MEET THE COALITION OF STATE HORSE COUNCILS
If your organization is the recognized horse council in your state and is a member of the American Horse Council, it is automatically also a member of the Coalition of State Horse Councils (CSHC). As an AHC Committee, the CSHC was formed to advise the AHC on state and local issues, to involve state horse councils in the work of the AHC, to provide cohesive national leadership for state horse councils, a networking forum and center for information dissemination for horse councils in the various states, and to positively contribute to the work of the AHC in keeping with the best interests of the horse industry.
The CSHC serves the grass roots of the equine industry through state-based horse councils. Ideally, these state horse councils actively represent the interests of individuals and groups from all breeds and all types of horse activities in the state. They are expected to serve as a means of communication for horse groups within the state, monitor legislative and administrative decisions that affect the horse industry, and seek to promote interest in horse related activities.
The Coalition, as it is casually known, actively seeks the participation in CSHC of all state horse councils and, whenever the opportunity presents itself, reaches out to state horse councils nationwide. To that end, the Coalition and the AHC have partnered to offer a duel member discount for AHC membership for any member of a state horse council. These memberships provide all the benefits of a regular AHC membership, including the significant savings of the AHC Advantage Plan. In addition, part of the fee goes to benefit the Coalition. The duel member discount is available right now. Contact the AHC office or your local horse council for an application.
The Coalition serves as a conduit for transferring information and calls to action between the AHC and the thousands of individuals who make up the horse industry in the various states and local communities all over the country. Oftentimes, local horsemen are the first to become aware of a budding issue or problem, and their request for guidance or assistance can sound an alarm for a developing national issue. Likewise, individual members of horse councils all over the country constitute a formidable army that can act at the local level to achieve national legislative or administrative results that benefit the equestrian industry nationwide.
The Coalition meets twice each year: once at the June AHC Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum in Washington D.C., this year June 12 – 15, and once in the late fall, a meeting hosted by one of its state horse council members. The 2017 Fall Meeting will be held in Lexington, KY, on November 10 – 12, and is hosted by the Kentucky Horse Council. Both the June and the Fall Meetings provide excellent opportunities for networking with the representatives of AHC, other horse councils, presenters, and other attendees. Members tell us that this networking is incredibly beneficial and is one of the main reasons they attend Coalition meetings year after year.
A Coalition goal is to become the central repository and disseminator of information needed by state horse councils and their members – the “grass roots” of the equine industry if you will. To that end, we watch with interest Colorado’s development of a web-based “Equine City Hall,” This innovative software was designed for the efficient dissemination of information and the convenient use and participation of the entire Colorado equine community. If this interactive management tool performs as intended, it has the potential to serve as a hub for information management and dissemination by any participating equine organizations, perhaps eventually even on a national basis. Only time will tell if Equine City Hall could position the Coalition as the go-to information hub for state horse councils, but CSHC will continue to monitor Colorado’s pilot project with special interest.
There is a great need for reputable data confirming the significant size and economic impact of the horse industry. Coalition members get requests from state legislators and administrators for this information all the time. They understand that equestrian-favorable outcomes in both legislation and the management of state land and resources is dependent on such data. It is no surprise, then, that 12 states (CO, KY, NC, CA, MD, WI, IL, MN, MI, VA, PA, OK) are participating as break-out states in the AHC’s equine industry economic impact study that is just getting underway. The study results will provide sound statistics to use in advancing the case for the financial involvement of businesses in equine activities as well as in equestrian-favorable state legislative and administrative decisions.
In addition to the national economic impact study, the Coalition plans to survey its members periodically to develop a continually updated data base about state- and council-specific activities, issues, and operations. The first such survey was done in 2015 and another is planned in advance of this year’s fall meeting. The survey results are intended to inform decisions of the Coalition and its member councils, and they should prove useful to the AHC as well.
A wealth of information useful to horsemen and horse organizations is available on the Coalition’s website. It is readily accessed by clicking on the CSHC link on AHC’s home page.
When on the website, be sure to visit the “Toolbox,” as it is chuck full of interesting and informative materials.
-Jean Ligon, Chair, Coalition of State Horse Councils