Maryland Horse Industry Board, Department of Agriculture


If you are a stable who solicits the general public, and have ONE or more horses - and either give lessons, board horses, or have a rental service or are a rescue or sanctuary stable, you are required by the State of Maryland to obtain and maintain licensing through the Maryland Horse Industry Board. Licensing is conditioned on periodic inspections by the Maryland Horse Industry Board and failure to comply may result in civil fines and penalties.

Pursuant to State Law and regulations promulgated in 2013, license renewal applications and fees are due on or before July 1 of each year. The stable license is valid for one year and must be renewed annually. The one-year licensing period runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

(Authority: Agriculture Article, §§2-707, and 2-711, and 2-712, Annotated Code of Maryland)


Contributory (Maryland)

IF one is found to have “contributed” (or played a part) in any manner causing their own injury, the individual cannot hold another financially or legally responsible EXCEPT in cases of “gross negligence,"  or "last clear chance" doctrine applies.

ANY contribution of negligence = ZERO recovery

Comparative (most other States)

(1)Formula: Percentage of contribution of negligence = Percentage of recovery
(2)Formula: Must fall within a percentile range to collect at all


(1) Common-law or “general” negligence
- failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation

(2) Gross negligence
- A conscious, voluntary act or an omission in reckless disregard of a legal duty

(3) "Last Clear Chance" Doctrine

​- “The rule that a plaintiff [one who has been injured] who was contributorily negligent may nonetheless recover from the defendant [one who caused the harm or injury] IF the defendant had the last opportunity to prevent the harm but failed to use reasonable care to do so (in other words, if the defendant’s negligence is later in time than the plaintiff’s).”  [Black's Law Dictionary, 8th Edition]

   MD Ann. Code, Agriculture
  Title 3. Regulation of Livestock and Poultry
  Subtitle 3 - Regulation of Livestock Sales
  § 3-301. Definitions

  (b) Livestock. -- "Livestock" means cattle,   swine, sheep, horses, asses, mules, or goats notwithstanding any other provision of this article.


Specific to Equine Activities

Dept. of Agriculture

  •   Maryland Horse Industry Board  (MHIB)
  •   Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (VME)

Dept. of Labor, Licensing & Regulation

  •   Maryland Racing Commission (MRC)
  •   Labor Work Force - Unemployment

Dept. of Transportation

  •   Motor Carrier Services

Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene
(For facilities offering youth camps with horseback riding)

Workers Compensation Commission

Specific to Equine Activities

​United States Department of Agriculture

  •   Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services

United States Department of the Interior

  •   Bureau of Land Management

United States Department of Commerce

United States Department of Labor

  • “Horse Protection Act”
  • “Interstate Horse Racing Act”
  • “Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971”
  • “Federal Motor Carrier Safety” regulations
  • “Foreign Worker” program


A Legal Guide to Horse Ownership & Activities 

Maryland Statutory Lien on Livestock

MD Ann. Code, Commercial Law

Title 16. Statutory Liens on Personal Property

Subtitle 4 - Lien on Livestock

§ 16-401. Care or Custody

(a) The owner or operator of a livery stable or other establishment who gives care or custody to any livestock has a lien on the livestock for any reasonable charge incurred for:
          (1) Board and custody;
          (2) Training;
          (3) Veterinarians’ and blacksmiths’ services; and

          (4) Other proper maintenance expenses.

(b) If the charges which give rise to the lien are due and unpaid for 30 days and the lienor is in possession of the livestock, the lienor may sell the livestock to which the lien attaches at public sale.

(c) (1) The lienor shall publish notice of the sale once a week for two successive weeks in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the county where the livestock is located.

(2) In addition, the lienor shall send notice by registered or certified mail at least 30 days before the sale to the owner of the livestock at his last known address. If the owner’s address is unknown, the notice may be given by posting it on the door of the courthouse or on a bulletin board in the immediate vicinity of the door of the courthouse of the county where the livestock is located.

(d) (1) The proceeds of the sale shall be applied, in the following order, to:
        (i) the expenses of the sale; and
        (ii) the amount of the lien claim.

(2) After application of the proceeds in accordance with paragraph (1) of this subsection, any remaining balance shall be paid to the owner of the livestock.


Pursuant to State law and regulations promulgated in 2013, license renewal applications and fees are due on or before July 1 of each year. Stable licenses are valid from July 1 through June 30 and renewal is required. Late payments will incur an additional fee.

  •  License renewals are due July 1st of each calendar year.
  • Payments received after July 31st will be assessed a $50 late fee.
  • If payment is not received by August 15th you will be assessed a $500 late fee.
  • Nonpayment will result in your account being sent to the STATE COLLECTIONS OFFICE.
  • Refusal to license or failure to pass inspections may result in civil penalties and revocation of your license.In the event you are assessed civil penalties for failing to pass inspection, you shall have an opportunity to a hearing before the Board of Directors of MHIB

Maryland Recreational Use Statute

 Annotated Code of Maryland -  Natural Resources

 Title 5. Forests and Parks

 Subtitle 11. Public Recreation on Private Land

  and Land Owned by Local Governments 

  Liability immunity to landowner applies if
the activity is for:

​(1) Educational purposes, AND/OR;

(2) Recreational purposes, AND

(3) NO COLLECTION of money is made

Crimes Relating to Horses

Annotated Code of Maryland
​Criminal Law

Title 10, Subtitle 6
(applicable sections relevant to horses)

§ 10-604. Abuse or neglect of animal.

§ 10-606. Aggravated cruelty to animals

§ 10-612. Abandoning domestic animal

§ 10-620. Interference with race horse