Friday, February 22, 2013

New federal requirements for moving horses across state lines; Maryland working on mid-Atlantic Alternative

Via the Equiery:

Posted by EditorFebruary 5, 2013
Beginning March 11, 2013, traveling across state lines with horses will become more involved.  Below is an explanatory article courtesy of the American Horse Council. Recognizing that Marylanders travel on a regular basis across state lines in the mid-Atlantic area, Maryland State Veterinarian Guy Hohenhaus, with the guidance of the Maryland Equine Health Advisory Committee (chaired by Dr. John Lee, who serves on the Maryland Horse Industry Board) is working on a more practical option for Maryland residence. This involves, of course, coordinating with the other mid-Atlantic States. Please send any questions or concerns to, and The Equiery will do its best to provide the answers.

USDA Adopts Animal Disease Traceability Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has instituted its Animal Disease Traceability Program (ADTP) to improve its ability to trace livestock, including horses, in the event of a disease outbreak.  The new system applies to all livestock moving interstate.
Under the new federal regulations, horses moving interstate must be identified and accompanied by an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI).  The new system is built on methods of identification and movement documentation that are already employed in the horse industry, e.g., written descriptions, digital photographs, brands, tattoos, electronic identification methods, and interstate certificates of veterinary inspection.  The person or entity responsible for moving the horse interstate must ensure that it has an ICVI or other document required by the new rule.  

The ADTP will be administered by the states with federal support.
The horse industry has been dramatically affected by serious disease outbreaks in the last ten years, which have halted or restricted the movement of horses and the commerce surrounding the horses.  The new program is intended to help the Department, state authorities and the horse industry better deal with such disease outbreaks and to minimize disease effects on horses and economic effects on owners and the industry.  

This new rule is based on the previous National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which was the original voluntary system proposed by USDA to deal with disease outbreaks and traceability.  Since the prior rule was voluntary and generated significant concerns over complexity, confidentiality, liability, cost and privacy, it was not supported and was rethought.  USDA reconsidered its approach and decided that rather than attempting to identify every animal, every premise, and every movement to achieve traceability within 48 hours of a disease outbreak, it would develop a more limited and simpler system.  The ADTP just adopted is the result.  The new system does not require the registration of premises housing livestock or the specific reporting of individual movements of horses.
Effective Date
The new rules will be effective March 11, 2013.  We expect that there will be a transition period during which USDA has suggested it will not enforce the new rule.  This is to give livestock owners time to understand the rules and make any changes necessary to comply.  We don’t know how long that period might be.
Specific Requirements for Horse Owners

Under the new regulations, horses moving interstate must be (1) identified prior to movement and (2) accompanied by an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) or other state-approved document.  

All states now require an ICVI to accompany any horse entering their state.  This should make for a smooth transition to the new traceability rule since most horse owners moving their horses interstate for breeding, racing, showing, recreation, etc. should already be in compliance with the provisions in the new rule.
1) Identification of Horses.
Horses that are required to be officially identified under the new rules may be identified by one of the following methods:
A description sufficient to identify the individual horse including, but not limited to, name, age, breed, color, gender, distinctive markings, and unique and permanent forms of identification, such as brands, tattoos, scars, cowlicks, blemishes, or biometric measurements).  In the event that the identity of the horse is in question at the receiving destination, the state animal health official in the state of destination or APHIS representative may determine if the description provided is sufficient; or
Electronic identification (Animal Identification Number) that complies with ISO 11784/11785; or
Non-ISO electronic identification injected into the horse on or before March 11, 2014; or
Digital photographs sufficient to identify the individual horse; or
A USDA backtag for horses being transported to slaughter as required by the Commercial Transport of Horses to Slaughter regulations.
Animal Identification Numbers and microchips are an option, but not a requirement for horses.
2) ICVI Requirements
Under the new rules, horses moved interstate must be accompanied by an ICVI or other document acceptable to the states involved.  The person or entity responsible for moving the horse interstate must ensure it has an ICVI or other document.  

The APHIS representative, state representative or accredited veterinarian issuing the ICVI or other document must forward a copy to the state health official in the state of origin within seven days of issuing the document.  The state representative in the state of origin must forward a copy to the state representative in the state of destination within seven days of receiving it.  In the event of a disease outbreak, these documents will be used to trace horses that are or have been at the site of the outbreak and horses that have come into contact with them.

The new regulations give states the discretion to approve other methods of movement documentation, which may include an EIA test chart, when agreed upon by the animal health officials in the states involved in the interstate movement.

While not specifically referenced, movement documents could also include an event passport.  USDA has maintained options in the final rule to support the use of other movement documentation, for example an owner-shipper statement or brand certificate, if agreed to by the state animal health officials involved.  

Retention of Records
Currently, states bear the responsibility for the collection, maintenance, and retrieval of data on interstate livestock movements.  These responsibilities will be maintained under the new rules.  The animal health official or accredited veterinarian issuing or receiving an ICVI or other document must keep a copy for five years to ensure horses can be identified and traced if a disease manifests itself at or after an event.

There are exclusions to the new requirements for the following horses:
Horses used as a mode of transportation (horseback, horse and buggy) for travel to another location that return directly to the original location.
Horses moved from a farm or stable for veterinary treatment that are returned to the same location without change in ownership.
Horses moved directly from a location in one state through another state to a second location in the original state.
Horses moved between shipping and receiving states with another form of identification or documentation other than an ICVI, e.g., a horse infectious anemia test chart, as agreed to by the shipping and receiving states or tribes involved in the movement.
You can download a PDF of the final rule here.
NOTE:  All horse owners or anyone moving horses interstate or involved in that process should review the new requirements to ensure they are complying with them.

If you have any questions, please call the AHC.
Here is additional comment from MD State Veterinarian, Dr. Guy Hohenhaus:

With respect to the interstate certificate of veterinary inspection (ICVI)
The ICVI has always been a formal requirement for horses entering from out of State. The longstanding agency policy has been to allow horses from neighboring states to enter Maryland for exhibition and other short term purposes with current documentation of negative equine infectious anemia (EIA) testing only in lieu of the ICVI.
Because the present focus of the Federal Animal Disease Traceability (adt) rule is on cattle movements, we intend to continue to allow entry of horses from neighboring states for short term purposes with the negative EIA document only. At some point in the future, it is likely that an ICVI or equivalent document , to include the Go Pass or similar will be needed for entry into Maryland.
With respect to the Go Pass question.
We have been in numerous discussions with states using Go Pass or contemplating similar systems. We agree in principle with the concept of the longer term travel document, but like many other states, cannot agree on a single set of interstate standards. If you look at the fine print in Go Pass, there are several specific additional requirements (ie testing intervals) that vary somewhat state to state. Given that the longer term ICVI in the form of a Go-Pass or similar passport style document greatly reduces the role of the inspecting veterinarian, we believe there needs to be some additional appropriate biosecurity related activities performed by those involved in transporting the animal to compensate for the additional risk associated with the much longer inspection interval of the passport.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture is committed to doing all we can to facilitate efficient and effective movements of animals in and out of the State. Where restrictions are necessary and appropriate, they should be based on a reasonable assessment of risk and should be proportional to that risk. We are participating in extensive discussions with neighboring states and nationally in an attempt to most rationally and effectively implement activities in our purview that are necessary under the federal adt rule.

Marylanders Asked to Provide DNR with Equine Recreational Use Information

Via the Equiery:

Posted by EditorFebruary 21, 2013
Do you compete at Rosaryville or Fair Hill? Ride at Tuckahoe or the League of Maryland Horsemen (Marriottsville)? Do you foxchase in the Patuxent or the Patapsco? Trail ride just about anywhere in this state?
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking citizens for their input on State outdoor recreation facilities and services in areas throughout Maryland. Of course, we would like to see a lot of input from horse people, as this is for their Long Range Plan Land Preservation and Recreational Plan, and we want to make sure that equestrian needs and desires are part of that long range plan.
Unfortunately, by the time the memo was forwarded to someone at The Equiery, DNR had already gathered information from those in Southern Maryland earlier this month and a meeting for the Western Region will be announced shortly.
The recreational evaluations are the first step in a comprehensive statewide effort to enhance existing recreation areas in Maryland, these include; State parks, forests, wildlife areas and trails.
DNR will ask participants to assess the extent to which outdoor recreation facilities, programs and services meet the needs of the community and identify future demand and need. Horse people: this is our chance to be part of the planning process, for us to be proactive instead of reactive! This is the equestrian community’s chance to avoid a WSSC-type disaster.
The public input will help guide the update of the Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan,which will serve as a roadmap for future State outdoor recreation facilities and services.
The Department has hired a nationally-known parks and recreation management consulting firm, GreenPlay, LLC, to oversee the Recreation Component of this planning process.

Eastern Region ─  March 6 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Talbot County Community Recreation Center, 10028 Ocean Gateway (Rt. 50), Easton
Central Region ─ March 6 from 6 to 8 p.m., Howard County Robinson Nature Center, 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia
Western Region ─ ****Please note, this meeting has changed toMarch 5  from 4 to 6 p.m., Allegany College (Room CE8), 12401 Willowbrook Rd, Cumberland
Cost: Free

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

MHC comments on WSSC regulations on use of WSSC horseback riding trails

Comments of the Maryland Horse Council on the WSSC Budget Hearings
February 19, 1013

The Maryland Horse Council is the umbrella organization representing all of Maryland’s equestrian businesses, farms and enthusiasts, many of whom have enjoyed riding on the WSSC Rocky Gorge trails for decades. We are submitting these remarks relating to the conformance of the WSSC’s new regulations for public access and use of the land surrounding the reservoirs with the legal requirement placed in WSSC’s budget that any new regulations reflect sound science and best industry practices.
First, we applaud WSSC for modifying its original proposal and deleting any requirement that dropped manure be packed out from trail routes, for reinstating use of the equestrian trails (we assume this will be ALL previously available trails) instead of the severely degraded access road/fire break, as well as reinstating free access for seniors.
However, a number of concerns remain. Specifically:
  1. the fees for access from private property seem to have no justification. WSSC’s own regulations allege that these fees “are applied as partial reimbursement to the WSSC for its expenses in maintaining facilities . . ..” It is clear that WSSC has NO expenses in allowing these access points. Indeed, access from private property should SAVE WSSC money, since the need for additional services at “authorized access points,” e.g., pavement of access driveways and parking areas, trash collection facilities, restrooms, etc. will be obviated. AND, direct mounted access to the trails means that trailers and their towing vehicles will not potentially be dropping oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze and other chemicals onto the parking areas, which could wash into the reservoir. Furthermore, pushing enforcement of the requirement for trail access permits on to boarding facilities is unfair. How is the owner of a boarding facility able to monitor the activities of one of its clients who inadvertently strays onto WSSC lands? As yet, there are no “black boxes” for horses. Yet a facility could lose the ability to access the WSSC land for all of its clients, because some one rider made a mistake. These facilities already provide WSSC significant revenue by encouraging their clients who use the trails to purchase permits. An additional fee on the facilities is “double dipping” with no economic justification.
  2. It seems odd and not logically justifiable to close the trails entirely in winter, and yet require that riders at other times of the year check the website to see if trails are open, based on conditions. If WSSC really intends to maintain the website on a daily basis, there is no reason to close trails for months on end in winter. On those days when the ground is frozen solid, trail riding should be permissible and posted as such on its website.
  3. The requirement that "unauthorized"cutting or clearing of brush or trees is prohibited needs to be clarified that routine trail clearing (i.e., cutting of branches that overhang trails and cause hazards to horses and riders, as well as downed trees that block trails) is permitted. There seems to be no sound budgetary logic in prohibiting this volunteer labor force that has served WSSC well for many years. If this volunteer service is not allowed, and if WSSC does not provide its own trail clearing service, within only a couple of years these trails will be obliterated for anyone who wants to use them.
Finally, we would strongly urge:
(1) There seems no reason to not re-open riding on the relatively flat Access Road of the Tridelphia, which was allowed in earlier decades and WSSC's documents show resulted in no detectable damage.
(2) Institution of a volunteer force (like the successful volunteer mounted patrols of numerous area parks and police departments that many TROT members are on), that could facilitate patrolling of WSSC's now un-patrolled lands, which many neighbors are requesting, without the expense of a patrol force that WSSC says it can not afford.
  1. Although EA's GIS mapping does not show any perceptible section of the equestrian trail close to the water, hopefully WSSC will follow EA's suggestion to accept the free offer from the Prince George's Soil Conservation District experts, to assess the trail and determine if any sections should be re-routed, and let TROT do it.

Respectfully submitted,
Jane Seigler
Vice President
MD Horse Council

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Annapolis update

The state legislature in Annapolis is now in session. We will try as best we can to post here information about bills that may be of interest to the equestrian community. Please let us know if you hear of anything pending there that we have not listed - it is a very busy session (over 2000 bills are typically introduced) and we must rely on our volunteer staff to search the web for items of interest.

Note that you, too, can search the legislature's website. You can enter topics of interest, and any relevant proposed legislation will be highlighted. On that page, you can also find links to the various Committees' hearing schedules, as well as to the schedule for final floor votes on legislation that has been passed out of committee. Note that, in Maryland, every bill that is introduced gets a hearing, and every interested person is entitled to testify. On the page detailing the Committee schedules, you can find information about what you need to do to testify.

A functioning democracy requires that "We, the people" get involved! Cases in point: due to the active involvement of many citizens, including horse people, the Sunday hunting bills in Kent and Queen Anne's counties have been withdrawn, and Howard County has decided not to go ahead with its bill.

Here are some new bills of interest:

SB 961
Senator Peters
Authorizing a racing licensee to offer wagers under regulations adopted by the State Racing Commission; requiring a racing licensee to deduct specified amounts from the handle; authorizing a racing licensee to conduct specified wagers only with the consent of the Commission and specified groups; authorizing the owner of the Bowie Race Course Training Center to convey the Center to the City of Bowie; requiring the owner of the Bowie Race Course Training Center to repair, maintain, and secure the Center; etc.
BR, §§ 11-514 and 11-519

SB 858
Senator Simonaire
Authorizing racing license holders to appeal an ejection by racing licensees to the State Racing Commission; authorizing the Commission to refuse to hear appeals under specified circumstances; providing for the filing of appeals with the Commission; requiring licensees to provide written statements to a license holder; requiring the Commission to conduct hearings in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act; authorizing the Commission to take specified actions after a hearing; etc.
BR, § 11-211.1 - added
Assigned to: Senate Rules

Multiple sponsors
Requiring the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service to provide a dedicated extension agent to assist individuals with the adoption of management-intensive farming and grazing practices; requiring the Governor to provide at least $500,000 each year to support the Department of Agriculture's activities related to management-intensive farming and grazing, beginning in fiscal year 2015; etc.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

WSSC releases final regulations for Rocky Gorge and Triadelphia recreational use, including horseback riding

From TROT president and MHC Trails and Greenways Committee chair, Ron MacNab:

The 2013 WSSC regulations for Rocky Gorge and Tridelphia reservoirs have been released and are a major improvement over the draft regulations.
Here is the complete text of the new regulations.  <>  

Overall the regulations seem reasonable and riders' major concerns have been addressed.

Major Successes:
Horses will continue to use the horse trails and not the access road.
Horse manure will not have to be removed from the trail, but must be removed from the parking lot and roadways.
Sixty-five and older can obtain a free annual pass.

A Few Disappointments:
At $70, Rocky Gorge is an expensive place to ride.  However those who ride less frequently can purchase a daily pass online.
Those who have adjoining properties must pay an annual entrance fee to enter from their property.
Commercial stables are held responsible to see that their boarders purchase and carry permits.

Many thanks to Babara Solner-Webb who lead the effort to preserve the Rocky Gorge trail.  She worked tirelessly, getting petitions, attending meetings and sending out countless emails to keep us energized and involved.

A special thanks to  Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk and Councilperson Mary Lehman who, as elected officials, fought for the interests of their constituents and trailriders everywhere.

Also thanks to WSSC who eventually came around.

TROT with support of the Maryland Horse Council has had three significant success within the last few weeks.
Sunday hunting was defeated in Howard County
Riding was preserved at the Fish & Wildlife, North Track area in Laurel.
Riding trails were preserved at Rocky Gorge Reservoir.
Rider involvement and support of TROT and the MHC is crucial to preserving our trails.

Ron MacNab

A few additional points: horseback riding will be prohibited December 1 - March 14; "unauthorized"cutting or clearing of brush or trees is prohibited; trails may be closed in wet muddy conditions, riders must check on-line daily to see if trails are open.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Legislative Scholarship Update

I received the following e-mail from Dan Morhaim, M.D. (Maryland House of Delegates, District 11):


Higher Education is expensive - this can help
Each year members of the Maryland General Assembly award scholarships for higher education tuition. But to get one, you need to apply.
Here are some general guidelines:
  • If you are a resident of District 11, you can apply to us for a scholarship.
  • You can apply from each of your District 11 legislators: Del. Dan Morhaim, Del. Dana Stein, Del. Jon Cardin, Sen. Bobby Zirkin. To do so, contact each of our offices individually via 410-841-3000 or
  • Each office has a different application process and criteria for giving awards.
  • You must be attending a Maryland school of higher education: university, community college, trade school, or equivalent.
  • If you are going to school out-of-state, you can only qualify by getting approval for taking a major not offered in Maryland: this is very rare.
  • The typical single scholarship amount ranges from $200-$600, and the funds go directly to your school for the following academic year to reduce your expenses. Applying to all four of your state legislators will increase the total amount you get.
  • There is no age requirement or limit, so this works for adults returning to get additional higher education.
  • If you live in another district, contact those legislators where you reside via
Here are some guidelines for the scholarship I award:
  • Deadline for application is March 31, 2013.
  • You need to re-apply every year even if you've received an award before.
  • Applying is simple and straightforward. Contact my office at 410-841-3054 and/or to get an application and instructions.