What Makes the MHSA So Special?!
Blogpost #1: Inside the Venue, Prince George’s Equestrian Center (PGEC)
Lauren Glickman, MHSA Guest Blogger
Where is PG Equestrian Center located?
14900 Pennsylvania Avenue, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
It is located just off Route 301, an interstate highway, and near I-495, the Capital Beltway. Pennsylvania Avenue Extended (MD Route 4) overlooks the arena and is the only road in the area that goes directly to the White House. Suitland Parkway, which is off Route 4, leads to Washington, D. C. and the United States
Capitol. The site is also convenient to Annapolis and Baltimore and is seven miles from I-95. It is in a safe and secure rural setting with easy access to ten thousand hotel rooms within a twenty mile radius.
History of the Facility:
The Equestrian center sits on the now defunct Marlboro Race Course. The Marlboro Race Course, was a five eights mile track that opened in 1914 located in Upper Marlboro. It had an open-air grandstand and clubhouse that could seat 1,260 fans, 2,600 in the grandstand and 1,000 in the clubhouse. The races were cancelled in 1993.
The PGEC, as we know it today, is the center of activity for the performance horse industry in Prince George‘s County for some time. It is nationally renowned as a major horse show facility with a state-of-the-art indoor arena, exceptional footing and superior equine client services. Equestrians from all over the world have competed in events held at The Prince George’s Equestrian Center
What types of shows are held at PGEC?
It hosts over one hundred local, regional and national equine shows annually. For MHSA, this includes shows in both the Regional Program (started in 2014) and nationally recognized and MHSA-rated shows like Showplace Spring Horse Show, Maryland National Horse Show, Maryland Horse & Pony Show, Capital Challenge Horse Show, WIHS Regional Horse Show and Zone 3 Finals.
From March through August, PGEC is home to the Black-Eyed Susan Horse Show Series (BEST). All BEST shows are part of the MHSA Regional Program as well as qualifiers for the Colonial Classic Local Champions Horse Show.
What are the rings like?
The Show Place Arena is a five thousand seat deluxe indoor arena with three banquet/social rooms and several elegant sky suites overlooking the arena. The arena is used for all of the MHSA-rated shows held there including multiple medal finals and the Gittings Finals that take place during the WIHS Regional Horse Show.
There are also three lighted outdoor competition rings with all-weather footing and one covered show ring, with bleacher seating and real bathrooms (no port-o-johns!).
Depending on the show there are also 2-3 rings available for warming up and different opportunities available for schooling at the beginning of each show day or the day before the show. Lunging is available on the racetrack.
How is the parking?
Parking is abundant! Reports on line suggest spaces for up to 2,000 cars and speaking from personal experience, I have never had any problems finding a spot for my car. There is also plenty of on-site truck and trailer parking and lots of space (a great place to come even for the first time hauler).
What’s the food situation?
There is an on-site food concession pavilion (with restrooms attached) and picnic tables for eating. As far as horse show food goes, there are a lot of options. There is the standard horse show offerings of burgers and grilled cheese. But there are also breakfast sandwiches (until the eggs run out), wraps, quesadillas and a few different salad options. Insider tip: If they have cucumber salad, it’s a personal favorite with grilled chicken! The food can be very popular, one other tip, if a line has formed, make sure you allow enough to make it to your next class!
There are 260 permanent stalls and space for an additional 1,500 temporary stalls. Renting a stall (at a savings to you) for the season is an option for the BEST Horse Show Series (sold out for 2016). Contact the show management to make arrangements on a show by show basis.
There are several hotels 3-10 miles from PGEC. See the full list of local accommodations on the Capital Challenge website. There are also other dining options in Upper Marlboro, from Ledo’s Pizza and Subway to local Chinese and Thai options. Bowie, Maryland, about a 10 minute drive up 301 North – also offers a wide variety of dining, shopping and hotel options.
Some shows require pre-registration and have deadlines to be aware of. Almost all of the shows have online registration available via horseshowing.com and you receive a discount for registering in advance. You can also save money if you plan to participate in more than 4 BEST Series Shows by joining for the season ($10 per show weekend).
About Lauren: Lauren Glickman founded WindyGlick Communications to help small businesses and non-profits utilize social media and other online communication tools. When not tweeting or instagramming, Lauren enjoys cooking, bluegrass and being outdoors with her dog Basil. She is an adult amateur and you can find her and her horse Marli at regional MHSA horse shows and Surmont Stables in Poolesville, MD.