by Neil Agate (first appeared in the May 2018 Equiery)
Welcome to the 5th edition of The Equiery since the Maryland Horse Council and The Equiery became one organization in January. We have a couple of important activities coming up that I’d like to highlight in the Maryland horse community. As we get closer to the launch of the Maryland Equine Transition Service (METS), it is very exciting to see the progress that has been made in the last three months since the inception of the program through a grant from the Right Horse Initiative. This grant is the primary funding source for the first three years of METS.
For those not familiar with our METS project, here’s what this innovative new program will do. For anyone in Maryland with a horse that – for whatever reason – needs to transition to different circumstances, METS will provide a phone number to call to initiate a range of services that will ease that transition. In most cases, once the initial call is made, our METS director will meet with the horse owner and complete a basic evaluation of the horse. At that point, recommendations will be made for options for the horse’s future. In most cases this will be a specific plan on how to market/present the horse to people within the METS Network.
The METS Network will be comprised of those farms, rescues and trainers who are interested in helping these horses find new homes. The METS Steering Committee has been working very hard with our team of Jennifer Purcell (Program Consultant) and Brittney Carow (Program Director) to develop the structure of the program and how it will operate. We will be hosting a series of “Meet METS” sessions around the state over the next two months. Please check out this list of dates/locations and try to attend a session to learn more about this ground-breaking program:
May 16, 2018 – Frederick County Extension (10 a.m.)
May 23, 2018 – SMADC, Hughesville (10 a.m.)
May 29, 2018 – Laurel Racetrack (5 p.m.)
May 31, 2018 – Tuckahoe Equestrian Center (10 a.m.)
June 4, 2018 – Baltimore County Ag. Center (10 a.m.)
June 5, 2018 – MD Dept. of Ag, Annapolis (10 a.m.)
Please check the events calendar on www.mdhorsecouncil.org for location addresses.
Over the last several years the Executive Committee has discussed the need to update the strategic plan for the Maryland Horse Council. There have been many significant changes in the Maryland horse community since our last strategic plan was completed 10+ years ago. Last year, as part of our continuing GoPro initiative, we began to focus on the important role of the strategic plan in defining the major initiatives we would undertake as part of MHC’s future. We have now started the Strategic Planning process that will get into full swing over this summer.
The first stage is to survey the entire horse community in Maryland about what they (you) want the Maryland Horse Council to be. As I write this column, we have just finalized the survey questions and are in the process of setting up the online survey in preparation for distributing it to as many people as possible over the next few weeks. So when you see an email or social media post about the survey, please click on it and complete the survey, and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same!
Regardless of the results of the Strategic Plan, we all know that we need to grow the Maryland Horse Council in many different ways in order for it to flourish long into the future and support the current growth in the horse industry in Maryland. For this we need your help. We need to get more involvement from the community in everything we do from, increasing our membership and sponsors, to increasing our readership and advertisers, to increasing our volunteers and board member participation. So get involved, encourage your barn mates to read The Equiery, join the Maryland Horse Council, help us by patronizing our advertisers and sponsors (and tell them you learned about them through The Equiery/MHC).
Put May 29th on your calendar for our next quarterly meeting. Our hosts will be the Maryland Jockey Club at the recently renovated Laurel Park. In addition to the meeting at 6 p.m., we will also be hosting a Meet METS session beforehand at 5 p.m. Check the website for more details.
Thank you for your continued support of the Maryland horse industry. If you have any questions about the Maryland Horse Council, any of our activities or to volunteer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.