Horse council’s forum to discuss breeding decline

foal-stockThe American Horse Council’s National Issues Forum next month is to explore the reasons for a decline in the number of  registered horses in every major breed registry.

The session, “Where Have All the Horses Gone,” at the forum on June 24, will feature several speakers on the topic.

“Every major equine breed registry has seen a dramatic drop in the number of registered horses over the last ten years. What are the reasons?” asked AHC president Jay Hickey.

“Is this a function of the economy or a fundamental, permanent change in the industry?  What will it mean for the industry, short and long-term? Are some breeds and activities affected more than others?”

Tim Capps, Director of the Equine Industry Program at the University of Louisville, will be the keynote speaker and will try to put the situation in context: “Have we been here before? Is this a result of the downturn in the economy or something different? Does the industry have the correct data to make such determinations and plan for the future?”

The forum will also feature three panels featuring a cross-section of breed registries, trainers and other stakeholders offering their thoughts on the drop.

Speakers from the American Quarter Horse Association and Arabian Horse Association will join speakers from the American Association of Equine Practitioners,Maryland Horse Breeders Association, National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, The Jockey Club, Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and the United States Equestrian Federation to discuss how the drop affects them and what they might be doing, Hickey said.

This year’s National Issues Forum will be held on Tuesday, June 24, in Washington, DC during the AHC’s annual convention.  The annual meeting will run from June 22 to 25 at the Washington Court Hotel.

Attendees will also hear an update on Time to Ride, an initiative of the American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance, by Patti Colbert, of PCE Enterprises.  Time to Ride has launched a national campaign and contest with a goal of introducing 100,000 new people to a horse experience between May 31 and September 7, 2014.  Nationwide, 1000 members of the horse community will have the opportunity to compete for $100,000 in cash and prizes in three different categories based upon size.  Up to 1000 “hosts” may enter Time to Ride’s “100 Day Horse Challenge.”

There will also be an update on the industry’s National Equine Health Plan and the Equine Disease Communication Center by Dr Nat White, past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.  Dr White has been spearheading efforts to draft a National Equine Health Plan, which is intended to prevent or mitigate disease outbreaks. This would include an Equine Disease Communication Center to coordinate and disseminate timely and accurate information about diseases in general and outbreaks when they occur.

The AHC’s convention will also include the AHC’s Congressional Reception, the Congressional Ride-In, and meetings of all AHC committees and the Unwanted Horse Coalition.  “As always, the AHC’s annual meeting brings together the horse industry’s leaders, stakeholders, service providers and rank-and-file to discuss common issues of importance,” Hickey said.

AHC’s Congressional Reception will be Tuesday night, June 24, on Capitol Hill.  This is an opportunity for the horse community to visit informally with Members of Congress to renew old friendships, make new ones, and discuss industry concerns.

The annual Congressional Ride-In will take place all day Wednesday, June 25.  The Ride-In allows members of the horse community to meet with their elected representatives and federal officials to discuss important issues affecting them.  All members of the horse community are encouraged to participate, even if they don’t attend the AHC convention.  The Ride-In literally illustrates the goal of the AHC to “Put More Horsepower in Congress.”

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