Speakers for AHC's 2014 Issues Forum Announced

Speakers for the American Horse Council’s (AHC) National Issues Forum have been finalized, and the event will feature panels including representatives from across the horse industry on “Where Have All the Horses Gone?”

While this topic has been addressed at various organization’s meetings, it is the first time it will be discussed so broadly with representatives from breed registries, racing, showing, trainers, disciplines, veterinarians, and other stakeholders addressing the situation as it affects them.

“With the precipitous fall-off in the number of registered horses over the last ten years, we thought it would be important to get the perspectives of various organizations, breeds, disciplines, and stakeholders on why this is happening and what the ramifications will be,” said AHC president Jay Hickey. “It may affect various parts of the horse industry differently, but it will affect us all. Indeed, since we announced the forum, we have been surprised at how many thought the downturn was only affecting their breed or activity. Not so. It affects the entire horse community.”

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, what does it mean, and does the industry even have the data to make such determinations and plan for the future? Capps has been involved with various sectors of the horse industry throughout his professional life and brings his experience and academic background to the issue.

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

“We have lined-up top-notch panels of racing leaders, showing leaders, breed registries, and other sectors that support the industry and rely on a healthy industry for growth,” said Hickey.

Scheduled to speak are:

  • Jeff Blea, DVM, president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP);
  • Debbie Fuentes, registrar and senior director of registry and member services at the Arabian Horse Association;
  • Jim Gagliano, president and COO of The Jockey Club;
  • Jim McGarvey, chairman of the Back Country Horsemen of America;
  • Josh Pons of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association;
  • Lori Rawls, executive director of the United States Equestrian Federation;
  • Robin Richards, president of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association;
  • Cynthia Richardson, presidentof the Arabian Horse Association;
  • Don Treadway, executive vice president of the American Quarter Horse Association;
  • Rick Violette, president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association; and
  • Scott Wells, president and general manager of Remington Park Racing Casino.

“This is a very diverse group and should offer some interesting observations and advice,” said Hickey.

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

Patti Colbert, of PCE Enterprises, will also provide an update on Time to Ride, an initiative of the AHC's Marketing Alliance. Time to Ride has launched an ambitious national campaign and contest with a goal of introducing 100,000 new people to a horse experience between May 31 and Sept. 7, 2014.

There will also be an update on the industry’s National Equine Health Plan and the Equine Disease Communication Center from Nat White, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, past president of the AAEP, who has been spearheading the effort.

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,” said Hickey.

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

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