May 5th Deadline for USA Equestrian Trust’s 2014 Grant Program

There is still time to submit proposals for USA Equestrian Trust’s 2014 grants program. IRS-registered equine non-profit organizations are invited to apply by filling out the online grant application. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, May 5.

In 2013, the Trust awarded nearly $265,000 to help fund more than a dozen projects. The Trust’s financial support has been dedicated largely but not exclusively for initiatives that are productive across several national-level discipline and/or breed boundaries. The Trust welcomes applications for need-based projects and encourages applicants to detail those in their applications. Among the past recipients of Trust funding are:
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Wanted: more attorneys for the new MSBA Ag Law Committee

If you are a Maryland lawyer and you own horses, you need to read this.

If you know of a Maryland lawyer who owns horses, please make sure they read this!

We need all Maryland attorneys who are horse-owners (or livestock owners) to join the Maryland State Bar Association and to join the new Special Committee on Agriculture Law. This new Ag Law committee needs 100 members to become a full-fledged “Section” of the MDBA, and a Section has more influence than just a committee. Currently the Ag Law Committee has 95 members – so only five more are needed! 

New Maryland State Bar Special Committee for Agriculture Law 

It is hard to believe that the Maryland State Bar Association did not already have an ag committee. After all, there is an entire section for animal law, but not for ag law. As regular readers of The Equiery and are aware, the Maryland State Bar Association Animal Law section tends to lean heavily towards animal rights – and towards the idea of horses as pets rather than horses as livestock and farm animals. Yet, there was no ag law committee.

So two Maryland attorneys, who also happen to be horsewomen, decided to do something about the situation.
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The Maryland Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The 434th session of the Maryland General Assembly adjourned a week ago today, Monday, April 7, 2014.  During the 90 day session, 2,672 bills were introduced and 811 were passed. The Governor has begun signing bills into law.

One of the core missions of the Maryland Horse Council is to represent the interests of the equestrian community to the legislators. When finances allow, MHC retains the assistance of a lobbyist, although most of the legislative efforts put forth by the Council are grassroots driven. This year, MHC hired well-known lobbyist Frank Boston.

The Maryland Horse Council fought a long and valiant battle to preserve Safe Sundays for riders and others to enjoy time in the outdoors on Sundays during hunting season without fear of accidental adverse encounters with hunters. MHC testified against a number of Sunday hunting bills, but also testified in support of a bill that would train hunters in certain south counties.

In addition to an aggressive battle against expanded Sunday deer hunting, MHC also testified in support of bills to extend the life of the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), in support of harness racing organization funding, and in support of a bill that could potentially increase opportunities for composting horse manure. MHC submitted testimony in opposition to several bills relating to liability for dog bites, and submitted comments on the Maryland Department of the Environment’s proposal governing Erosion and Sediment Control Plans and Stormwater Management Plans, and their proposed regulations governing composting facilities.

Sunday Deer Hunting: Battles Won, Battles Lost
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Steeplechase Greats Honored with Touch of Class Awards

MHIB Chair Jim Steele presenting Foyle's TOC award to Charles Nowell of Merriefield Farm

MHIB Chair Jim Steele presenting Foyle’s TOC award to Charles Nowell of Merriefield Farm

March 29 marked the start of the spring steeplechase racing season in Maryland with the Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point taking place at Shawan Downs in Cockeysville. During the race meet, five steeplechase greats were honored with Touch of Class awards through the Maryland Horse Industry Board. MHIB Chair Jim Steele was on hand to present the awards. Jockey Mark Beecher (Baltimore County) was honored for his championship 2013 season as the top National Steeplechase Association amateur jockey. Merriefield Farm’s Foyle was honored for being named NSA’s Champion Timber Horse of the Year. He is trained by Bruce Fenwick (Baltimore County). Irv Naylor (Baltimore County) was honored for second time for being NSA Champion Timber Owner. Jack Fisher (Baltimore County) was not present at Green Spring but was also honored as being the NSA champion steeplechase trainer. Finally, Marilyn and Karry Ketts, owners of At Last Farm in Aquasco (Prince George’s County) represented the Maryland-bred Tuscalee, who was recently inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame. Marilyn’s father Al Smith owned Tuscalee.

To read more about Tuscalee, click here.

To keep up on all the steeplechase racing results, subscribe to The Equiery’s Sporting Blog. Sign up here. Its free!
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New Marketing Opportunity for Equine Events

If you organize an equine-related spectator event in Maryland, then you will appreciate the relationship that the Maryland Horse Industry Board has established with the Maryland Office of Tourism. The result of this partnership is a special section on for promoting horse events. It is easy to include your event on the site! First go to
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Why Can’t I find Good Quality Hay and Why Is It So High Priced?

Equiery Hay & Straw Directory 

Do you have enough hay to make it until spring? Many Equiery readers are struggling and hay farmers, if they have any left, are pulling out the old, not so great stuff from the way way back of the sheds. Trying to find a source for 30 or 40 good quality round bales is like trying to arrange a drug deal. No one will reveal their sources! So we asked Maryland’s Dean Emeritus for hay, Les Vough. 

Why Can’t I find Good Quality Hay and Why Is It So High Priced?
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What is going on in Annapolis that will affect the horse industry?

We are halfway through the 2014 Maryland General Assembly 90-day legislative session. March 17 will be “cross-over day,” the last day on which a bill can be approved and voted out of its original chamber and cross over into the other chamber. If bills don’t leave their original committee by this date, it is safe to say that they are dead for this session (although, it is true that some bills do rise from the dead). After the 17th, all the attention will be focused on the bills that survived their original chambers and are now on the opposite side. Session closes on April 9, Sine Die day.

Below are some of the bills
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The march of Sunday deer hunting legislation

Update: On Friday, March 7, the House Environmental Matters Committee will hear the following Sunday deer hunting bills: 

Although it is not on the schedule (at least not yet) for this Friday’s hearing, because SB 473 (All Sundays Mid-Oct to Mid-Jan for Allegany, Washington, Garrett AND Frederick) has been passed by the Senate and crossed into the House into this Committee, obviously Frederick County residents are likewise encouraged to attend.


For those who want to ride on Sundays from October through January, below is a quick update on the status of bills to add more Sundays to the deer hunting schedules in Maryland.

Click here for a list of all hunting legislation, and to monitor status, sponsors, amendments etc.

To read the bills, monitor legislation, check on hearing dates or find out who voted and how they voted, click here for the homepage for the Maryland General Assembly and then enter the bill number in the search field.

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Anne Arundel Sundays October through mid-January, Private Lands

HB 197 (Sponsor by Del. Costa); Cross-filed SB 191 (Sponsored by Sen. Reilly)
Currently, Anne Arundel County allows hunting on two Sundays; this bill would allow DNR to offer deer hunting on all Sundays from October through the second Sunday in January.
HB 197 hasn’t gone beyond the hearing in the House Environmental Matters Committee on Jan. 29; may be stalled in committee. On the Senate side,  SB  191 has likewise barely moved. Hearings on the bill have been cancelled. Next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4.


Allegany, Garrett & Washington Counties: All Game, All Sundays, Public & Private Land

HB 406 (Sponsored by Del. Beitzel, Kelly Myers. Parrott and Serafini); Crossfiled with SB 472 (Sponsored by Sen. Edwards, Shank and Young)
Introduced on Jan. 24, the House bill just received a hearing date (Environmental Matters): Fri. March 7.  Meanwhile, an amended version (regarding waterfowl) did receive a favorable report with amendments from the Senate Committee for Education, Health & Environmental Affairs on Feb. 18, and passed out of the Senate on Feb. 24. It will now cross over to the House.


Allegany, Garrett & Washington Counties: Deer Only; All Sundays Oct. – mid Jan, Public & Private Land

HB 432 Sponsored by Del. Beitzel, Kelly Myers. Parrott and Serafini)
Like its sister bill, HB 406, this bill was introduced on Jan. 24 and just received a hearing date (Environmental Matters): Fri. March 7 at 1 p.m.
However, its cross-filed cousin has taken on a life of its own…

Allegany, Garrett & Washington Counties: Deer Only; All Sundays Oct. – mid Jan, Public & Private Land – AMENDED TO INCLUDE FREDERICK COUNTY

SB 473 (Sponsored by Sen. Edwards, Shank and Young) left committee, after being amended to include Frederick County, with a favorable report and was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, February 25, and has now crossed over to the House Environmental Matters Committee.


Harford County: Adding two muzzleloader days in January

HB 669 (Sponsored by Del. Glass); Was introduced on Jan. 31 and has not been assigned a hearing date. This bill is not cross-filed.


State-wide: All Sundays during Bow Season

HB 671 (Sponsored by Del. Glass); Was heard on Feb. 12 in the House Environmental Matters Committee; no action since.


State-wide All Sundays from October through mid-January

HB 890 (Sponsored by Del. O’Donnell & Holmes); this has not gone beyond first reading in the House Environmental Matters Committee. There is no hearing scheduled, and sometimes that is a good sign that the bill is being ignored. 

USDA to Host Maryland Meeting March 3 on Quarantine Centers

The United States Department of Agriculture-Animal Plant Health Inspection Service will hold six meetings across the country to hear the public’s thoughts and concerns on import quarantine centers and the services they provide to all animals, including horses. This is an opportunity for the horse industry to comment on possible changes that can be made to better facilitate the importation of horses and semen.

During the meetings, APHIS will be asking users to respond to the following questions:

The Maryland meeting will be held March 3, 2014 at the APHIS headquarters in Riverdale (4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737). For more information, please call 301-851-3454.

Cecil County Commissions ambivalent about joining the “Maryland Horse Park System”

In a move that surprises no one who survived the Cecil County Horse Park debates almost decade ago, the Cecil County Council (according to the Cecil Whig) barely passed (3 to 2) a vote in favor of supporting Fair Hill’s formal inclusion in the “Maryland Horse Park System.”

What is ironic is that Fair Hill already is part of Maryland’s system of horse parks. There is nothing substantial about this label that would alter Fair Hill as we know it. The label merely codifies what is already a reality: that Maryland has a robust system of horse parks throughout the state. Giving this network a formal name (The Maryland Horse Park System) simply enables a cohesive marketing approach, so that the Maryland Horse Industry Board can market the entire state as an alternative venue to Kentucky or Florida.


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