The METS Model: What We Can Do For Maryland Horses


Don’t forget! Giving Tuesday is just under two weeks away! Our goal for this year is to raise $5,000. On average, it costs $100 for METS to go out on-site and perform an assessment for one horse. With $5,000, we would be able to go out and assess 50 horses in the new year. Can you help us reach this goal? Donate here:


About the METS Program:
A few weeks ago, you heard from Program Coordinator Emily Stakem and Assessments Specialist Katy Whipple and learned how they contribute to the METS program. This week, we wanted to highlight all the assistance options and resources our program has to offer. Read on to learn more!

The Maryland Equine Transition Service (METS) is a statewide equine safety net initiative of the Maryland Horse Council Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, that provides safe alternatives for horses needing homes by helping owners identify and select the best transition options for their horses. The METS program is the very first of its kind: we are a mobile service, and we don’t take ownership of the horses that we assist. Because we do not have a farm facility, our program has much lower operating costs than a traditional rescue model and can easily be replicated in other states.

One of our goals is to help remove the stigma surrounding the horse in need of transition. Horses in need of transition come in every shape, size, breed, color, age, training level, and temperament. METS provides individualized services for these horses, including equine assessment, marketing assistance, end-of-life support, and facilitation of the transition of horses to new homes. Another unique aspect of the METS program is that in addition to private owners, we work with a wide network of industry organizations and professionals to source the best options—from retraining to retirement—for these horses. Our main goal is to prevent Maryland equines from becoming vulnerable to the slaughter pipeline. No horse in Maryland should ever be at risk of entering the pipeline, and we want to help protect all equines from this fate.

Equine Assessment and Marketing Assistance: Assistance with rehoming a horse is our most requested service. When an owner contacts us looking for help rehoming their horse, we work with them to set up an in-person equine assessment. During the assessment, our Assessments Specialist speaks with the owner to get as much info as possible about the horse. We also take confirmation pictures and video of the horse. After the assessment, staff create a written advertisement for our website and Facebook. We also post listings on and Retired Racehorse Project, when applicable. Once listed, all horse inquiries and placement applications come through METS staff, undergoing a robust application process, reference check, and interview, before the applicant’s information is sent to the original owner.

End-of-Life Support: For some horses, humane euthanasia is the best and most responsible option. In general, this option is for horses suffering from a poor quality of life due to chronic illness or lameness, advanced age making management difficult, a history of dangerous behavioral issues, or when no other safe option is available to the horse.

METS staff are prepared to assist owners with making and carrying out the decision to euthanize in a variety of ways. Saying goodbye to a long-time companion and partner is difficult and METS staff are prepared to offer the emotional support necessary to find peace of mind. METS staff can assist with the scheduling of an appointment with a veterinarian that is a METS Partner, either at the horse’s facility or off-site. If disposal assistance is needed, METS can also assist with that service. Financial assistance may be provided to those who qualify.

Out of State: While METS can only directly assist with horses located in Maryland, we also want to help individuals who contact us out of state. METS staff will listen to the owner’s situation, and help them find the best resources for their situation and their area.


In order to continue helping Maryland horse owners, we need your help. Our grant ends in June 2021 and we are currently working on becoming self-sufficient. Since 2018, we have received over 400 calls for assistance, and that number just keeps growing. This shows us that our program is needed, and the 107 horses we have directly transitioned proves that our program is effective. Please consider donating so we can continue to help Maryland horses in need of transition!