American Horse Council E-news June 19, 2020

We’d like to open this week’s newsletter with our heartfelt condolences to US Rep. Andy Barr (KY 6th District) on the sudden, unexpected loss of his wife,  Eleanor Carol Leavell Barr.  “Rep. Barr has been a long time supporter and advocate for the equine industry. We are keeping he and his family in our thoughts, and wishing them peace and strength in this difficult time.”  AHC President Julie Broadway

 

2020 AHC Conference goes Virtual
After much deliberation, and in consultation  with AHC members regarding their travel concerns due to the pandemic, AHC’s Annual Meeting & National Issues Forum originally scheduled for June 7-10, 2020 and postponed to October 2020, has now made the decision to forego an in person meeting and will instead be hosted in an  online virtual format the week of October 26-29, 2020.

The AHC is known for convening the equine industry’s visionaries and leaders in an intimate three days of informative and innovative discussion on some of the most relevant challenges and initiatives facing the industry. Attendees get to participate in discussions that help shape the industry and optimize existing and emerging legislative and regulatory issues.

AHC President Julie Broadway stated “While disappointed we won’t be able to network and socialize, we are excited about the possibilities a virtual event allows us to embrace. We envision opening attendance to some speakers to anyone interested for free, while some educational content will be offered at a deeply discounted rate. We’d also like to have a virtual cocktail party and celebrate our Van Ness, Rolapp and Hickey Award winners.”

Registration will open on or around August 1, 2020 on the AHC website for the virtual conference www.horsecouncil.org  Guest speakers and specifics regarding meeting dates/times to be announced very shortly.

AHC will hold its 2021 meeting June 6-9 at Le Meridien in downtown Denver, CO

 

AHC sends letter to Department of Interior – Bureau of Land Management
Re: E-Bikes on Non-Motorized Trails

Dear Director,
The American Horse Council on behalf of the hundreds of equine associations, small businesses,
horse owners, and millions of horse enthusiasts across the country, requests you halt and rethink all current plans to introduce motorized vehicles to non-motorized trails.

Based on the 2017 Equine Industry Economic Impact Study conducted by the American Horse Council and American Horse Council Foundation, we found that the horse industry contributes $122 billion a year to the U.S. economy annually on the backs of 7.2 million horses. 85% of those horses are used for recreational purposes, most notably trail riding. Additionally, the industry employs 1.5 million Americans and a third of all U.S. households has a member that is a horse enthusiast. Horses play a vital role in equine assisted therapies, with programs becoming increasingly popular with physically and emotionally challenged Americans, especially veterans.

The equine industry and it’s recreational counterparts are universally opposed to e-bikes on non-motorized trails and are speaking out in unison against any changes which would open trials to higher-speed, machine powered transport. Every equine group nationwide stands in opposition to the risks posed by introducing these vehicles to our nation’s non-motorized trails. These safety, economic and environmental threats are recognized by every group submitting comments to your agency, and echoed by millions of equestrian stakeholders.

Equestrians seek out non-motorized trails on BLM public lands in order to get away from fast-moving vehicles and enjoy a peaceful, natural environment. We often will choose to avoid trails where there is a potential for encounters with fast-moving bicycles. Most equestrians would find the specter of sharing trails with fast-moving E-bikes unappealing, if not frightening. The result would likely be the loss of these traditional users on non-motorized trails should the BLM authorize shared use by E-bikes.

The American Horse Council would be happy to connect you and your leadership team with stakeholders who represent the trail using equine community. We are concerned that stakeholder outreach was disregarded prior to the development of recent e-bike policies, and we offer ourselves to help reestablish that regulator-stakeholder relationship. Additionally, if we can provide any further information before your decision is made please contact Cliff Williamson at cwilliamson@horsecouncil.org

 

Re-Opening the Equine Industry – Senate Delivers Overwhelming, Bi-Partisan Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

In a rare act of bipartisan consensus, on Wednesday, July 17, the Senate voted in favor of the “Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act of 2020” by a vote of 73 to 25.  The “GAO Act,” referred to as a “recreation package,” combines key elements of legislation long supported by the horse industry.  This includes more resources for the backlog maintenance of public trails and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), at $900 million per year, which supports conservation easements that promote riding.  The bill also incorporates provisions of the industry-supported “Restore Our Parks Act.”  It creates a revenue stream to dedicate funds from energy development projects to support the maintenance of trails run by the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and other agencies.

During meetings in February, staff with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee informed representatives from the horse industry that they intended to move a recreation package that bundled the sector’s top trails issue priorities.   They also predicted that trails legislation would likely pass the Senate before the November election.  To support the efforts of senate allies, during the past two weeks members of the horse industry sent approximately 550 letters to the Senate urging passage of the bill.  As House lawmakers turn their attention to the “GAO Act” during the days ahead, AHC will issue an “action alert” urging passage and presentment to the president’s desk for signature and enactment into law.  To view a copy of a statement from Sen. Gardner (R-CO), the bill’s chief sponsor, please go to the following link:  https://www.gardner.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/senate-passes-gardners-great-american-outdoors-act.

Submitted by Bryan Brendle, Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs. bbrendle@horsecouncil.org

 

 

Time To Ride® Helps Rebuild the Grass Roots Horse Industry – TTR Program Now Open To More Instructors
There’s no such thing as a silver lining with COVID-19. In a strange twist of fate, however, the pandemic presents a unique opportunity for horseback riding.

Even with states gradually reopening, most sports activities for kids will take weeks or months to regroup and restart. Team sports are especially impacted, as traditional activities such as baseball, football, soccer and field hockey don’t allow for social distancing. Many summer season activities are already cancelled, and fall sports are questionable.

This leaves parents looking for easily accessible athletic activities that get their children out of the house while allowing for social distancing. Horseback riding fits this bill perfectly. In fact, anecdotal information indicates that riding lessons are already seeing an uptick in many states.

The purpose of AHC’s Time To Ride program is to introduce school-age children to horseback riding and horse care in a safe, welcoming environment through lessons at approved barns. To connect more kids with horses while helping the horse industry recover from the pandemic, the Time To Ride program has been revised to create three tiers of lesson facilities: Gold; Silver; and Bronze. Adding the Silver and Bronze levels gives the program a broader base of lesson programs across the country, enabling TTR to fill the need for kids’ athletic activities while helping instructors and lesson facilities recover financially.

Lesson facilities that meet the current Time to Ride Program Facility standards will be designated as Gold tier. Silver and Bronze tiers have fewer requirements. Time To Ride provides individualized marketing materials and support so lesson instructors and facilities can publicize their lesson programs to their local markets. The marketing materials provided for local outreach will be specific to each tier.

Lesson barns and instructors have taken a big financial hit along with everyone else because of the ongoing pandemic. While Time To Ride’s goal is to attract new kids to horses, as a program of the American Horse Council, it also has a role in supporting the overall equine industry. Helping lesson programs rebuild is a step toward fulfilling that larger mission.

To learn more about Time To Ride visit www.timetoride.org

 

COVID-19 Resources
https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources

 

Congress Continues to Revise Landmark “Paycheck Protection Program” for Small Business
While Congress and the Administration debate the timing and parameters for the next coronavirus relief package, enacting narrow fixes to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) signature Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has drawn bipartisan consensus.  On June 5, the President signed the bipartisan “PPP Flexibility Act,” which passed the House by a vote of 417 to one and the Senate by voice vote.  The law modifies the landmark small business loan program through the below provisions:

  • It reduces the amount of loan proceeds that recipients must use to pay workers, as a pre-condition for loan forgiveness, from 75 percent to 60 percent.
  • For those not receiving loan forgiveness, it extends the repayment period from two to five years.
  • The new law allows small business the dual options to participate in PPP loan forgiveness and payroll tax deferral.
  • It extends the coverage period for loan forgiveness from eight to 24 weeks, or up to December 31, 2020, whichever is earlier.
  • The law extends the June 30 rehiring deadline for furloughed workers to December 31, 2020.  It also creates re-hiring flexibility for businesses not able to hire at pre-pandemic staffing levels caused by closures and other restrictions arising from state actions to combat coronavirus.

In the wake of passage of the clarifying legislation, on June 16 SBA issued two new forms to help borrowers document expenses under the program.   The agency has created a two and one-half page “EZ” application for the self-employed and other classes of borrowers which requires fewer calculations.  To view a copy of the EZ form, please go to the following link:  https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/PPP-Forgiveness-Application-3508EZ.pdf. To view a copy of the revised “full loan forgiveness application,” which is four and one-half pages in length, please click here:  https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/3245-0407-SBA-Form-3508-PPP-Forgiveness-Application.pdf

In late April, Congress passed legislation to authorize an additional $350 billion for PPP, after the program depleted its initial $310 billion allocation under the CARES Act.   Since that time, demand for funds from the small business community has flattened.  According to SBA, out of the $660 billion allocated to PPP so far, the agency has delivered loans to approximately 4.5 million borrowers and still has more than $120 billion in the bank.

Submitted by: Bryan Brendle, Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs. bbrendle@horsecouncil.org

 

We Are Here Initiative (WAHI) Launched to Assist Horses Impacted by COVID-19
We are applauding a new Lexington, KY based initiative to assist Thoroughbreds that have been retired from horse racing due to financial and economic strain brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program facilitates the transition between the racetrack and approved aftercare facilities by acting as a layover point to help ease the influx of horses on aftercare and adoption organizations. This initiative arrives at a crucial time as COVID-19 restrictions limit live racing and many owners and training operations are forced to rehome horses.

To be eligible, horses must be registered Thoroughbreds trained by a licensed trainer in the United States; horses must be located at a U.S. licensed racetrack or training facility, or verified to be eligible for the 2020 racing season; and horses will require a current Coggins, health certificate, and the completed “We Are Here” documentation. The Kentucky Horse Park will become their temporary home until space is secured at a TAA accredited or TCA approved facility or adoptee.

For more information about the We Are Here Initiative, visit www.wahi.info. Thoroughbred owners and trainers needing to rehome their horses can contact the We Are Here hotline at 833-924-6882  (833-WAH-OTTB), which will provide information regarding the initial steps to be taken.

 

Help the AYHC Grant Program

“Each year the American Youth Horse Council selects worthy grant recipient(s) that directly involve youth and youth leaders in training programs within the horse industry. Our goal is to provide funding to help educate adult leaders and youth about horses through various programs that are developed by Universities, Equine Organizations, 4-H and Extension, Riding Stables and other equine programs. Collaboration is encouraged among these types of groups and it is exciting to see all the possibilities that are made available through the AYHC Grant program”, said Connie Jehlik, AYHC Grant Committee Chairperson.

We encourage you to support educational equine programming by participating in the AYHC Online Auction. All funds raised through the AYHC Online Auction will support the AYHC Grant Program. You don’t have to be a member of AYHC to place a bid so we invite everyone to join in the fun!

Visit 32auctions.com/AYHC2020 to view the items and place your bids! (you will need to create an account to access the auction but you do not need to provide a credit card in order to bid) 

  • Custom boots
  • Quilt
  • Publications from Certified Horsemanship Association, United States Pony Clubs, and American Youth Horse Council
  • Food items/gift baskets
  • Household decor
  • Helmet bag
  • Grooming tote
  • AYHC branded merchandise
  • Soil analysis and Forage analysis
  • Horse Judging Coach educational session
  • And more…..

If you miss out on the item you wanted to bid on, or nothing is catching your eye but you want to donate for the good of the cause, click the “DONATE” button in the top right of the auction dashboard.

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