Please help preserve the Potomac Horse Center

Please help preserve the Potomac Horse Center

The historic Potomac Horse Center (PHC, opened in the 1950s by Frederick G. Harding) is part of the public/private partnerships of open space and facilities owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). The leasee is the current owner of the business known as the Potomac Horse Center, which first executed its lease in 1993 on already 30-year-old infrastructure.  With help from the community, the leasee has already privately raised and invested $300,000 to fix a leaky roof and replace arena footing on the property. Unfortunately, they are just learning that more repairs are needed.

On December 22, 2023, M-NCPPC (after receiving an engineering report in November that called into question the integrity of some wood and beams) informed the PHC that it must vacate the main barn and arena – the primary venue for the entire operation – and relocate to elsewhere on the property by January 22, 2024.

The Potomac Horse Center needs your voice.  

How You Can Help 

  1. Please write to the M-NCPPC staff emails below and voice your support for preserving the Potomac Horse Center.  You can also ask them to work with PHC to resolve the maintenance issues as quickly as possible so PHC can continue to serve its community of students, boarders, and participants in its therapeutic riding programs.  

Some bullet points you might include about the importance of PHC are: 

  • PHC introduces the experience of horses and horseback riding to the public, and this is one facility where horse ownership is NOT required!
  • PHC helps preserve much-needed open space in the county with pastoral views of horses grazing.
  • PHC contributes to the multi-million-dollar equine industry by supporting tack shops, feed stores, veterinarians, equine transport services, local farmers who provide hay, local sawmills who provide shavings, farriers, etc.
  • Not only is PHC a premiere riding lesson barn for children and adults, but they also offer therapeutic riding lessons, summer camps for children, and free admission to all horse show events and open houses throughout the year.
  • Horses and greenspace promote well-being and positive mental health and teach essential life skills such as empathy, respect, and responsibility. This time with horses can lead to less social media time, and research has found that time outside has positive mental and physical health outcomes.
  • PHC is near public transportation, so one does not need a car to participate.
  • PHC is a unique sport that helps its participants maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.  Horseback riding is not a passive sport, and it has been scientifically proven that it is considered moderate-intensity or intense exercise, improving cardiovascular health and overall strength.
  • The Potomac Horse Center has recently received money to remove footing in one arena and to build temporary stalls there for the horses.  They are still looking as of Jan 11 for the following support:

Immediate needs to preserve the school horse herd:

We are seeking funds to remove the footing and compact the floors of the Small Arena, which will house the new stabling.  Our footing vendor quoted the price of that work as $4,950.00.  Received

We are further seeking funds for emergency temporary/portable stabling $70,000 (includes delivery and setup). Received

We will need someone to perform light carpentry work to secure the old viewing area in the Small Arena (the new “stable”), to be used as the tack room.

Finally, we need help renting a secure office trailer; or alternatively; someone to perform light carpentry and electrical work to the Secretaries Stand located in front of the New School arena, to be used as the temporary office.

We are also seeking:

Recommendations for legal counsel to represent us in reopening negotiations with M-NCPPC and to renegotiate our lease, which was was executed in 1993.  The lease is antiquated. We have been operating under a Letter of Intent since the passing of the original Lessee, Paul Novograd, in 2017. We have presented M-NCPPC a proposal to renegotiate new terms and a new lease.

The assistance of a structural engineer to analyze Montgomery Parks’ report.

We are considering setting up a 501(c)(3), but until then, please use the website to make donations. Please be sure to earmark your donation for the Potomac Horse Center.