On Saturday, July 22, Time to Ride, an initiative of the American Horse Council (AHC) Marketing Alliance, hosted the third annual National Meet a Horse Day.
Calling to action participants in the Time to Ride Challenge and other horse professionals and organizations across the United States, National Meet a Horse Day is all about: meeting horses! Beginner-friendly events providing new enthusiasts with the opportunity to interact with a horse for the first time took place across the United States. Time to Ride’s largest program, the Challenge, is a nationwide contest awarding stables, clubs, and businesses throughout the United States with their share of $100,00 in cash and prizes.
From grassroots horse owners to the American Quarter Horse Association and the AHC, events were hosted by all levels of horse professionals and organizations. At its joint National Meet a Horse Day/National Day of the Cowboy event in Amarillo, Texas, the American Quarter Horse Association provided over 1,800 people with beginner-friendly horse experiences and 191 first-time rides. New people of all ages were invited to celebrate the joy of horses and the spirit of the American cowboy and cowgirl!
Visitors walking in the National Mall could pet the horses, ask questions, learn more about what the officers on mounted patrol do, and learn where to connect with a local stable.
“Part of the AHC’s work is to introduce new people to horses and increase accessibility not only to the horses themselves, but the horse industry as well,” said AHC President Julie Broadway. “We felt this partnership with the USDA’s Farmers Market was a perfect opportunity to have people come meet a horse in a relaxed atmosphere.” One lucky participant was even able to win a free thirty-minute beginner riding lesson generously donated by a local stable.
The Challenge hosts were the most influential participants in National Meet a Horse Day. With everything from hay rides and horse painting to meeting horses at an ice cream parlor, there was no lack of creativity when planning engaging events for newcomers.
Some host’s communities are demanding an encore. Debi O’Brien, owner of Equine LEAD LLC, said of their event: “We had a great turnout for [National Meet a Horse Day] at Equine LEAD! People are asking for it to be an annual event, which is really exciting. We’ve participated annually, but not a big event like this year. The community really loved it!”
Such events are the reason that hosts experience business growth by participating in the Challenge. Similar events are planned across the country throughout the remainder of the Challenge.