by Kimberly K. Egan and Corinne M. Pouliquen (first published in the January 2022 Equiery)

Happy New Year! We not only made it through another challenging COVID year, but we also managed to accomplish much in 2021.

We closed out the year with our virtual Annual Meeting on November 30, 2021, which included a vibrant happy hour discussion on “How COVID Grew My Business” with Jennifer Allen of J. Allen & Associates, Stephanie Williams of Clover Luck Stables, and Shoshana Haag of Brandywine Carriage Tours and Windmill Equestrian. All three guests had excellent advice to share with the attendees.

Board of Directors Election Results
We announced the results of our Board of Directors election at the Annual Meeting. We are pleased to welcome Alejandra Abella; Amy Burk, Ph.D. (returning); Rachel Cezar-Martinez, DVM; JoAnn Dawson; Michael Erskine, DVM (returning); Laura Lane-Unsworth; Rachann Mayer; and John Nunn to the MHC Board starting in July 2022. Our new and returning Board members hail from multiple disciplines and multiple geographic areas, and each brings valuable professional skills to our organization. We thank them all in advance for their time and dedication to the MHC.

New Policy Position on Snare Traps
Another item on the Annual Meeting agenda was snare traps. The death of an escaped zebra in an illegal snare trap in Prince George’s county reminded all of us how indiscriminate and inhumane snare traps can be, yet they are banned in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties only. Every year, MHC successfully opposes bills that attempt to make it legal to use, sell, possess, or set snare traps. After a brief discussion, the board voted unanimously to support the following policy position on snare traps:

The Maryland Horse Council supports a ban on the use of snare traps (as defined in Nat. Res. 10-410(p)(1)), anywhere in the state of Maryland.

Logo Competition
MHC is getting a facelift! The MHC has had the same logo for about 20 years, and we think it is time for a fresh and inviting new look to update our image. No better way to celebrate the New Year than with a new logo! We launched our newest logo contest on December 1 and the details for the contest can be found here The deadline is January 31, 2022, so don’t delay! Submit your entries now!

Maryland Sport Horse Committee
In other news, we have created a Maryland Sport Horse Committee to focus on the “whole life” of our exceptional equine athletes and performance horses — from Thoroughbreds (Maryland’s state horse) and Standardbreds on the racing circuit; to warmblood dressage and show jumping stars; to the all-breeds-welcome world of eventing; to the stock horse heroes of polocrosse; to horses who excel in driving, reining, barrel racing and rodeo, competitive trail riding, endurance riding, and beyond.

One of the projects on the Sport Horse Committee’s to-do list is to create a Maryland Sport Horse Registry. Any Maryland-bred with a competition record of any kind–or any Maryland-bred who has produced a horse with a competition record of any kind–will be eligible for inclusion in the registry. Our goal is to brand “Maryland Sport Horses” as top quality athletes and thus support the substantial, world class breeding and training operations here in Maryland.

New Equiery Features
The Equiery is excited to announce the addition of two new columns: The Trails & Greenways column and the Farm Stewardship column.

Trails & Greenways Column: Starting with this issue, The Equiery will feature the most popular equestrian trail in a specific county, including places to ride, where to park, where to camp, where to find good eats, etc. We plan to feature all 23 counties over the next 2 years, and we will go in reverse alphabetical order. This issue features Assateague Island in Worcester County, and we are pleased to be able to publish a guest editorial by Peggy Sisson, a visitor from Ohio who sought our assistance in designing the perfect equestrian camping trip and who appears to have had a marvelous time. The February issue will cover the Wicomico Forest Complex in Wicomico County.

Farm Stewardship Column: The Farm Stewardship column will highlight horse farms with successful farm stewardship practices, provide guidance on using best management practices, provide information on how to obtain agricultural and conservation easements for horse farms, share agricultural cost share program information with the horse community, and address many other farm stewardship topics.

New Equiery Products
New Events Classifieds: The Equiery has begun a new classified advertisement section to include upcoming events. Our events classified are free for MHC sponsors, Equiery advertisers, and Industry Professional members. For everyone else they are $5 per listing. The events classifieds will run the month in which the event will be held.

We will continue to offer free help wanted classifieds as part of our COVID relief efforts, and we will do so until further notice.

New Digital Marketing Services: The Equiery is now offering a suite of digital marketing services for advertisers who run display ads, including geofencing, geotargeting, and digital remarketing.
Geofencing allows us to draw a virtual perimeter around a real-world, target-rich location for our advertisers. We then serve digital advertising to the devices of anyone who enters that virtual perimeter. We also incorporate keywords into the algorithm to prioritize people who have recently used certain terms in an on-line search. Geofencing is an excellent option for show organizers trying to target potential entrants, retail operations trying to target potential customers, and associations trying to promote a giving campaign or fundraising effort.

In addition, geotargeting and digital remarketing allow us to serve ads to: (i) curated audiences that meet certain criteria (age, languages spoken, sports interests, etc.); (ii) visitors to an advertiser’s website; and (iii) people who have searched on similar keywords or who have similar demographic characteristics.
These services have double the click-through rate of platform-based marketing promotions and increase exponentially the reach of a marketing campaign. They allow an advertiser to escape the echo chamber that plagues traditional social media platforms.

Members and Supporters
And last but not least, we would be remiss if we did not thank you, our members, advertisers, sponsors, and distributors, for your support in 2021. We could not have done what we did without you. Your membership dues, advertising revenue, sponsorships, and distribution locations drive this organization. We look forward to your continued support so that we can achieve even greater things in 2022!