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MHC Legislative Blog

It’s an election year, and the Horse Council PAC supports state legislative officials and candidates who are proponents of the horse industry, primarily through financial contributions. We need your help now with donations to help us become even more effective.  DONATE NOW

Your donations will help to ensure that candidates who are supportive of our issues obtain and retain their seats.

Our supported officials have listened to us and helped pass legislation to:

  • Protect animal welfare
  • Maintain open space and Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation programs
  • Promote equine business operations and educational equine programs
  • Strengthen Maryland Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing
  • Improve benefits for our backstretch workers and jockeys
  • Stop expanded Sunday hunting
  • Implement effective deer management controls

Click HERE to learn more reasons why this support is vital to the industry.

Can you help us with a contribution of just $1/a week ($52)? Donations of any amount are gratefully accepted. Our legislators have been there for us when we needed them; now it’s our turn to be there for them in what will be some hotly contested election battles.

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Published in News
Jane Thery
Chair, Maryland Horse Council Farm Stewardship Commitee
 
The composting study group held a meeting on May 17, 2018.  I was in Montreal for a conference but called in to participate.

The primary meeting topic was to look at the composting and anaerobic digest-ers regulations in Maryland and other states.  As at the last meeting, the discussion had two basic elements:  protection of clean water and air around composting facilities and promoting the use of composting to recycle nutrients and minimize land fill use. 

An encouraging line of discussion for horse farms is to design user-friendly rules for operations at which composting is not the main commercial business.  This would include horse farms, wineries and breweries who are composting material on-site.  
 
Two pieces of news are that the mid-Atlantic's largest composting facility is opening in Prince Georges County.  So far it is under development and oriented toward food waste composting.  Also, the Maryland Environmental Services composting operation known for its LeafPro product made from composted leaves collected through state/county-funded pick up, composted in facilities such as the one in Dickerson, Montgomery County, and sold commercially at Home Depot, Lowes, etc. is adding a new product called LeafProGold that would include other compost-able material.

One of the people who spoke at the meeting is Edward Dexter who has worked on solid waste, recycling and organic compounds in the state since 1980.  A small meeting with him and our Farm Stewardship team might help move the policy forward to promote quality composting, compost use and compost sales from horse manure.
His contact information is:

Staff: Edward M. Dexter (410) 537-3318; e-mail: ed.dexter@maryland.gov

Appointed by Secretary of the Environment:
Edward M. Dexter, Chair
Linda Andrews; Valerie S. Androutsopoulos; Brent R. Dilts; Michael Ensor; Bruce Giordano; Pamela Metz Kasemeyer, Esq.; Leslie Knapp, Jr.; Nicholas G. Manis; Lori Scozzafava; Christopher W. Skaggs; David Smith; Michael J. Taylor; Paul Tharp; Steven G. Tomczewski.

All documents discussed, including a white paper on the composting regulations in other states, is available at this link:
The next meeting is scheduled for July 19, 2018.
Go composting !
 
Contact information: Jane Thery; theryjane@gmail.com202-527-2145
Published in Farm Stewardship

The Federal government has agreed to allow 15,000 additional foreign workers to enter the country for farm and ag jobs, among others. Click here for more info from the American Horse Council.

Published in Legislative

NewsQuote1NewsQuote2
This past month, the METS staff took to the road, traveling the state to meet with equine professionals and organizations to share information about the program. So far, the feedback has been very positive, and we’ve received great suggestions! 

METS is new; no state has taken on such an endeavor, and the suggestions, questions, and feedback received by Network Members will be used to improve the program so that we can best serve the horses of Maryland.  What should you know?

  • We keep horses in transition from becoming at risk
  • There are NO COSTS to become a METS Network member
  • METS will contact you with horses that meet your interests/criteria
  • There is NO OBLIGATION to ever take a horse

There are several benefits for Network Members, too.

Benefits to Network Members

  • Acquiring good horses for no or low cost
  • Option to sell after rehab or training
  • Free/reduced price ads in the Equiery
  • Positive stories and potential media coverage
  • Invitations to special events

Benefits of METS

  • Reduces risk for horses in transition
  • Gives owners a single place to go when they need help
  • Lightens the burden placed on rescues and law enforcement agencies
  • Educates and enlightens community about horses in transition

Still Not Sure?

Read why Steuart Pittman, owner of Dodon Farm Training Center, chose to be involved with METS since the beginning…

“Bringing people together to create METS has been the easiest and the most important contribution that I have made to the horse industry.

It was easy because the right people came together at the right time with the right idea. It was a natural extension of everything that each of us had done in our lives, and it was the logical next step for Maryland's horse industry, which has always been a step ahead of the rest of the country.

All of us who are part of this industry can be a part of METS, and we should, just as we should be a part of Maryland Horse Council. The rewards await you.”

Will You Join Us?

Just “click here” to reach us.  We’ll contact you and answer any questions you have.

If you prefer, call Brittney Carow, the METS Director, at 410-489-7475.

Published in News

The results of the MD Horse Community Survey are in.  The MHC will be using these results to inform its strategic planning process and will share results of specific items over the next several months.

Designed to collect information from all segments of the equine industry/horse community, the survey asked questions about personal and industry-wide challenges, MHC benefits, communications and programs, as well as basic demographics. The survey was available from April 17, 2018, to May 5, 2018, and was completed by 625 respondents representing almost every Maryland county, riding discipline, and member organization. 

We asked respondents to tell us what they believe will be the most critical issues facing the MD horse industry/equestrian community in the next five years. Over 500 people (n=506) responded.  Each response was categorized and tallied, then named to represent eleven overall themes.

The graphic shows each theme sized in proportion to the number of times it was mentioned by respondents.

SurveyBubble

Recorded 247 times, the issue of land was clearly the biggest concern. Respondents listed loss of space to ride and keep horses, development, land use and preservation, access to trails, and the rising costs of land. 

Welfare took second place in this survey with 118 comments related to neglect, slaughter, unwanted horses, the increased need for rescues and owner education, end-of-life options, and general welfare.  

Other themes included:

Decreased Interest in the Industry (84)

Costs / Finances (62)

Horse Overpopulation (47)

Regulations (45)

Business Issues (32) – labor and taxes the highest at 11 and 6, respectively

Safety (30) – split almost evenly between hunters and disease outbreaks

Racing (22)

Environment / Farm Stewardship (17)

Other (9)

Responses were separated to determine if MHC members and non-members had different opinions about these issues. Non-members listed rising costs in general, lack of interest in the industry, transportation regulations, and welfare (non-specified) more times than members.  MHC members, however, cited more specific welfare concerns, such as access to euthanasia, as well as zoning regulations, labor issues, and the costs of keeping horses and welfare initiatives.  All other issues were identified at similar rates across the groups.   

If you have any questions about these results, contact Jennifer Purcell at jennifer@mdhorsecouncil.org.

Published in News

NEWSFLASH!!!!   METS Coordinator: Applications due June 15th

Join the Team
Are you interested in helping owners find safe transition options for their horses?   Would you like to decrease the risk of Maryland horses going to slaughter? MHC/METS are looking for a full-time program coordinator who demonstrates compassion, professionalism, and integrity; possesses excellent communication and organizational skills, and has the passion to be a part of this new statewide initiative.  For more information, visit https://mdequinetransition.org/now-hiring-full-time-program-coordinator/

Meet the Team

Jack and Jen webMHC Interim Executive Director:  Jennifer Purcell

At the MHC’s quarterly meeting, the Executive Committee took another step to help MHC Go Pro by appointing Jennifer Purcell as the horse council’s Interim Executive Director. During this temporary assignment, Jennifer will be responsible for facilitating MHC’s strategic planning process, overseeing development of the Maryland Equine Transition Service, enhancing the sponsor and member experience, implementing fundraising strategies, and setting up the processes and infrastructure needed to complete MHC’s Go Pro Initiative.  A permanent Executive Director will be hired after a formal search.

Jennifer has worked with the MHC since August 2017 as a program consultant and grant writer. She drafted a comprehensive program proposal, which resulted in a $750,000 grant to fund the Maryland Equine Transition Service.  Since then, she’s played a key role in developing the program’s policies and procedures, marketing and outreach plans, and evaluation systems.

“I look forward to helping the MHC identify its priorities and build its membership,” says Purcell. “With the recent acquisition of The Equiery and launch of METS, Maryland Horse Council is positioned for extraordinary growth. A strong MHC working closely with the Maryland Horse Industry Board and other industry players can unite the diverse sectors of this industry, grow it, and connect more people to the magic of horses.”

In terms of horses, Jennifer has come full circle.  Growing up in south Florida, she worked for five years at a local riding stable before attending college where she earned three degrees including a doctorate in higher education administration. She’s held several academic and administrative positions, most recently at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. After relocating to Maryland in 2013, Jennifer shifted gears completely and began volunteering at a local horse rescue.  Not long after, she was hired as Director of the American Horse Council’s Unwanted Horse Coalition.  

MHC President, Neil Agate, says “Jennifer brings not only great vision but very strong organizational skills to MHC, and as Interim Executive Director she will help us create the infrastructure around our programs that will allow staff and volunteers to work together to increase the coverage and influence of the MD Horse Council.”

On a more personal note, Jennifer enjoys everything outdoors and returning to NYC for a good Broadway show now and then. Her 19yo Appendix QH gelding, Moved by the Spirit, aka Jack, is enjoying retirement, and she spends her 1 hour 20 minute commute to the MHC office singing tunes in the car.

When you have questions about the horse council, your membership, volunteer opportunities, special events or other benefits, give her call at 844-MDHORSE ext. 707, or email jennifer@mdhorsecouncil.org.

 

Brittney CarowMETS Director:  Brittney Carow

Brittney Carow, who has lived in Mt. Airy since the age of one, joined the MHC as Director of the Maryland Equine Transition Service in late February. With three years’ experience as a Veterinary Assistant and a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from UMD, Brittney worked her way through the ranks at DEFHR, most recently serving as their Equine Health Director. She managed the care of hundreds of horses over the past 11 years, some coming from very dire circumstances. She’s adept at training and overseeing volunteers, and her equine knowledge and personal demeanor are in perfect balance to provide owners with information about the best transition options for their horses.

Brittney says she is excited to help even more horses throughout the state in a new, unique way, and she hopes (as we all do) to ultimately prevent horses from falling into unsafe situations. “METS will be serving a need that has existed in Maryland for a very long time,” Brittney said, “and we hope to make this program an example for other states to be able to follow in its footsteps.”

Brittney did not grow up in a family of horsemen and women.  She was the first in her family to get the horse bug after summer camp at the age of six.  Now, she owns four horses. She leased her first horse at age 10 and a year later was the proud owner of Magnolia Super Jack, a 10yo Quarter Horse gelding.  After attending a few hunter shows, the pair both realized that trail rides and hunter paces were their forte. Jack retired in 2002 and is still with her today at the grand age of 33.

When asked to share a funny story about Jack, she chuckled and told us about a hunter pace in Upper Marlboro where the pair followed the (wrong) marked trail to the next town before realizing they weren’t in the right place.  Upon their return, there were cheers, calls in jest to cancel the search party, and an honorable mention ribbon for the longest recorded ride time.  Embarrassing?  “Yes,” she says, “but Jack took care of me the entire way and did for eight years. He is my true ‘heart horse.’”

When not around horses at work or at home, Brittney loves to listen to music of every genre and will drop everything for a trip to NYC for a show.  She also loves to experience new places whether a planned vacation or simply a drive down the road less traveled.  “That’s why this job is a great fit for me,” she said with a grin. “I get to work with horses and drive all over the state while I listen to great music. What more could I ask for?”

Please welcome Brittney to the MHC team and reach out to her at Director@mdequinetransition.org if you have any questions about the METS program. 

Quite a coincidence that Brittney and Jennifer both love music and Broadway shows, plus own horses named Jack!

 

 

Published in News