Equine Industry Issues Discussed at the American Horse Council Forum

The American Horse Council (AHC) held a day-long Issues Forum at Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 2. This is the second such forum held outside the AHC's base in Washington, D.C.

Topics covered included:

  • Preserving Our Land and Use--Conservation Easements, by attorney Margaret M. Graves, a board member of Bluegrass Conservancy, and attorney Shannon Bishop Arvin, of Stoll Keenon Ogden, PLLC;
  • Own Responsibly--Spread the Word, Latest from the Unwanted Horse Coalition with Katy Carter of the AHC, Kristin Hiz of The Jockey Club, and Sally Baker of the American Association of Equine Practitioners;
  • Federal Legislation and Regulations Affecting the Industry by AHC President James J. Hickey Jr.;
  • Keeping the IRS at Bay--Federal Tax Laws for Horse Owners, by attorney Doug Romaine of Stoll Keenon Ogden, PLLC;
  • The Ins and Outs of Movement--Import/Export Issues for Horse Owners, by Andrea Morgan, DVM, Associate Deputy Administrator for Regional Operations, USDA;
  • The Sleeping Giant--Update on Equine Piroplasmosis, by Kent Fowler, DVM, Chief Animal Health Branch, California Department of Food and Agriculture; and
  • Do You Have A Match?--Immigration Issues Facing the Horse Industry, by attorney Charles R. Baesler Jr. of Stoll Keenon Ogden, PLLC.

Equine Center

AHC President James J. Hickey, Jr., spoke on federal changes affecting the horse industry.

On the topic of unwanted horses, Carter noted that no one knows how many horses are unwanted in the United States. The group's task is first to educate owners to "own responsibly." The group has created tools to this end, including a Web site, brochure, handbook, and presentations.

New to the Web site is a listing of groups that can take unwanted horses. The group has also created advertisements to promote responsible horse ownership that publications can use as filler.

An audience member asked if anyone knows how many rescue groups there are in the United States. Carter said no, because there is no umbrella organization for those types of groups. (One example of such an umbrella organization is the North American Riding for the Handicapped, which oversees handicapped riding programs.)

A member from the audience stated that New Mexico has laws regulating equine welfare and rescue groups. Another member suggested putting AHC brochures and information on responsible horse ownership in with paperwork for adopted Bureau of Land Management horses.

Hickey noted that the initial purpose of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to make horse owners understand their responsibilities to an animal that can live 30 or more years. "The organization is limited (in what it can do) because of funding," he said. "We don't want people to have different ideas of what our group is. We don't raise money (for welfare uses) or regulate retirement facilities. Educating owners is our job now--that might expand in the future."

More from the AHC Issues Forum will be published in the near future.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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