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FEATURED MOVER | Dr. Michael J. Harrison, MHBA

Dr. Michael J. Harrison, DVM, was elected president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s board of directors.

Harrison, of Butler in Baltimore County, owns Willowdale Farm and has been a practicing veterinarian for more than 35 years. In addition, he breeds, races and owns Thoroughbreds. His most notable horses include Just Jack, Sassy Love and Talk Show Man.

He served on the MHBA board of directors from 2009 to 2016 and was elected to rejoin the board this year. He has also served as chairman of the association’s legislative committee.

Harrison is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Society for Theriogenology, Maryland Agricultural Resource Council and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. He is also a supporter of the Water Hay Oats Alliance.

Dr. Michael J. Harrison, DVM, president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association's board of directors.

Dr. Michael J. Harrison, DVM, president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s board of directors.


Resides in:

Butler, in northern Baltimore County


Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from University of Florida; Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Washington College

How do you determine the names of your Thoroughbreds?

Naming is truly a family affair. It is often a collaborative effort between the Willowdale Farm employees and our family. Sometimes we try to reference the dam and/or sire names, but more often than not we tend to name our horses in honor of important people in our lives or after a certain personality aspect of the horse.

If you had not chosen veterinary medicine as a profession, what profession would you choose and why?

A toss up here – I probably would have pursued a career in farming, at least part time.

Favorite vacation:

My favorite vacations are the extended family vacation gatherings at the beach – a big Maryland tradition. To be with siblings, children and grandchildren is always a wonderful, relaxing time.

When I want to relax, I …:

I’ve been told I’m a very high-energy person. When I want to relax, I’ll hop on a tractor with a good cigar and mow. Reading a book by a fire is my second choice.

Favorite book:

A recent favorite book is “His Excellency,” an excellent biography of George Washington by Joseph Ellis.

Favorite quotation:

One of my earliest clients, Dr. Edgar Berman, became a good friend and mentor of mine. During some of my visits, he would tell me about his time, as a young surgeon, spent assisting Dr. Albert Schweitzer during his work serving as a doctor to communities throughout Africa. It was through this relationship that I discovered a favorite quote of mine, by Dr. Schweitzer: “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”

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