We’ve come a long way….and the trail still stretches before us!
Since the first general membership meeting August 1, 1978 the Iowa Horse Council (IHC) has been striving to promote the equine industry in Iowa. Originally known as the Iowa Horse Industry Council (IHIC), we became the Iowa Horse Council with the acquisition of the 501.C-3 non-profit status in 2002. Our mission has remained the same over the years:
The Iowa Horse Council is a volunteer based, non-profit organization that believes in the value of horses and horse activities. The Iowa Horse Council serves and supports the entire industry through communication, education, and promotion.
The IHC actively works on several issues important to horse owners. Sales tax has continued to remain an issue of concern and as early as 1979 an investigation on ending the Iowa sales tax on horse use products and pari mutual support through grassroots lobbying was initiated. Efforts continued into the 1990’s and today to ensure fair taxes and use of taxes for the Iowa equine industry.
Other issues revolving around horse trails and their use in Iowa is also followed closely by the council. In 1986 a trails project was started and financial support was provided to the Iowa DNR for the publication of an Iowa Trails Booklet. This booklet is still available today. IHC also provided manpower and partial funding for trail improvement work in 1999 for a project at Stephens Forest. Currently, IHC is monitoring trail discussions with DNR to ensure that horse trail riding lands and the rights of those who use them are protected as newly proposed laws are moved toward final approval.
The horsepower behind the development of the Iowa Equine Liability law was provided by the Iowa Horse Council. This work started in 1994 and ended in 1997 as this was signed into law. The IHC also helped fund the Equine Economic Impact Study in 2004 and 2005 that was initiated by the Equine Task Force Board. Set up, at the time, by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge, these results illustrate the significant impact of the equine industry in our state.
IHC has continue to make sure equestrians have places to showcase their talents and educate others on horses. One IHC member played an instrumental role in introducing equestrian events to the Iowa Games, while other members continue to build stronger adult and youth educational programs within the state.
Through monitoring of all of these issues IHC recognized the need for other organizations to be able to carry on work relating to some of the same beliefs as the council. In 2000, IHC developed and continues to fund an outstanding grant and sponsorship program that finances in part projects related to trails, education, health and well being, or other equine related events.
IHC cannot emphasize enough its belief in education. We established an avenue of breeds at the Iowa State Fair, academic scholarships for members of IHC, and the Iowa Horse Fair held each April since 1984. The Iowa Horse Fair brings top notch clinicians and knowledgeable horsemen and women or suppliers to Iowa to demonstrate or speak on topics of interest to the horse people. In 1995 the IHC provided on half of the funds to place the “Horse Handbook” in all county extension offices and in 1996 collaborated with the State Historical Society on the HAY DAYS exhibition which opened in 1998 at the Historical Building in Des Moines. IHC members helped create the Really Big Coloring Book of Horses which is still a popular item today.
Communication can be the greatest challenge to an organization like the Iowa Horse Council who tries to facilitate the flow of information to, with and between all facets of the horse industry in Iowa. As members of the American Horse Council we receive and pass on any pertinent issues that may affect horse people legislatively in Washington, D.C. Since 1982, we have published a newsletter, The Iowa Horse, for members keeping them abreast of council activities as well as equine health issues, legislation, and horse related activities occurring within the state. In 2000 IHC established a web site to serve members as well as horse enthusiasts in our state.
We are looking for members with energy, ideas and a dedication to the horse industry in the State of Iowa. The Iowa Horse Council has worked for the horse owner, enthusiast, and supplier for the past 30 years and is ready to press on. We invite you to join us for our ride into the future and work with us to promote the horse industry in Iowa.