The Issues We Face

Every few years, the American Horse Publications group, this year along with Zoetis, produces an in-depth survey to study our horse industry as a whole.
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Horse owners and caretakers from all corners of the horse world are asked to share their information and insights—all disciplines, all competitive levels, backyard horse owners, managers of large stables, everyone who touches a horse can take the survey.

The information AHP gathers is extensive. They request general demographics such as age, sex, and location. But they also tackle deeper topics. The one that always stands out to me entails the issues we face in the horse industry. Read on to see what they found.

Ongoing Concerns

For the fourth consecutive AHP-conducted survey, unwanted horses rank at the top of respondents’ concerns, at 37.8-percent. The issue of unwanted horses is something our Equine Network group recognizes and supports with its A Home for Every Horse initiative, sponsored by Purina. (Learn more at AHomeForEveryHorse.com.)

In second place, just 1.4 precent behind, is the cost of horsekeeping. Boy howdy, can we relate there! The everyday costs of having horses are enough on their own. Add in the threat of an emergency, and we’re all saving every penny we can find to put toward the mindful care of our horses, not to mention the cost of the land we keep them on. (You can find many tips and tricks for pinching pennies on HorseandRider.com.)

Rounding out the top four concerns are the loss of trails and competition for open space. Whether you trail ride or prefer the arena, these issues should be concerns in your horse life. Loss of land and trails has far-reaching effects. Read about how you can actively support the preservation of these amenities in “On the Open Trail” on page 58.

In closing, the report states, “According to past and present AHP survey results, nearly 10 years removed from the onset of the Great Recession of 2008 to 2009, the equine industry appears to have firmly stabilized. Industry participants have made great strides in addressing important issues, such as the unwanted horse issue, and now have their sights focused on additional challenges, such as the scarcity of riding areas and open spaces.”

We join them in focusing on these concerns and are interested to read about what concerns you face in your horse life.

On the Cover

This isn’t the first time you’ve seen Madison Shambaugh, aka “Mustang Maddy,” in the pages of H&R, but it is the first glimpse we’ve given you into how she became one of the most talked-about clinicians on the scene. You’ll be interested to learn that her rise to fame didn’t come easily. She started out the way most of us did: as a horse-crazy kid given mounts to ride that were beyond her beginner skillset. Learn all about her horse life, beginning on page 38.

In This Issue

Whether we’re ready or not, fall (and then—gasp—winter) are on the horizon, and we want to help you be prepared for both. Turn to page 62 for a comprehensive set of checklists to get you, your horse, and your barn ready for fall’s cooler weather. On page 22, we offer up four new winter blankets for you to consider as you shop for the perfect cover to keep your horse warm and toasty.

If your horse hasn’t been exposed to cattle, maybe it’s time to introduce him to some bovine friends. Senior Editor Jennifer Forsberg Meyer worked with trainer Christy Wood to put together a simple and safe method to add cattle to your routine. In the rest of the issue you’ll find hints about romal reins, insightful information about reading your horse’s facial expressions, and how to get a reluctant horse to move forward—safely.

Be sure to share your thoughts about the issue—and the concerns facing your horse life—by emailing the address below.

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