be anything from loose barrels to straw bales. Courses were set so that oxers could be jumped in both directions. Many judges lacked qualifications. Schooling areas were rarely provided and safety was definitely not a priority.
After attending a few of these shows, many mothers headed to Carroll, Montgomery and Baltimore counties, where the horse shows were a vast improvement over Howard County. In January of 1980, Ann Cockrell and Tricia Scarcia called a meeting of local horse people and suggested a Howard County Horse Shows Association. Many of the attendees of the meeting voiced their doubts that the organization could be formed and a schedule activated on such a short notice, but a few believers went to work. Within a month the HCHSA was established, with a membership of 55.
Eddie Jolles, with experience serving on Washington Bridle Trails Association's board, served as HCHSA's first president. Gretchen Mobberley was the vice president, Candy Jolles served as secretary, Tricia Scarcia was the treasurer and Regina Willoughby kept the points. Maple Spring Farm held the first horse show. Other shows that first summer were held at the Howard County and Taylorsville Hunt Club grounds, Bobby Cook's farm on Gorman Road, Turf Valley Country Club and the Howard County Fair Grounds. Of these horse shows, the Fair Grounds is the only show that remains on our schedule. The first awards banquet was held at Toby's Dinner Theater in Columbia. Turf Valley has hosted the banquet since 1983.
Howard County Horse Shows Association was formed with the goal of having safe and enjoyable quality horse shows. The rulebook has expanded to accommodate the many divisions that have been added. One of these, the Junior Medals was added in 1982, with the Adult Medal added over ten years later. In 1993, the Junior Achievement Award Scholarship was initiated and continues to contributes each year to high achieving students' college expenses.
The most obvious change has been the vast improvement of the quality of the horses and riders and the horse shows. As members, all should take great pride in what has been achieved, but remember that we owe a special thanks to the two ladies who have made the Association a reality - Tricia Scarcia and Ann Cockrell.