The American Horse Council (AHC) Foundation hosted a virtual equine industry “ecosystem” research summit November 2-3, 2021. In today’s business climate and with looming threats to our industry’s livelihood, it’s essential that the equine industry not only proactively conduct research on all aspects of our “ecosystem,” but that we promote and publicize our work to demonstrate that we are good stewards for our equine companions, our participants, our industry employees, and partners. This summit was intended to open a dialogue to help develop strategies to identify ways to collaborate and leverage our collective resources to accomplish more research, promote cross platform networking, and develop strategies to help inform the public about our efforts to maintain/enhance health, safety, and the overall well-being of the equine community.
AHC President Julie Broadway stated, “We strategically chose the word ‘ecosystem’ to encompass the entire community of research, whether it be equine health, equestrian safety, equestrian health and well-being, environmental (i.e., turf, footings, dust particles), or other aspects of the equine industry.”
Funders such as Grayson Jockey Research Foundation, Morris Animal Foundation, AQHA Foundation, Horses & Humans Research Foundation, EQUUS Foundation and many others—along with 25+ university researchers—participated in the summit and offered the following possible needs:
- Infrastructure: Need for establishment of an entity to continue these conversations and serve as organizer and umbrella organization for the effort
- Communications & Promotion: Improve communications regarding research across the industry; Develop resources and mechanisms to promote existing research; Ask breed/discipline association to include at least one research article each month in their newsletters; create central repository to house all research (WebMD for horses!)
- Resources & Relations: Develop mechanisms to foster collaboration and networking among funders and researchers; build a 10-year plan to grow our pool of researchers—concerns about fewer students going into research and loss of tenure tracks; and start mentoring program for young researchers
AHC staff will be processing all the summit findings and develop next steps to continue these conversations.
Cliff Williamson, AHC director of Health & Regulatory Affairs, added, “We were very pleased with the quality of conversations and enthusiasm for this subject. The bullets shared here are only a partial list of ideas, so we look forward to working with the industry to prioritize and move this forward.”
Contact Williamson at [email protected] for additional information.
About the American Horse Council
As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities.