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Letter from the Publisher


A MARYLAND HORSE COUNCIL PUBLICATION


by Neil Agate MHC President As we continue to navigate through uncharted waters I hope that


everyone is doing well and staying safe. While there are many new obsta- cles in our way, times like these can also spotlight opportunities. For in- stance, I have seen several reports of an increase in the number of people interested in taking riding lessons, as horseback riding is one of the few outdoor activities that is easily adaptable to social distancing protocols. Tis month, we learned more about this upward trend by reaching out to the 30+ Maryland Horse Discovery Centers, which offer opportunities for the general public to experience horses. See page 36 of this issue to see what we found! How we continue to address these challenges will determine how we


will come through this pandemic. Like many of you, at the Maryland Horse Council we are facing these challenges in all areas of our orga- nization. Te pandemic has certainly underscored the importance and relevance of the value MHC offers to the Maryland equestrian commu- nity. We worked long and hard keeping up with all the health and safety mandates, advocating within the government agencies for reasonable standards, and swiftly communicating this information to our members. Nevertheless, our renewal rates and sponsorships have declined. While we continue to make Te Equiery better and better with more


focused articles as well as freshening up old favorites such as “Out and About,” we have seen a drop in advertising. In some ways this is expected as it is tough to spend money on advertising with a future so uncertain. Our Maryland Equestrian Transition Service is certainly our biggest


challenge at the moment. METS is a great and very cost effective safety net program that has helped nearly 200 horses in less than two years of operation. In addition to helping the horses, it can also help all Mary- land horse rescue operations. By facilitating owner to owner transfers of horses in need of transition, METS helps to take some of the load off overburdened rescues. METS can also facilitate statewide programs that can help all rescues. We have been fortunate to be funded for the first three years by a grant


from the Right Horse Initiative but this grant expires at the end of 2020. It is very difficult to build an effective fund raising operation in a short period of time so our goal for 2020 was to have two major events that would not only raise money for METS, but also to increase awareness and therefore help build our donor base. As we all know by now, the pandemic has canceled all major events so we have been scrambling to come up with new fundraising ideas. While challenging times are, by definition, difficult to deal with, espe-


cially for a primarily volunteer-run organization such as MHC, they also provide great opportunities for individual members to step up and make


a difference in the future of MHC and the Maryland horse community. We are reaching out to you, our members and Equiery readers, to help


spread the word about what MHC is all about and the great things we are doing. We need you to encourage equestrian businesses you work with to support MHC through sponsorships and advertisements in The Equiery. We need to work together to spread the story of the METS program and all the great things they are doing for our horses. We need to encourage as many people as we can to support METS’ events and consider making donations.


Now, how can you help? For MHC, encourage your friends to join, encourage equestrian groups in Maryland to join, encourage your barn to become a barn member! Send us feedback on programs you would like to see us support. Take a moment and look at our member discount program and next time you are looking to make a purchase, use the program and save some money. From a volunteering point of view we need ambassadors in all parts of the state to represent us at events, visit barns and build strong relation- ships for the horse industry within communities. Another exciting opportunity to help MHC is in helping us move into the future. We have been working with MHIB and other groups within our community to develop a one stop internet portal that will house ev- erything from service and barn directories, to event calendars to videos of the horse industry in Maryland. If you are able to volunteer your techni- cal abilities or would just like to be involved please let us know. For Te Equiery, send us story ideas and photos. Support our advertisers and tell them you saw their ad in Te Equiery. Ask for Te Equiery in your local feed and tack stores and let the stores know you appreciate them being a distributor… and encourage them to advertise in Te Equiery if they don’t already! For METS, obviously donations would be great but just helping us


spread the word about the value of this program would be a start. If you are part of an active barn, a fundraiser or charity show to benefit METS is another idea that has worked well for us in the past. Contact Brittney at 410-970-6474 to support the METS program in any way you are able. We are always looking for ways to stay in touch with our community


and over the next month I would like to convene a number of small video calls with specific groups within our community to share ideas on how we can server you better. We have three of these sessions planned for Au- gust for new members, Eastern Shore members and Western Maryland. If you would like to be a part of one of these sessions please send me an email at nagate@mdhorsecouncil.org. As we head into the final half of 2020, we look forward to working to- gether as a horse community and continuing to rise above this pandemic.


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 membership, encourage your friends to join our work, come to our Quarterly meetings, and look through our website to see where you can lend your talents to what we are doing. We look forward to working with you in service to the horse and Maryland’s equestrian community.


MHC Represents You! Join Today! join.mdhorsecouncil.org www.equiery.com | 800-244-9580 THE EQUIERY A MARYLAND HORSE COUNCIL PUBLICATION | AUGUST 2020 | 7


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