American Horse Council’s 2017 Economic Impact Study
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the national survey, which is now closed. I’m pleased to report that at last count Illinois led all states in the number of surveys submitted. Data is being analyzed and should provide an updated quantified picture of what all of us know to be true – how much ownership of one horse contributes to the local economy. From vets, trainers, haulers and farriers to the guy who delivers your grain, our hooved pets are a source of income to many; including people living right in Barrington Hills and the Barrington area.
HCI is accepting applications for the Illinois Horse of the Year Award (the Dust Commander Award) and Illinois Horseman of the Year Award (the Ambassador Award) now through October 31. Last year was the first year that these awards were given out at the March Horse Fair in Springfield, courtesy of sponsor Morton Buildings. Criteria and application forms are found on the home page of the HCI website (www.horsemenscouncil.org). Check it out and be sure to nominate the very worthy local horse or local horse person that you know.
Four new laws and one new resolution were passed by our state legislature this year. The new laws are:
allow volunteers to maintain and build trails (HB 3455);
allow HCI to sell a horse decal for license plates (SB 0052);
clarify that horsekeeping is included as a protected activity under the Farm Nuisance Suit Act (SB 1529) and
smooth the process for receipt of federal Recreational Trails Grant program money (HB 2725).
Each law has been signed by the Governor and takes effect either immediately or on January 1, 2018
The new resolution is:
designed to help open more public riding trails (SJR 0012).
Full details about the new laws can be found at www.horsemenscouncil.org, under the “Key Issues” header on the Legislation page.
State Park Trail Suggestions
The Resolution SJR 0012 described above calls for a Bridle Trail Task Force composed of horsepeople, legislators and government representatives including Department of Natural Resources, Department of Transportation and Department of Agriculture be created. The Task Force is to look for ways to provide additional opportunities for trail riding in state parks and provide a report of their recommendations by December 31, 2017. This is our opportunity to have a voice to enhance trail riding in our state both for ourselves and also for future generations of horse owners.
Forty-seven state parks allow horseback riding, but only two of these sites offer more than 50 miles of trails; while there are seventeen sites that have fewer than ten miles of trails. Suggestions are expected to chiefly consist of asking that existing trails which are not currently open to horseback riders be opened for trail riding at sites where trail riding is already possible, with perhaps a focus on increasing the number of miles of trails where there are only a few miles available now.
Have you ridden in any of our state parks? Do you have any specific suggestions that should be conveyed to the Bridle Trail Task Force? If so, HCI would really like to hear your comments and consider them for inclusion in their set of recommendations to the Bridle Trail Task Force. Please contact Tony Troyer at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ron Rhoades at email@example.com with your specific ideas as early as possible in October.