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April 19, 2019
Maryland's Statewide Safety Net Initiative, METS, Joins EQUUS Foundation as Alliance Member

Understanding was a 17h, 8 year old, registered off-the-track Thoroughbred mare who, along with four other OTTB's, needed assistance from the Maryland Equine Transition Service (METS) finding a home after her owner/breeder passed away.

METS, operating under the Maryland Horse Council (MHC), provides assistance and resources to owners throughout Maryland so they can make responsible and safe decisions for their horses when they can no longer keep them. The METS program launched in August 2018 enabled by a three-year grant awarded from The Right Horse Initiative.

"No Maryland-based owner or horse is turned away from the METS program," said METS Director, Brittney Vallot. Since August 2018, METS has assessed over 85 horses, of which close to 20 have been placed into new homes.

And so it was with Understanding, who last raced in 2017, earning over $175,000 during her career, and retiring sound and healthy.

A great mover with a loveable personality, it was no surprise that less than 24 hours after METS posted Understanding online she already had a person interested in taking her home.

That person was Michelle Craig, a trainer out of WestWind Farms in Upperville, VA, who focuses on foxhunting, dressage, and eventing. Within a couple days of inquiring, Michelle brought Understanding home.

"Michelle is very excited to help Understanding to reach her full potential. We couldn't be happier for them both!" said Vallot.

METS currently has 35 horses listed as available. Inquiries are encouraged from anyone seeking to provide a horse with a safe, loving home; from licensed stables, to lesson barns, to therapeutic centers, to rescues, to a private facility at home. Assistance is also sought from equine-based businesses, professionals, and enthusiasts for services like training, farrier and dental care, in addition to placement.

"We welcome METS and the Maryland Horse Council (MHC) as members of the EQUUS Foundation Alliance, which recognizes non-profit organizations that share the common bond of horse welfare and offers a mechanism to address national areas of interest in the equine community," said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.

EQUUS Foundation
Above: Understanding at her new home with trainer, Michelle Craig. Below: Understanding with Craig's daughter and her friends.
EQUUS Foundation

EQUUS Foundation
Michelle Craig training Understanding in side-saddle

"We look forward to working with METS and to encouraging other states and communities to replicate the METS model," continued Coakley. "The more equine enthusiasts work together, the more help can be provided for horses in need," said Carrie Hull, MHC Executive Director.

Here's how METS works!
1. When an owner contacts METS seeking assistance, the owner completes the METS Placement Application, which includes information about the situation.
2. Once the application is reviewed, METS Director, Brittney Vallot, and a volunteer schedule an appointment to visit with the horse and owner.
3. During the assessment, information is gathered relating to the horse's history, current management, health, behavior, skills, training and suitability. Photos and videos are also taken during the appointment.
4. Following completion of the assessment, appropriate options available for the horse are discussed with the owner. While most horses qualify for placement assistance, METS also assists owners with keeping their beloved horses rather than having to rehome them.
    If quality of life or safety is a concern, the owner may select humane euthanasia for which assistance may be provided.
    If the owner decides to utilize placement assistance, the horse is listed on the METS Network of Available Horses and publicized on social media.
5. Anyone who makes an inquiry about the horse is required to submit an application. Following METS review and approval of the application, METS shares the information about the potential home with the owner and provides the contact information to the owner. If all goes well, hopefully the connection results in a successful placement.

About EQUUS Foundation: The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002, also known as Horse Charities of America, the only national animal welfare charity in the United States 100% dedicated to protecting America's horses and strengthening the bond between people and horses. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Contact the EQUUS Foundation, Inc., at 168 Long Lots Road, Westport, CT 06880, Tele: (203) 259-1550, E-Mail: mail@equusfoundation.org, Website: www.equusfoundation.org.

About METS: The Maryland Equine Transition Service (METS) is a statewide equine safety net initiative of the Maryland Horse Council that provides safe alternatives for horses needing homes by helping owners identify and select the best transition options for their horses. Contact METS, at PO Box 606, Lisbon, MD 21765, Tele: (410) 970-6474, E-Mail: info@mdequinetransition.org, Website: www.mdequinetransition.org.
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