AHC's 2014 Issues Forum and Convention Approach

The American Horse Council’s (AHC) National Issues Forum, taking place June 24, will feature a program titled “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 ten years,” said AHC president Jay Hickey. “What are the reasons? 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?”

The AHC’s Forum will address these and other questions surrounding this issue. Tim Capps, PhD, director of the University of Louisville, Kentucky, Equine Industry Program, 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. Hickey said, “We have lined-up speakers from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), 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 to discuss how the drop affects them and what they might be doing. This is a very diverse group.”

This year’s National Issues Forum will be held in Washington, DC during the AHC’s annual convention. The annual meeting will take place June 22-25 at the Washington Court Hotel.

Attendees will also hear an update on "Time to Ride," an AHC Marketing Alliance initiative, from 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, 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” can enter (http://www.thehorse.com/articles/33511/time-to-ride-introduces-100-day-horse-challenge) Time to Ride’s “100 Day Horse Challenge.”

Additionally, Nat White, DVM, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, will provide an update on the National Equine Health Plan (NEHP) and the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC). A past-president of the AAEP, White has been spearheading efforts to draft the NEHP, which is intended to prevent or mitigate disease outbreaks. Fundamental to that plan is the EDCC 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.

The Congressional Reception will be on the evening of June 24, on Capitol Hill. This is an opportunity for the horse community to visit informally with Congress members to renew old friendships, make new ones, and discuss industry concerns.

The Congressional Ride-In will take place 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.

More information on the forums and the entire AHC annual meeting, including registration and hotel information, is available on the AHC’s website.

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