Why is it important to maintain a horse community?
- For preservation of open spaces and protection of the environment:
- Horses are critical to maintaining a mixture of land uses including open space. Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture
J. Carlton Courtner credits the horse industry with "preserving open spaces, trails and the rural countryside".
- Open spaces are critical to both environmental quality and or quality of life. Opne space has immeasurable public values, including reducing stress, improving air and water quaility,
promoting less traffic congestion, and providing numerous recreational and wildlife benefits -- all of which translate into economic, social and individual quality-of-life
improvements for the community.
- According to Land Protection, published in 1994 by the Land Trust Alliance, the economic benefits of incorporating open land into growth plans as part of a mix of
residential, commercial/industrial, and agricutural/open space can aid in achieving a positive cash flow for local governments. The simple fact is that housing subdivisions cost the
government more dollars for infrastructure such as schools, fire and police protection than the tax money the houses generate.
- For economic reasons:
- Accoridng to the National Economic Study of the Horse Industry, a 1997 American Horse Council (AHC) study, the total annual economic impact created by the horse industry is $112 billion,
resulting in approximately 1.4 million jobs throughout the economy. The horse industry pays nearly $2 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
- In 1995, the economic impact of the horse industry in Virginia was $1.04 billion, providing over 24,500 jobs. There were 225,400 horses in Virginia, and Fairfax County has over 5,000 horses. At the local
levle - the money spent for the education of horse riders and drivers, apparel, vehicles, and farm equipment are investments made by horse enthusiasts which ripple throughout a community. Contractors build stables and fencing with materials
provided by local distributors and manufacturers. Hay sales can be one of the last vestiges of an agricultural economy in urbanizing areas that allow farmers to keep their land productive, open and out of development.
- For family-oriented recreational values:
- Taking care of horses is often a family activity--with as many hours spent caring for horses as are spent riding. Horse care develops a work ethic and character in our youth and helps create strong
families that benefit society in untold ways. Supporting youthful riders benefits the entire community. Young people who are busy learning the skill, responsibilities, and discipline of horse care don't have time to get into trouble.
Last Update - January 23rd, 2009