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The Women & Horses Newsletter - November/December 2002
Horse Protection for the New Year
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         Women and Horses Newsletter, November/December 2002


              ~~~~~~~From Mary D. Midkiff~~~~~~~

     1. Reminder: Upcoming Events
     2. Article: Horse Protection for the New Year

1. Upcoming Events - Please come if you can.

     Note: You'll find the complete Calendar here:

    * January 29-31, 2003
       Pomona, California 
       Women & Horses(TM) "Getting the Most from your Horse 
          Partnership" Lectures and Demonstrations 
       http://www.equineaffaire.com for tickets and information

   * April 4-6, 2003
       Des Moines, IA 
       Women & Horses(TM) "Getting the Most from your Horse 
       Lectures and Demonstrations 
       Contact: Karen Harris 515-279-2173

2. Horse Protection for the New Year

Every now and then Iím motivated to write about the importance 
of supporting representative local, state and national horse 
councils and organizations. With the recent elections it once 
again became apparent to me that there is a great deal of apathy
amongst us, particularly horse people. We tend to think that 
someone else will always carry the load. So what if I donít vote
or donít send in my annual membership.

The reasons for casting a vote and paying annual dues ($20, 
typically) are similar. They begin with protection. Your member-
ship contribution to the American Horse Council, your state horse
council or your county council goes toward making sure you and 
your horseís interests are represented. To some extent, we have
what we need to live, work and play as it applies to 
horsekeeping, recreation, sport and entertainment because a 
group of horse people has unified on our behalf and expended the
energy to organize and represent us. We may not completely 
always agree with what the group decides to do, but at least 
weíre made aware of a potential problem with a law or a 
regulation, and have a voice in the process of addressing it.   

Protection starts with the welfare of the horse. When it comes 
to issues that directly affect you and your horse business - 
transportation laws and issues, brand inspections, disease 
control, zoning, land use allocation, building codes, and feed
or hay regulations, to name a few Ė youíre informed through a
newsletter, bulletin or memorandum. None of us as individuals
has the time or the resources to constantly watch and tend to
all the changes going on around us. If youíre like me, youíd 
rather be spending that time with your horse. The smallest 
change in the wording of a proposed law or regulation can make
a difference, and itís nice (and necessary) to know that your 
local horse group is paying attention.

Itís a fact: horses require land to live, play and work. As 
horse owners and users we need protection to ensure our story is
always considered and included when decisions are made by 
developers, zoning officials, environmentalists, state and 
national parks systems and land managers. As land and water 
become more and more precious and scarce, it is paramount that 
we be represented before all governing bodies.  

The trail systems are a perfect example of how horse 
organizations work for you and your horse. For example, due to 
the excellent work already performed by horse people in 
Colorado, we have an exemplary trail network - one of the best 
in the nation, Iím sure. Horse-friendly open space and trail
networks are prized possessions of horse people, but growth, 
urban sprawl, environmental issues and business are always 
threatening them. It is the mission of our local horse 
organizations to make sure the present and future use of public
lands includes horses.

In my travels, I hear horror stories of horse people losing use
and access to multi-use and shared trail systems. When I ask 
them how this happened, their reply is usually founded in lack 
of awareness that the threat was even being posed, or lack of 
organization and representation in responding to it (including 
the almost always fatal inability of horse people to agree to 
present a united front rather than argue their own cases 
individually). Horse use ends up being limited and confined to 
private lands, equestrian centers, horse shows and backyards.

In my years in Washington, D.C. with the American Horse 
Council (AHC), I realized it takes a crisis for people to 
demonstrate some level of group thinking. Today, it seems there
is a crisis waiting around every corner, especially as it 
relates to the balance of urbanization, suburbanization and open
space in our state. It should be enough for you to know that to
maintain the horse lifestyle, there has to be a watchdog and a 
means to develop a response or plan. Just think of it as an 
extremely inexpensive annual insurance payment on your horse.

I hope that joining a local or state horse council, in the new 
year and every year to come, will become a part of your horse 
budget. Even if you are not a horse owner, you can participate
and volunteer to support the industry. Your apathy alone can 
limit everyoneís enjoyment of his or her horses. Your vote and 
your membership count a great deal.

You may find it helpful to purchase the AHCís annual horse 
industry directory for north America. I find it useful and 
valuable on a regular basis. It has a myriad of listings 
including state horse councils, all horse publications, state
horse parks, extension specialists, etc. Or even better, join 
the AHC to make sure our interests are heard before the federal
To purchase the AHC Directory, get membership information, or 
simply find out more contact:

	American Horse Council
	FAX: 202/296-1970

Happy Holidays to you and your horses!

 - Mary D. Midkiff

           Women have a special magic with horses...
Equestrian Resources, Inc.
PO Box 20187
Boulder, CO 80308
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