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AHC’s 2014 Issues Forum and Convention Approach

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The American Horse Council’s National Issues Forum on June 24 will feature this year a program on “Where Have All the Horses Gone.” Every major equine breed registry has seen a dramatic drop in the number of registered horses over the last 10 years. What are the numbers? What are the reasons? Is this a function of the economy or a fundamental, permanent change in the industry? Can we identify trends? What will it mean for the industry, short and long-term? Are some breeds and activities affected more than others? What is the industry doing about it?

The AHC’s Forum will address these and other questions surrounding this critical issue. 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? 

Capps has been involved with the horse industry through his professional life in various capacities and now brings his experience and academic background to the issue. 

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

This year’s National Issues Forum will be held on Tuesday, June 24, in Washington, D.C., 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 Sept. 7, 2014. Nationwide, 1,000 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 1,000 “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. White has been spearheading efforts to draft a National Equine Health Plan. The plan is intended to prevent or mitigate disease outbreaks, which have cost the industry millions of dollars in care, biosecurity, and lost revenue because of cancelled or restricted commercial equine events. Fundamental to that plan is an Equine Disease Communication Center to coordinate and disseminate timely and accurate information about diseases in general and outbreaks when they occur. Plans have moved forward for such a communications center and White will update attendees on those efforts.

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.

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.

More information on these Forums and the entire AHC annual meeting, including registration and hotel information, can be found on the AHC’s website or by contacting the AHC.