Charleston, WV – After a year of planning and organizational meetings, the horse community in West Virginia is announcing the launch of the West Virginia Horse Coalition on February 1 at 10 am at the State Capitol at the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
This public/private partnership has been formed under the leadership of West Virginia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt. The West Virginia Horse Coalition will strengthen the industry, provide the necessary infrastructure, and increase tourism and economic development opportunities throughout the state of West Virginia.
“West Virginia has a lot to gain by bringing stakeholders together to create a unified strategy for expanding our equine industry. The first step was to form a West Virginia Horse Coalition, setting the stage for improvements,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “We are excited for what this group will put forward, but I promise the Horse Coalition has the potential for spurring economic development, increased recreational opportunities and farm incomes for our state.”
The coalition which represents horse owners, trainers, small businesses, veterinarians, advocacy groups, farmers, and ancillary service providers has set an aggressive plan to promote and protect the horse industry in the state and the surrounding region. The website located at www.westvirginiahorsecoalition.org will feature membership information, contact information for regional chair people, boarding facilities, a calendar of events, medical services, disease alerts, education, and equine related tourism.
“We are excited to announce the formation of the West Virginia Horse Coalition,” said Jana Tetrault, West Virginia Horse Coalition board member. “At the invitation of Kent Leonhardt, we brought together people involved in the horse industry throughout the state to discuss the strengths and weaknesses in our state. This group of enthusiastic members continued to meet, and the result is the formation of this coalition.”
In the coming months, the regional chair people will be working in their regions to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses that exist in West Virginia as it pertains to the horse industry. In addition, they will continue to gather grass roots support and membership to strengthen the coalition.
The horse industry in the state includes owners with one horse to the two live thoroughbred racetracks in the state with thousands of horses. It encompasses every discipline from saddle seat to hunter jumper to rodeo. “Recent data from the USDA shows the enormous impact that the horse industry has as an economic driver and a tourism attraction,” said Tetrault. “Through this coalition we plan to increase the overall impact on tourism and the economy in West Virginia.”
For more information contact the West Virginia Horse Coalition at [email protected] and on Facebook.
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West Virginia Horse Coalition · 820 Virginia St E · Charleston, WV 25301-2813 · USA