We have missed a generation of horse owners, maybe two.
My generation (the end of the Baby Boomers) was filled with the cries of women seeking equality and proving they could “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.” There were many of us in that generation who loved horses, and we had parents or grandparents who had farms, raised livestock and rode horses. Horses were around us, and we had opportunities as children to ride either for pleasure or formally (taking lessons and showing).
Many of us in that generation gave up our passion for horses while we were busy building successful careers and raising families. Some of us infected our children with the love of horses and gave them opportunities to develop that love. I’m happy to say that both of my daughters are horse owners.
But I was an empty-nester before I owned my first horse since childhood, and many of my contemporaries didn’t return to horses until after the kids were raised and our disposable incomes allowed us to venture into adult horse ownership. And there are many others who only dream about it.
Unfortunately, the second generation we missed infecting with the horse bug was that of our children’s peers. Most of them did not grow up with any type of horses within reach. And the children of those children are another generation farther from the farm. Their lives are filled with urban recreation and digital pastimes. If we don’t take action, yet another generation will never know the joy of horses.
I feel fortunate that I was in the room when equine industry leaders from businesses, organizations and publications decided that if we wanted the horse industry to grow, then it was up to us to take horses to the people.
A coalition was formed, funding was raised and the American Horse Council was tapped to be the official body to lead the charge. First came the need for research to determine how to laser-focus our efforts. Next came the need to walk among those targeted non-horse people and determine whether our messages were on target. Finally, we needed a rallying point for the industry to help it reach out to non-horse folks and help them find the right path to equine involvement.
Those of us who make a living with horses are the key to turning the tide of horse involvement in this country. We have to make horses accessible to those who would like to become involved, and invite those who never thought about horses to see how lifechanging they can be to children and young adults (and maybe even to us more “mature” women).
Whether you are a stable owner, a veterinarian, a horse business owner, someone who stages horse shows or rodeos, part of a horse organization or an enthusiastic horse owner with friends, you need to take part in the “100 Days of Horses Challenge.”
Step 1 is registering on TimetoRide.com to get more information.
Step 2 is deciding to become a host. For the 100 Days of Horses Challenge, the group is looking for “hosts” who are willing to put on events that will connect 100 non-horse people with horses over a 100-day period this summer.
Step 3 is determining what kind of event(s) you will host. The activities can include many types of interactions with horses, including open houses at farms; horse petting or grooming opportunities at schools, clubs or businesses; “test rides” at equine events, shows or farms; or “bring-a-friend” opportunities at lesson stables.
Step 4 is to win cash and prizes for yourself, your group or your equine business while helping grow the interest in horses and the equine industry.
The 100 Days of Horses Challenge is offering $100,000 in cash and prizes. Depending on the size of your stable, business or organization, you can win $10,000, $15,000 or $25,000 in cash, plus prizes such as equine products, horse supplies and possibly even having a name clinician give an event at your facility!
Hosts will receive marketing support and inclusion on a national database and a map promoting horses in your region, underscoring your status as a trusted resource for the equine industry in your area.
If you love horses, if you want to share that love and if you want to win part of $100,000 in cash and prizes this summer, now is the time to register on TimetoRide.com.
Get information on becoming a host, talk to your staff, friends, local equine organizations and shows about what type of event(s) you could host, then sign up to be a host!
The future of our industry is in your hands! Accept the Challenge!