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5 Questions with Cricket Goodall Executive Director, Maryland Horse Breeders Association

Cricket Goodall | Photo Provided

Cricket Goodall has spent the better part of 35 years promoting Maryland’s horse breeding and racing legacy. She serves as executive director of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association (MHBA), which was founded in 1929 and has its headquarters in Reisterstown. The MHBA has been the leading horse industry advocate within the state of Maryland for close to a century. During her career, Goodall has seen Maryland Million Day grow and flourish to become one of the most significant days on Maryland’s racing calendar, second only to the Preakness Stakes.

Q: How did you get involved in the Maryland Horse Breeders Association?

A: I grew up loving horses and working in jobs from farm management to marketing. I came to the Maryland Horse Breeders Association in 1986 to work on Maryland Million Day. This event was founded by sportscaster Jim McKay to celebrate Maryland horses, and it is now named in his honor. The MHBA coordinated all of the race-day festivities. I naturally transitioned into managing special events and public outreach for MHBA. After doing many jobs, I took over as executive director of the MHBA in 2003.

Q: Why is the MHBA creating a new Maryland Horse Library and Education Center?

A: The MHBA has always had a reference library as a part of our offices and intended to expand the scope. In recent years, our Maryland Horse Foundation, the charitable arm of the MHBA, has focused on education. We started the Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program to introduce young people to all of the opportunities to merge their passion for horses and a fulfilling career. We want to have a place for people to visit and learn about the long history of horses in Maryland.

Q: Why do you think horse sports continue to maintain their popularity?

A: Maryland has a such a strong history of horses and horse sports. The rolling hills, limestone soil and temperate climate made it a great place to produce, ride and race horses. Now many different activities appeal to all kinds of horse lovers. Maryland has more horses per square mile than any other state, the most knowledgeable horse people in the country and many of the oldest horse events and associations in the nation, including the Preakness, the Maryland Hunt Cup, the Maryland Jockey Club and the MHBA.

Q: How did you grow to love horses?

A: As a child, I loved “Misty of Chincoteague” and “The Black Stallion,” and I always loved horses and ponies. We did not live on a farm, but each year I was sure I was going to get a pony for Christmas. Even though that never happened, I started riding when I was 10. The experience of taking care of an animal teaches lessons such as work ethic, responsibility and humility that have served me well in life.

Q: What is your personal style?

A: I am pragmatic yet determined. I like to gain consensus and trust the process to get to the right solution. As in any p:roductive relationship, I find that the three Cs—communication, compromise and collaboration—are the keys to success.

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