Show love to the horse this December
What: Many animal lovers have a special place in their heart for the horse. As an animal associated with strength, beauty, freedom and American history, the horse attracts devotion from people of all walks of life. Join with equestrians, ranchers, breeders, and many others who work to care for horses to celebrate National Day of the Horse on Dec. 10.
Background: The horse has played a vital role in American history and economics, as well as influencing the culture and values of the U.S. Early Americans relied on horses to explore and expand the boundaries of the new country, giving rise to the Old West and making an industry out of ranching and cattle herding. The ranching industry continues today as an important part of the American economy, while horse rearing and riding are a passion for many who don’t live on ranches or farms. To recognize the heritage as well as the continuing importance of the horse, the U.S. Congress established the National Day of the Horse in 2004. The day also encourages Americans to celebrate the animal by taking part in horse-related celebrations, activities and programs.
Story Pitch: Horses are important to a variety of industries, giving many companies and organizations a chance to promote during National Day of the Horse. Makers of horse equipment, including saddles, riding gear, and grooming supplies, can support the day and use it to promote goods. In areas with good winter weather, stables can open up for visitors to share the joy of riding and caring for horses. They can also educate visitors and the public on how to take riding lessons and what kind of a commitment is involved in owning a horse. Other places to ride, including parks that provide horse trails, can use the day to attract riders. Horses require a great deal of tending to, and caregivers such as equine veterinarians, groomers, trainers, and even specialized horse therapists can use the day to educate horse owners on ways to best care for and treat their horses. Organizations and humane societies that rescue and rehabilitate neglected and abused horses also have an important opportunity to promote their cause and bring attention to the mistreatment of these animals.
Story Hook: There are more than 9.2 million horses in the U.S., with many, nearly 4 million, kept for recreational activities. This means millions of horses are involved in many other industries, including police work, racing, and farming. Providing such a variety of services makes for many challenges in monitoring the care and treatment of horses. Who looks out for the welfare of horses? Are there standards for care in the many horse industries? Who removes horses from an abusive owner, and where do these horses go? Keep the following in mind as you make your pitch:
- Owning a horse is expensive and a big commitment. How can someone who loves caring for and working with horses volunteer their time? What options are available for riders who can’t afford to buy a horse?
- What are the issues surrounding the maintenance of wild horse populations? What are the safety, economic and environmental issues associated with wild horses?
- Recreational riding is a big industry, but many riders are dependent on well-maintained trails and lands. What are the dangers of riding on poor trails? Who manages horse riding trails?
- What are important precautions to take when riding or training a horse?
- How are horses being used to help humans, such as through therapy and Equine Facilitated Learning?
Tips: Someone who works to rehabilitate and re-train mistreated horses is a great contact who can talk about why horses deserve special care. Someone who works closely with horses, such as a mounted police officer or professional equestrian, can share the bond they develop with their horses.
American Horse Council
Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association
National Wild Horse Association
United States Equestrian Federation
–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
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