by Carrie Hull, Equiery Publisher & MHC Executive Director (first published in the March 2020 Equiery)
Over the last 35 years, the Maryland Horse Council (MHC) has made a significant impact in the state’s equine industry and larger community. During this anniversary year, MHC is celebrating these achievements and outlining its future as “One Common Voice” for our members and their interests. In this issue, The Equiery editor Katherine Rizzo details over three decades of history of the Maryland Horse Council. Much of this history lies in the archives of The Equiery. The Equiery started printing the official Maryland Horse Council newsletter in 1992. Twenty-six years later, the Maryland Horse Council acquired The Equiery which now functions as both our voice and yours.
MHC has worked for you in Annapolis since the mid-1980s. Our legislative work still remains our number one priority.
This year, we were proud to find sponsors for several bills supporting our increased equine welfare efforts. MHC members may remember taking a legislative survey last summer in which we asked you to prioritize those issues most important to you. Equine welfare topped the list and we worked throughout the fall pulling together sponsors and bills that would effect legislative change and help our Maryland horses.
Helping our Maryland horses is, in fact, a reinvigorated theme for the Maryland Horse Council. With the advent of the Maryland Equine Transition Service in 2018 and increased member interest in welfare initiatives, the Maryland Horse Council opted to create a charitable arm and we are announcing in this issue the creation of the Maryland Horse Council Foundation (MHCF). The Maryland Horse Council Foundation operates as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, so donations to the Foundation can be tax deductible, benefiting both you and Maryland horses. The primary program of MHCF is the Maryland Equine Transition Service (METS). The mission will remain the same: helping us help Maryland’s horses. METS has made a substantial impact in the lives of at-risk Maryland horses needing transition. Since its inception in August 2018, METS has helped ease the transitions of over 117 horses to new, safe situations. These are 117 horses who might possibly have met another fate.
MHC was the first horse council in the United States, and still the only horse council, to support the S.A.F.E. Act, pending federal legislation to prohibit shipping horses to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered. MHC recognized the corresponding need to create safe alternatives for horses that, for many reasons, may end up at-risk. The Maryland Horse Council Foundation will continue to fulfill the METS mission as a statewide initiative, developed and supported by the equine industry, to ensure that safe alternatives for horses needing homes are available and accessible to all owners who need the service.
But we need your help! This month, in conjunction with the launch of our anniversary celebrations, we launch our official campaign to help fund ongoing operations of this program. Be on the lookout for communications about both our anniversary and ways you can help support the new Maryland Horse Council Foundation.
We would also like to thank all of our long-term Maryland Horse Council partners and financial sponsors including current Platinum sponsor and exclusive barn builder, B&D Builders. We also thank MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Maryland Jockey Club, MARBIDCO, Maryland Horse Breeders Association, The Right Horse Initiative (now a program of the ASPCA), Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Days End Farm Horse Rescue, Agape Pet Services, Maryland Horse Industry Board, Stablemates, The Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy… just to name a few!
Did you receive our latest legislative update? The Maryland Horse Council typically monitors over 50 bills annually that may affect our state horse community, everything from minimum wage bills for our farm workers to anti-harassment bills for our working horses. Become a member today and receive these updates throughout the legislative session. Sine die is April 6th this year and there is still so much work to be done! Email Executive Director Carrie Hull at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive our most recent update.