Foxhunting and its Impact on our County
The sport of Foxhunting has its roots dating back to the 1700's England and still maintains many of the traditions and etiquette from this time.However, fox-chasing in the United States has evolved differently from our British cousins in that our purpose is not to kill the fox but only to chase it. The purpose of the American hunt, and of Potomac's, is to watch the hounds pursue the fox in its natural setting while it evades the pursuit of the hounds. When the fox has had enough of the chase, it "goes to ground" in one of the many holes that exist in the fox's territory. We make no effort to force the fox from its hole; we gather the hounds and go in search of another fox.
Foxchasers support numerous industries and jobs in the Country, ranging from feed and supply stores, veterinarians, farmers, farriers and tack stores. In a study conducted by Malcolm Commer, Jr., Ph.D., Characteristics of and Economic Variables Associated With the Equine Industry in Selected Maryland Counties (University of Maryland, 1977), Dr. Commer found that there are almost 20,000 horse enthusiasts in Montgomery County alone. Excluding racing, the annual regional economic activity generated by the equine enthusiast was estimated to be $617.9 million. Additional, the total number of jobs created by the equine industry statewide is more than 20,000 people. The survival of the equine industry in the county is also of vital importance to the economic well being of the farmers who supply the hay, straw, boarding, etc.
Its is also interesting that in Dr. Commer's study, he found that the survey respondents overwhelmingly chose loss of space as the most critical issue facing the Maryland equine industry.
Our landowners are to be congratulated since it is people like they who make their land available to the horse enthusiast and thereby assure the continued success of such an important economic activity in our country.