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Ohio Equine Industry Forms Umbrella Coalition

COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 7, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an attempt to overcome numerous challenges and what amounts to an economic crisis in several segments, members of this state's horse community today announced the formation of the Ohio Equine Industry Coalition (OEIC).

The organization, designed to include all breeds and disciplines, was formed by a "steering committee" made up of representatives from the Ohio Quarter Horse Association, the Ohio Horsemen's Council, the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, the Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners, the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and a representative from the draft horse community. The OEIC will represent an industry which accounts for an over $1.4 billion goods and services impact on Ohio.

"In today's Ohio, more kids are growing up on concrete than on dirt and kids are more likely to learn about computer programming than animal sciences," said acting Steering Committee Chair Dr. John Mossbarger. "The OEIC is a critical step for the horse industry to tell its story to a wide audience."

The move is already drawing praise from key stakeholder groups.

"I think this is a critical step for an industry that is really struggling right now," said Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Commodity Relations Sandy Kuhn. "Most other agricultural interests in the state have commodity groups or associations looking out for the best interest of their part of the entire industry (or best interests of their commodity). The Ohio equine industry has a long history of excellence and is a vital piece of this state's agricultural framework."

Facing issues such as increased environmental regulations, sale prices bottoming-out, a lack of large-animal and equine veterinary practitioners and development encroaching on riding trails, it will be critical for the equine industry to present a united front.

"This is a model that has worked successfully at a national level with the American Horse Council and regionally with the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) in Kentucky," Dr. Mossbarger said. "Bringing together an industry this large and diverse...there's no limit to the positive effect it can have."

The OEIC is already involved in Ohio policy with a potential revival of an equine marketing program, introduced in prior sessions by Sen. Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland).

For more information on the OEIC, including membership and affiliate sponsorship, please visit http://www.ohioequineindustry.org.

About the Ohio Equine Industry Coalition

The Ohio Equine Industry Coalition is currently comprised of over 10,000 equine enthusiasts, including participants from all breeds and disciplines. The OEIC's stated mission is to converge the diverse Ohio equine industry, harnessing its passion and grassroots resources to promote the economic, recreational and historical significance of all breeds and disciplines through advocacy and statewide education and awareness.


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