Equine Welfare

It goes without saying that without our horses, we have no industry. Their welfare is paramount.

MHC has been involved with equine welfare issues since its earliest years, and we count numerous veterinarians, rescues, and animal welfare organizations among our members. We are proud to have launched the Maryland Equines in Transition Services (METS), an innovative program that re-homes horses whose life circumstances have changed through no fault of their own, and we are proud to have played a key role in several pieces of legislation aimed at improving the well-being of Maryland’s horses.

Photo by Allison Oyler

MHC’s Equine Welfare Accomplishments

  • MHC worked with Humane Society of the United States to create a bill establishing a process for a seizing agency to recover reasonable costs of care of seized animals.  (2022)
  • MHC proposed successful legislation to broaden the existing “interference with horses” law to cover all livestock engaged in “any lawful activity,” with the goal of protecting carriage horses.  (2020)
  • MHC received a $750,000 grant from the WaterShed Animal Fund’s Right Horse Initiative to develop the Maryland Equine Transition Service (METS).  (2017)
  • Maryland Fund for Horses published and distributed 5,000 copies of MHC’s Safe & Sound: A Resource Guide for New and Prospective Owners distributed since printing.  (2016) 
  • MHC voted to support the federal Safeguard American Food Exports Act and adopted a formal resolution, becoming the first state horse council in the nation to take a formal position on slaughter.  (2015)
  • MHC led the launch of the Maryland Fund for Horses. (2011)
  • MHC launched the Unwanted Horse Project, which eventually became the independent Maryland Fund for Horses. (2010)
  • MHC launched a task force to create the Equine Health Advisory Committee within the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Horse Industry Board. (2004)
  • MHC supported legislation to make some forms of intentional animal cruelty a felony rather than a misdemeanor. (2002)
  • MHC’s Equine Welfare Committee sponsored the continuing education seminar “Vets: Your Role in Animal Cruelty Investigation.”  (2000)
  • MHC released brochure on “Insurance, Litigation, Liability Reform and the Effect on the Maryland Horse Industry.”
  • MHC released the “Minimum Standards of Care,” an interpretation of the Maryland  Code as it applies to the care of equines, which became the legal standard for neglect in Maryland.  (1996)
  • MHC partnered with Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Maryland Emergency Management Association, Maryland Cooperative Extension, Maryland Racing Commission and the Maryland Jockey Club to release the brochure “Disaster Action Guidelines for Horse Owners.” (1994)


Guide to Horse Ownership (2019)

Riding in Hot Weather (2023)

Horses and Fireworks (2023)

Subscribe to the MHC mailing list to keep up with the latest news