Horses are a part of the fabric of Maryland, deeply woven into our heritage and history. Those of us who are lucky enough to be involved with horses understand that most of the public is inspired by the horse and what it represents, and that growing the strength and vitality of our industry is possible and worthwhile.
Consider who we are. According to the 2010 Equine Census, we are 28,340 people with 81,000 horses on 16,040 properties that comprise 587,000 acres. Our assets are $5.6 billion, our direct operating expenses are $363 million, and our economic impact has never been accurately measured, but is in the billions. We are every breed and every discipline in the horse world, and we are the place where many of those disciplines began in these United States.
This is where the Horse Council comes in. Established in 1985, MHC seeks to unify, inform, and represent Maryland’s diverse horse community. As the industry’s state legislative representative and trade association, MHC protects and promotes the horse industry by providing a united voice in the Maryland state legislature and state agencies, by interacting with the media and the general public, and by keeping its members informed on issues that affect them and their horses.
One of MHC’s main missions is lobbying, i.e., being the voice of Maryland’s horse people in the State legislature as well as before the regulatory agencies. Over the years, MHC has had numerous lobbying successes, for example: successfully advancing legislation that created the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) within the Department of Agriculture. The MHIB serves as a commodity board that promotes the horse industry and licenses stables in Maryland; enacting state law that recognizes equine facilities and equine activities as part of “agriculture,” thereby ensuring the many benefits and protections that follow from inclusion in that definition. We have worked diligently to preserve safe Sundays by trying to prevent the spread of hunting on Sundays. We have weighed in on numerous pieces of proposed legislation involving environmental regulation, civil liability for horse related injuries and dog bites, funding for land preservation programs, etc. With the hiring of the distinguished Frank D. Boston III, as our lobbyist, MHC stands prepared to be even more vocal and effective in Annapolis. If you have an issue or concern that involves state law or regulation, please let us know about it!
What We Are:
The Maryland Horse Council is a volunteer, grassroots membership organization with one part-time administrator and annual dues and sponsorship revenue of about $30,000. We have 40 Association members that represent some 30,000 people between them, plus Business members, Farm members, Charity/Foundation members, and Individual members. Our Board of Directors includes a representative from each of our associations, plus elected representatives from each of the other four membership categories. Our Executive Committee and officers are elected by the Board.
What We Do:
The primary mission of MHC is to represent the interests of Maryland’s horse community to state government, but we do more than that. We have a Save The Horse Farms campaign operating in many counties to overcome unfair zoning and permitting laws. We have a Farm Stewardship committee working to promote and expand the role that horse farms play in protecting the environment. Our Unwanted Horse Project created the Maryland Fund For Horses. We have a Political Action Committee to fund horse- friendly candidates for public office. We have a Committee to Support Racing and a Trails and Greenways Committee. We have an MHC Business Network. And, of course, we have a Legislative Committee that coordinates our grassroots lobbying. MHC also participates in the Maryland Farm Bureau and the American Horse Council’s Coalition of State Horse Councils.
How to Get Involved:
Like all primarily volunteer membership organizations, we constantly work to grow. Without dues-paying members, we would not exist. Without people willing to take on leadership roles, we would be silent.
We hope that you will join or renew your dues, encourage your friends to join our work, come to our Quarterly meetings, and look through our web site to see where you can lend your talents to what we are doing.
Keep in mind that a Farm, a Business or a Charity/Foundation membership allows you to participate in the Business Network and puts your farm or business name in our online membership directory.
We look forward to working with you in service to the horse and Maryland’s equestrian community,