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MHC Legislative Blog

House Committee moves on H2-B Visa Cap. Click here for details.

Published in Legislative

Ask Congress to fix the broken immigration system that affects horse businesses. Via the American Horse Council:
"As Congress moves closer to the August recess, House lawmakers have followed-up on a commitment to the horse industry to introduce legislation that focuses on labor shortages at race tracks, breeding farms, and horse shows, among other operations. On July 18, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) joined 44 co-sponsors to introduce the AG and Legal Workforce Act of 2018 (H.R. 6417), legislation which remedies chronic labor shortages in American agriculture by creating a modern and flexible guest worker visa program

Importantly for the horse industry, H.R. 6417 specifically states that workers involved in the management and training of horses will be eligible for the new visa program. The bill would also replace the outdated and broken H-2A program with a reliable, efficient, and fair H-2C visa program, ensuring that agriculture has access to a legal, stable supply of workers for seasonal as well as year-round work." To find your House lawmaker's contact information and urge support for H.R. 6417, please click here:

Published in Legislative

Here's some info from the American Horse Council about animal health priorities in the just passed Senate Farm Bill.

Published in Legislative
Attention MHC Membership:
 
The Board of Directors is being asked to review and update the MHC's position on Sunday hunting of deer and waterfowl.  Keep your eye out for a member survey regarding these issues in the next few weeks.  The horse council needs your input to craft a position statement that is representative of its membership.  Please participate! 
 
To provide additional input, plan to participate in the next Quarterly meeting on August 14, 2018.  You can join the meeting in person or via live stream.  Live stream details will be availalbe on the Meeting Event Page a few days prior to the meeting. 
 
If the Board makes a motion in August to write a formal position statement, a formal vote to approve the statement will occur at the November meeeting.  
 
Other Legislative Developments:
 
Longtime MHC friend and Chair of the powerful Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs (EHAE) Committee, Senator Joan Carter Conway, lost the primary election battle with her challenger, Del. Mary Washington, both representing Baltimore City. The final results were determined after outstanding absentee and provisional ballots were counted. Senate President Mike Miller will appoint a new chair. The EHAE Committee considers many bills that affect the equine/equestrian community.
Published in Legislative

METSlogoThe Maryland Horse Council (MHC) is pleased to offer a new internship program for students interested in broadening their equine experiences and making a tangible impact on the welfare of all horses in the State of Maryland.  Internships are available in the fall, spring, and summer, and are open to rising high school seniors and college students. Interns select from one of three tracks to gain practical experience in topics of interest, have flexible schedule options, and can earn college credit, all while participating in a one-of-a-kind industry-based initiative that will be a national model for equine transition and welfare.

To learn more about METS, visit http://mdequinetranistion.org.

Download the MHC/METS Internship Program flyer

Download the MHC/METS Internship Application

If you have any questions about the internship, please contact Jennifer Purcell at jennifer@mdhorsecouncil.org.

 

Internship Details

Fall or Spring:           
14 weeks [10 hours/week]
For credit and non-credit options available
Unpaid

Summer:                   
8 weeks [30 hours /week] – no credit
$800 stipend

Location:                   
The MHC / METS offices are located in Lisbon, Maryland.  Fall/Spring interns will spend half day a week at the office and half day in the field. The remaining hours can be fulfilled remotely. Summer interns are expected to spend two days each week at the office and two days in the field.  Interns must have transportation to and from the office, but can carpool with staff/volunteers to field-based assignments.

Tracks:                      
Public Education
Program Management
Advocacy (spring only)

Requirements:          
Enrolled in high school (rising senior) or college*
At least 17 years of age when internship begins**
Horse handling experience
Desire to promote the horse industry
Excellent oral and written communication skills
Access to transportation
Interest in one of three tracks

* Students in an equine-related program will be given priority

**Applicants under 18 require a parent’s signature

Benefits:                    
Earn college credit where available
$800 stipend for summer session
METS T-shirt
Free 1-year youth or individual membership in the MHC
3 tracks to choose from
Mentoring by equine and management professionals
Network with MHC leadership
On-site and telecommuting options
Decrease the chance of MD horses becoming at-risk

 

Responsibilities:

Responsibilities of interns include, but are not limited to:

  1. Assisting with general health and behavioral assessments of horses
  2. Maintaining accurate records on horses, placement opportunities, and follow up
  3. Creating ads/descriptions to market horses in print and online
  4. Researching and creating materials related to equine care, welfare, or advocacy
  5. Assisting with outreach or program planning tasks as needed
  6. Following the highest standards of professionalism and confidentiality

Interns will report to the MHC Executive Director and work closely with the METS Director on field-based and in-office assignments.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this internship, students can expect to meet the following learning objectives:

ALL Tracks:

  1. Describe the equine welfare programs and services available to Maryland horses and owners, including sponsor organizations, purposes, eligibility, funding mechanisms, and reported outcomes.
  1. Assess horses around the state using standard criteria to determine what transition options might be best for each individual horse.
  1. Explain why equine welfare is a concern in Maryland, and nationwide, referencing credible data and resources.
  1. Research and write a brief article to be disseminated by the MHC.
  1. Develop confidence and skills to discuss the equine life cycle with constituents in a variety of settings.
  1. Evaluate one component of METS and make recommendations to improve outcomes.

In addition to the objectives listed above, interns will also meet the following based on the track selected:

Track #1: Public Education

ED1.  Design enduring educational materials on a topic selected jointly by the intern and METS staff.  Examples include a print or electronic publication, training session, research article, video presentation, etc.

Track #2: Program Management

PM1.  Collect and analyze relevant data, and write an evaluation report for MHC/METS stakeholders

PM2.  Identify and evaluate potential revenue sources for a non-profit equine program, overseeing implementation of one marketing or fundraising strategy.

 

Track #3: Advocacy (Spring only)

AD1.  Review and summarize statewide bills that may impact the horse industry.

AD2.  Participate in at least one grassroots advocacy effort for an area of equine-related legislative interest.

AD3.  Research and analyze data to help support equine-related legislative initiatives.

Application Process

Submit the MHC/METS Internship Application and two (2) letters of recommendation by the appropriate deadline. Selected applicants will be invited for an interview.


Deadline Dates:

                                    Application Due                     Notification By

Fall 2018:                    August 7                                  August 20

Spring 2019:                October 15                              November 15

Summer 2019:             April 15                                    May 15

 

 

Published in News

Last month, we reported results related to industry issues.  This month, you wanted to see results about MHC’s two newest programs and services. We listened and here they are.

You may already know that the MHC experienced big changes in January 2018 with the purchase of the Equiery and the receipt of a $750,000 grant to develop the Maryland Equine Transition Service (METS).  Six months later, both are working to add value to the horse council and the entire horse community.

EquieryResults

The Equiery  

We asked you to tell us how often you read the Equiery.  Forty-five percent reported that you read the publication every single month – thank you – and another 25% reported reading issues frequently. Not unexpected, more than half of readers said they pick up The Equiery at their local distributor; only 12% are taking advantage of the digital flip book option.  

Exactly 250 survey respondents (100 MHC members) shared comments or offered suggestions to improve the publication. The team is looking at the comments closely and continuously strives to be responsive to readers’ needs.

 

METS

The MD Horse Community Survey also included questions about METS. We described METS as a new MHC initiative that provides alternatives for horses needing homes by helping owners identify and select the best transition options then asked three questions and found these results.

 

Strongly Disagree

Somewhat Disagree

Somewhat Agree

Strongly Agree

Total

There is a need for a program like METS in Maryland.

1.85%

3.70%

32.85%

61.60%

487

I am personally concerned about equine welfare in Maryland.

1.23%

3.72%

31.29%

64.21%

489

I am interested in learning more about METS.

3.33%

10.63%

42.08%

43.96%

480

METSq1METSq2

We were also interested in looking at the breakdown of responses by member type. Did the responses of members vs. former members vs. those who have never been member differ?

Not by much. The MHC is building METS to address welfare concerns and invites you to participate in the effort.  Contact Brittney Carow at director@mdequinetransition.org to find out how you can help. 

To read participants’ thoughts on critical issues facing the horse industry, review last month’s news article here. In future newsletters, we’ll share issues of personal importance to our members as well as responses related to MHC’s mission, member benefits, communication and more.  Stay tuned!

Published in News

CappsPhoto newsletter2On Monday, June 11, 2018, the American Horse Council posthumously presented the Marjorie Van Ness Award for leadership and service to a state horse community to the late Tim Capps, who was nominated for the award by the Maryland Horse Council and the Kentucky Horse Council. The award was accepted by his daughter Meredith Capps.

Unlike other Maryland Van Ness recipients, Tim never served as an officer of the Maryland Horse Council – but he did serve on the MHC Executive Committee throughout his career with the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, Maryland Million and the Maryland Jockey Club. He rarely missed a monthly meeting, and his legislative and regulatory knowledge and experience guided MHC through a period of extraordinary growth and accomplishments in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Tim also never owned a horse. Never rode a horse. And to the best that anyone, including his daughter, can remember, he never even touched a horse. But he did love horses – he loved their stories. And the stories of their people, of their passion for their horses, of the industry fueled by the passions...by love, by greed, by adrenalin, by rivalry, by justice ...an industry unmistakenably alive and vigorous, even when declared DOA by others. Tim was a master story-teller. He told stories as the publisher of The Thoroughbred Record and the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred. He wrote three of the books in the 24 book Thoroughbred Legends series published by Eclipse Press. And, according to long-time MHC director Crystal Brumme Pickett, he was an invaluable mentor during her career as publisher of The Equiery.

And Tim told our story, the story of the Maryland horse industry, to Maryland legislators.

In the MHC's nomination of Tim for the Van Ness, we wrote:

It is fair to say that everything that was accomplished in the Maryland horse industry at the state level from the mid-90s through the mid-2000s carried his fingerprints. 

Like a cruciate ligament, Tim was the connective tissue for the bones of the Maryland horse industry. He was critical in connecting the oft-disparate worlds of Thoroughbred racing and the sport/pleasure horse.  He helped the self-sufficient and self-contained Thoroughbred racing industry to understand that it needed the rest of the world if it was going to pursue objectives such as the legalization of slots, and that the sport/pleasure horse world was a logical constituency to woo for support.  At the same time, he made the sport/pleasure horse world, which often fretted that they were viewed as a second class tier to racing in the horse industry, feel valued and respected by the formal Thoroughbred industry. 

Essentially, Tim brokered understanding between and among the various segments in the horse industry. This was a major accomplishment, a tectonic shift in attitudes and expectations that has had beneficial ripple effects on every aspect of the industry ever since.

During his years in Maryland, Tim built a robust networking channel within the state's legislative and regulatory bodies. Tim knew not only the legislators, he knew their assistants, their supporters, and the various regulatory authorities that implemented legislation – helping MHC navigate and build critical relationships within the back halls of our state capital. 

That ability to broker understanding within the horse industry, coupled with his prolific legislative and regulatory network, and his innate ability to teach, helped guide the Maryland Horse Council on every legislative and regulatory success it had from the late 90s through the late 2000s, including but not limited to the creations of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, the first USDA/MDA equine census in Maryland, and the creation of the Maryland Feed Fund (which provides MHIB with its operating budget).  With Tim and through Tim, we learned that in order to accomplish change in state legislation and regulation, we did not go barging through front doors with our obviously brilliant concepts and visions. We started by following different paths, sometimes dirt paths, sometimes sidewalks, sometimes trails, to different influence makers within the system, and solicit their input and support.  And in so doing, we discovered how to make things happen. 

When we wanted to create a commodity board within the Maryland Department of Agriculture, it was Tim who found the path to do so by expanding the legislative mission of the existing State Board of Stable Inspectors. 

When we wanted to count the noses of horses in Maryland, it was Tim who found a way to do it through the USDA/MDA livestock census. It would not be a perfect census, but it would be a start.

When we wanted to find a way to fund the new Maryland Horse Industry Board, it was Tim who was able to work with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, via its office of Weights and Measures, to make an ag-style check-off program feasible. Once we had the regulatory body on board, we were able to work through the legislative process to establish "the feed fund," which today takes $2 from every bag of feed sold in Maryland to provide funding for the Maryland Horse Industry Board. Of course, getting the Thoroughbred world on board with the Feed Fund was also crucial to passing the legislation, and Tim made sure that happened. 

As MHC grew, Tim helped to guide every aspect of it, serving on numerous nominating committees over the years, helping to identify talent within the industry to serve on boards or committees and grow the Horse Council. 

It is impossible to list Tim's accomplishments, as he played a role, large or small, in all of MHC's accomplishments from 1996-2006.  The collective Maryland equestrian community is today seen by the Maryland government as a legitimate, large, and economically impactful industry due to Tim's wisdom, guidance, and vision – and his ability to finesse relationships.

American Horse Council's Press Release:  http://www.horsecouncil.org/press-release/tim-capps-awarded-2018-van-ness-award/

Published in News

Looking to Get Involved?

We have options for you!  Join a committee or volunteer at an event…  There are many events and opportunities to match your interests. If interested, contact information is listed for each committee.  Contact Jennifer at jennifer@mdhorsecouncil.org or volunteer for an event by SIGNING UP HERE.

MHC/METS Booth at the MD State Fair:  August 23 – September 3
We are planning to have a booth at Horseland 2018!  This is a great way to support the MHIB’s efforts to introduce the general public to our amazing industry, to share the benefits of MHC membership, and to introduce METS to horse enthusiasts. Of course, being at the Maryland State Fair makes it even more fun. Times are available from 9am to 9pm. We need volunteers to hand out coloring books, explain the Equiery scavenger hunt, and represent the horse council to the general public.  SIGN UP HERE

College Day at the Races:  Saturday, August 25th
The MHC/Equiery is proud to sponsor a $1000 scholarship to be awarded at this inaugural event. Fashioned after Keeneland’s College Day, the program is designed to engage youth in racing and will include food, free admission to the fair, activities, tours, betting tips, and scholarship drawings before each race. Volunteers are needed for check-in, tours, and activities.  SIGN UP HERE

MHC’s Day at the Races: Saturday, September 1st
Each year, MHC’s Day at the Races is held at one of Maryland’s three race tracks.  This year, the event will be held at Timonium. Details are being planned and will be updated on the MHC calendar and event page as soon as possible. Volunteers will be needed for set up, check-in, and various tasks throughout the day.  SIGN UP HERE

MHC Annual BBQ and Fundraiser:  Saturday, September 8th
A fun afternoon awaits the MHC membership and their guests. Find out details on the EVENT PAGE

We need volunteers for two to four hour shifts to help ensure the event is a success. 

Set up                 10am – 2pm
During Event       2pm – 6pm
Clean Up             6pm – 8pm

Ready to Sign Up?  CLICK HERE   

MHC Committees:  Year-Round Opportunities

Are you interested in a particular issue that MHC supports?  Join a committee and get in the middle of the action.  You can spend as much or as little time as you wish knowing that every moment helps the MHC keep Maryland a great place for horses, horse people and enthusiasts. Contact the following Committee Chairs to get involved!

Maryland Equine Transition Service

Volunteers play an important role in helping METS identify the right options for Maryland’s horses. Anyone with an interest in equine welfare is invited to explore volunteer opportunities from assessing a horse to writing a feature story, from fundraising to photography. Visit the METS Volunteer page now.

Published in News