First printed in the August 2019 Equiery

by Carrie Hull

As I sit down to compose this monthly letter, we are on the eve of one of the most historic congressional votes directly affecting national equine welfare over the last four decades. In fact, this year’s version of the bill was renamed in honor of a US Senator from Maryland.
Horse soring is the act of deliberately causing a horse pain to exaggerate its gait for the purpose of gaining an advantage in competition. H.R. 693 endeavors to further ban the use of chains and stacks in training and showing horses. The bill additionally makes violations a felony and increases penalties with longer jail time and suspension. Enforcement will now be monitored by the USDA, as it will train, assign, and manage the inspectors. Horse show management will still continue to pay for inspectors.

This bill was introduced in the House this year as the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693. Senator Tydings (D-MD) authored the Horse Protection Act of 1970 and worked throughout his entire life to amend and write legislation to ban numerous horse soring tactics and attempt to enforce regulation. Senator Tydings passed away last fall.

Senator Tydings’ lifelong work to eradicate this practice helps demonstrate Maryland’s strong commitment to equine welfare. We carry on his legacy now through our continued grassroots outreach and legislative activities within the state of Maryland.

The Maryland Horse Council also continues this work through the Maryland Equine Transition Service (METS). METS is a statewide initiative, developed to ensure that safe alternatives for horses needing homes are available and accessible to all owners who need the service. This innovative program provides owners with the knowledge and tools to transition their horses successfully either to placement or humane euthanasia.

Thus far, we have received over 200 incoming requests, performed over 110 equine health and behavioral assessments, and transitioned 30 horses (27 placements and 3 cases of humane euthanasia). One of the primary functions of the METS program is to market these horses in need of transition to caring and responsible owners. In just over a year, METS has gathered an army of 1,100 social media followers who share our message and help promote our horses.

None of this work could be made possible without your support! In the print edition of the August 2019 Equiery, you will see a remittance envelope and a wonderful editorial piece on the many successes of METS. We are asking all of our readers and supporters to consider a financial gift to the extremely worthy work of the Maryland Equine Transition Service. Your donation can allow us to provide:

  • $35 One Coggins Test
  • $80 One Dental Float
  • $100 One Assessment Visit
  • $250 Gives one horse a dignified end when quality of life is poor

We encourage each of you to consider a gift to METS at any amount comfortable to you. The continuity of the Maryland Equine Transition Service will depend largely on our generous supporters. Every dollar and donation small or large helps!

Donations can also be made online at or you may reach out to me directly at or 844-MDHORSE.