As the saying goes, membership has its privileges. National and local horse councils help keep horsemen informed about government and other issues that can impact their rights to keep horses and enjoy the equestrian lifestyle.

According to its website, the American Horse Council is the only national association exclusively representing every segment of the vast equine industry in Washington, D.C.

Two categories of membership are available: Individual and Organizational.

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Individual memberships are for those with a personal interest in the equine industry such as a personal farm, small equine business, CPA, equine lawyer, etc. Individual memberships are limited to a single person per account.

Organizational memberships are geared towards those equine associations or organizations not only invested in the industry, but also interested in helping the AHC be successful in its mission, working with and supporting the industry as a whole, and increasing the visibility of the organization. 

See http://www.horsecouncil.org/ for more information about the American Horse Council.

New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania each have state horse councils. New York and Pennsylvania also have several regional and local councils.

State and local horse councils also help horse owners with local zoning issues, provide education on various equine topics, have guides to places open to trail riding, they sponsor scholarships and represent their states at the national level.

The state horse councils were instrumental in getting inherent risk laws passed in their home states. New York was the most recent to accomplish that task which limits liability in cases of equestrian accidents. Under these laws, the participant assumes liability when engaging in an equestrian activity except when gross negligence can be proven.

In New Jersey, one current issue being debated is sales tax on horse stalls. In 2006 changes to the state tax code required most boarding stable operators to collect a use tax on stall rental and other services.

Legislation has been introduced to repeal that tax.

 Under Assembly Bill 4241, the taxable service of “furnishing space for storage” would be redefined to exclude from the sales and use tax, charges for the lease or rental of certain stable stalls. The bill exempts charges for storing, maintaining, or servicing a horse, pony, mule, donkey, or hinny in a barn, stable, or other similar structure or facility by a person engaged in the business of boarding or stabling or otherwise keeping or holding horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, or hinnies.

The bill would take effect immediately and apply retroactively to Oct. 1, 2006. In addition, the bill would provide taxpayers a 24-month window to apply for a refund for any taxes, penalties, and interest collected or paid in connection with eligible sales and charges between that date and the effective date of the bill.

The tax issue is one that will be discussed at the New Jersey Agricultural Convention and Trade Show scheduled for Feb. 7-8 at Harrah’s Resort and Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City.

The Pennsylvania Equine Council is very active in education and trail issues. Upcoming events include trail stewardship workshops and a packing clinic. The council will have an education display at the upcoming Pennsylvania Farm Show and several other events throughout the year.

The New York State Horse Council is gearing up for its 50th anniversary since incorporation. A celebration will be held in September at the Horse Shows In The Sun (HITS) show.

For more information:

New Jersey

http://www.njhorsecouncil.com/

Pennsylvania

http://pennsylvaniaequinecouncil.org

New York

http://www.nyshc.org

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