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Morgan Leadline Classes Now Require Protective Headgear

On March 21, the USEF Executive Committee approved an Extraordinary Rule Change for the Morgan Division of the USEF Rule Book. Extraordinary Rule Changes simply mean that once passed, the rule becomes effective immediately.  The rule only effect the Leadline division, now stating that all exhibitors in those classes must wear protective headgear at all times while mounted. The rule change was put forward by the board of the American Morgan Horse Association just weeks after the USEF passed similar protective headgear rule changes for the disciplines of Dressage and Eventing. AMHA is also considering proposing that exhibitors in Walk/Trot classes wear protective headgear as well, but this change is still being discussed among the association. USEF President David O’Connor stated, “We applaud the American Morgan Horse Association for this bold, forward-thinking move.” The Equiery wants to know what you think! Do you think more breed associations should follow AMHA’s example? Email and we’ll add your comments to the article “The Death of the Top Hat” on our...

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Maintaining Trail Funding

Many Maryland equestrian trail projects have benefited from federal funds through the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP), which is set to expire and must be re-authorized in the next national surface transportation program (highway) bill. Chances are good that the trails you ride on have received some of this funding via the Maryland Department of Transportation. A “Dear Colleague” letter in support of RTP is being circulated by Congressmen Petri (R-WI) and Michaud (D-ME). (View Dear Colleague Letter) The American Horse Council urges you to Call or Email your Representative and ask them to sign the Dear Colleague letter in support of RTP being circulated by Congressmen Petri and Michaud. The deadline for your Member of Congress to sign the letter is Thursday, April 14. Since its inception RTP has provided money for thousands of state and local trail projects across the country, including many that benefit equestrians.  RTP provides funding directly to the states for recreational trails and trail-related facilities for all recreational trail users. The current highway bill that funds RTP has been extend until September 30, 2011. However, RTP will have to be included in the next highway bill the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is currently writing. Now is the time to let your member of Congress know RTP is important to you, equestrians and all trail users around the country. Call or email them...

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Race Track Renewal Funds & The Future of Bowie

There are now only 3 days left, as the 2011 Maryland General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on Monday, April 11. In March, we reported on the progress of a bill of tremendous interest to anyone associated in any way with racing in Maryland, be they horsemen, track owners, vets, farriers, breeders or fans: the Race Track Renewal Fund. The general media has referred to this bill as “another race subsidy,” which is rather unfair, as all this bill does is to allow certain slot funds (which are currently, by law, allocated to race track capital improvements) to be used (under limited and certain circumstances) for track operating costs. HB 1039 and SB 848 are considered “Governor’s bills,” as they were submitted, respectively, by the Speaker of the House and the Speaker of the Senate at the request of the administration – and it is important for Equiery readers to understand that this legislation has the full support of the Governor, as well as a wide variety of racing interests. On March 26, the House passed a heavily amended version of the bill. The amendments include creating an oversight commission on racing (yes, dear readers, there already is an oversight commission on racing, created by law, and called “The Maryland Racing Commission;” this amendment would provide another layer of oversight, with this commission made up of elected officials who would...

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Government Shutdown Could Impact Horse Industry

The American Horse Council reports at this time Congress has failed to come to an agreement regarding a bill to fund the government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.  The current Continuing Resolution funding the government is set to expire at midnight tonight.  If an agreement is not reached by that time non-essential government operations, many that impact the horse industry and equestrians, could cease.  Should a shutdown occur, it could impact the U.S Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) response to disease outbreaks, procedures for the import and export of horses, recreation on federal land, and temporary worker programs. At this time, government agencies are still working on their shutdown plans and determining essential and non-essential operations. USDA One of the cornerstones of the U.S. horse industry includes the import and export of domestic and foreign horses on both a permanent and temporary basis.  The horse industry relies on USDA to maintain and operate import, export, and quarantine facilities for horses traveling into and out of the U.S.  It is unclear at this time whether USDA will deem all, part, or none of these import, export, and quarantine services to be essential and therefore continue to operate in the event of a government shutdown. USDA is also responsible for the enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA), and because the HPA is related to law enforcement activities it...

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1099 Reporting Requirement Headed for Repeal

The American Horse Council reports that on Monday, April 5, 2011, the U.S. Senate passed a repeal of the new 1099 reporting requirement. The House approved the same 1099 repeal bill (H.R 4), introduced by Congressman Lungren (R-CA), earlier this year. The President is expected to sign the bill into law in the next several days.  This will head off an increase in tax related paper work for horse businesses in 2012. The 1099 paperwork mandate was a provision of the health care bill passed last year that would have imposed burdensome new tax reporting requirements on every business in the U.S., including those in the horse industry, beginning in 2012. The bill repeals only the new broader reporting requirements.  Businesses will still have to send 1099s to independent contractors as current law requires. The AHC supported repeal of the new 1099 reporting requirement. Background The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Health Care Bill”) that was signed into law last year included a provision broadly-expanding 1099 IRS form reporting requirements starting in 2012.  Current law requires 1099s to be sent to any independent contractor that receives $600 or more from a business in a year.  The new provision would have required, starting in 2012, that 1099s be sent not only to independent contractors but also to any individual or corporation from whom a business purchased a total of...

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The Maryland Legislative Session is about to end; which bills will become law?

APRIL 6, 2011: 5 DAYS & COUNTING The 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly will formally adjourn on Monday, April 11. What gets done is done; what isn’t gets scrapped and it is back to the drawing board.  If a bill has not been voted on by both chambers by April 11, then it is officially dead, the reset button has been hit and supporters will have to submit new bills for 2012. When the April print edition of The Equiery went to press, very little had changed from the early and mid-March updates here on our news blog. But by the last week of March, things were rockin’ and rollin’. Below is a quick update on the status of some of the legislation we have been following this year. If we included something in March and you don’t see it here, it is safe to say that nothing has happened with it, and that it is unlikely that anything will happen with it at this point (but you never know in politics).  However, racing-related legislation is not included in today’s summary; look for it on later this week. Click here for the list of March news blog articles on Sunday Hunting As of Wednesday, April 6, 2011, the only Sunday Hunting bill that looks like it still has legs is Senate Bill 468, which passed...

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