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Category: Legislation & Regulation

Maryland Horse Council to “Go Big”

As president Steuart Pittman has quipped, the time has come for the Maryland Horse Council to “go big or go home,” and so, in order to “go big,” MHC is looking to “go pro” by partnering with a professional association management firm. MHC was founded 30 years ago specifically for the purpose of influencing legislators to create a horse park; that horse park is the Prince George’s Equestrian Center. By the time it was five years old, MHC had shifted to a statewide mission: to represent the diverse horse industry at the state level on legislative and regulatory matters. Since the mid-90s, membership and activities have skyrocketed, and as current president Jane Seigler explains, “We’ve kind of become a victim of our own success.” Until 10 years ago, MHC was managed completely by volunteers (disclaimer: for about 15 years, The Equiery actually provided the management services for MHC, and is an ongoing sponsor of MHC). By 2006, MHC had outgrown The Equiery’s ability to manage it as a “volunteer” (i.e., donating our labor and our resources), and so MHC hired its first association manager, Vanessa Finney, who also worked part time for several other associations. Soon one of those associations snapped her up full time. MHC lobbyist Nancy Hill helped bridge the gap until Mythic Landing Enterprises was hired to provide administrative services. This was during the presidency of Steuart Pittman, and...

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The Baltimore Sun accuses Governor Hogan of using horse facility as a political pawn?

The Baltimore Sun recently accused Governor Hogan of using the horses industry as a political pawn; click here to read the Sun’s editorial on the Maryland Board of Public Works denial of $2.3 million in Program Open Space funding to build an indoor equestrian facility at the Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park in Hunt Valley. Is he really? This editorial certainly makes Gov. Hogan sound unfriendly to our industry. In the opinion of The Equiery, Hogan’s administration has been quite supportive of reasonable projects related to our industry, including the effort by the Maryland Horse Industry Board (which is housed within the Maryland Department of Agriculture) and the Maryland Stadium Authority to build a Maryland Horse Park Network by enhancing our existing facilities. Governor Hogan also restored funding to Program Open Space, a critical initiative for land preservation, one that is near and dear to the equestrian community. In reading the Sun’s editorial, we feel that the Sun is perhaps using the horse industry as a political pawn, and not Governor Hogan. It is rather inflammatory and illogical to tar any Governor or legislative leader as “anti” anything when funding for a project is not approved. Sometimes the the intent of the project is good, but the economics of it could be better. Perhaps the source for the requested funding is not appropriate, and there are other sources. Such is often the...

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Kudos for the WSSC

The Equiery has run editorials critical of WSSC (the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which 6,000 acres around the Patuxent watershed), so – in the spirit of the holiday season, we thought it appropriate to run kudos to WSSC! Below, longtime Equiery reader Debby Poole expresses her appreciation to the employees of the WSSC. I wanted to thank the WSSC watershed manager, Eddie Franceschi for another fantastic year of riding the beautiful equestrian trails on the WSSC. I moved to Burtonsville, Maryland onto Belle Cote Drive when I was 15 years old. I got my first horse when I turned...

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How Efforts To Stop Big Lick Soring Could Affect You & Your Sport Horse

Think efforts to stop the soring techniques used by a small handful of horse trainers in the deep south to produce the exaggerate “big lick” of Tennessee Walking Horses doesn’t affect you? Think again – AND thank your farrier, if your farrier happens to be a member of the American Farrier Association. And never forget the mantra, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Living in a state adjacent to our nation’s capital, most Marylanders are accustomed to the current ongoing debate within serious media: the creation of laws via the legislative process vs. the making of...

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Attn Horse Biz Owners: What you need to know about your cash bank deposits.

  The article below is about what happened to a Maryland dairy farmer after the I.R.S. seized their operating capital, legally earned money, under a ostensible crime called “structuring” – but it could happen to you. If you buy or sell horses for cash, or regularly make bank deposits just under $10,000 each, read on to find out how the Maryland Farm Bureau is working hard to keep the IRS from seizing your lawfully earned income. Funds Returned to Local Farmers By Valerie Connelly, executive director of the Maryland Farm Bureau Another Maryland Farm Bureau policy was achieved this summer with the announcement that the IRS will finally return money seized from local farmers in a “structuring” nightmare that began in 2012. The seizure of bank accounts that year was so offensive to Maryland Farm Bureau members that our voting delegates wrote policy calling on the federal government to stop using its structuring law – that was intended to stop terrorists – as a means of stealing thousands of dollars from hard working farmers. MFB delegates successfully passed our policy at the AFBF national convention. Then we worked with Rep. Andy Harris of the 1st Congressional District to introduce legislation. Four years later, following numerous hearings by the House Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee and work by groups inside and outside of Farm Bureau, the IRS agreed to return...

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Maryland Legislative March Madness!

Caroline County Sunday Hunting, Animal Crime Penalties, Arabian Racing, Open Space & Preservation, Compounding of Vet Drugs A key date in the ninety-day session of the Maryland General Assembly is “cross-over day;” this is the day that if a bill is not voted out of its original house, so that it can “cross-over” to the opposite chamber for debate, it is effectively dead for this year. 2016 cross-over day was March 21; the 2016 legislative session will officially adjourn on April 11 (also known as “sine die”), and so – as you read this, there is a rush of...

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