Bottner is the organizer of the Marlborough Horse Trials, held every year in Prince George's County at the Rosaryville State Park in Upper Marlboro. The free event will celebrate its 20th anniversary in September, when 200 riders will compete in cross-country jumping, stadium jumping and dressage. Tell me about the Marlborough Horse Trials.
The Marlborough Horse Trials is kind of the triathlon of equestrian sports, because it requires so much of a horse in one day. ... As you go up in each phase, the penalties are higher for making mistakes. So it's kind of like golf; the lower the score, the better, so there's more penalties in having an error on cross-country -- or having what we call a disobedience from your horse -- than there are in the other two phases.
What makes the event different from others?
It makes it different than other area events [because] we are part of the U.S. Eventing Association, and it's not something that you can just go out and do on a whim. It's something that you have to practice and it's really very special. Eventers are a really special breed of people. You'll never find a nicer group of people -- and people who care about their horses more.
Do you think people realize how much the equine industry contributes to the Prince George's County economy?
No, they do not. If they did, Rosecroft Raceway would never have closed and we would not have the problems with the [Maryland] Jockey Club that we have now and you know keeping the thoroughbred industry alive. ... I think people see [the area horse tracks] as a commodity and racing for people who are gambling addicts. But it brings money into the county and it brings revenue, and if it was supported better, it would bring more money.
How long have you been involved with equestrian sports?
Since I was in third grade and read "Black Beauty."
- Alex Pappas