“The Kansas Horse Council serves as one voice, defending, and developing opportunities for equine owners in Kansas.”
Kassidy Schumann, Kansas Horse Council (KHC) office assistant, spoke at the National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) Kansas District 5 meeting in Clay Center.
With headquarters in Manhattan, the KHC monitors state and national policies affecting equine ownership and management, Kassidy said. Justine Staten serves as the KHC executive director.
Kassidy grew up on a cow-calf operation near Lecompton, working all areas of agriculture. She was on the national reserve champion hippology (study of horse) team at Denver’s 2022 National Western Livestock Show. While a KHC intern, Kassidy is studying agricultural communications-journalism at Kansas State University.
“The Kansas Horse Council promotes all horse breeds and disciplines,” Kassidy emphasized. “The KHC educates about equine health, wellness, industry, working, regulatory, sports, and leisure activities for Kansas equine enthusiasts.”
A non-profit organization founded in 1992, the KHC is supported by memberships, license plate sales, and fundraising.
“EquiFest is the main KHC’s main fundraising activity and is scheduled this year at Salina, March 16-19,” Kassidy said. “EquiFest was founded in 1998 to represent all breeds and disciplines, providing entertainment and education.”
Organized by request of the Kansas Board of Agriculture, the KHC’s first mission was advocating for passage of limited liability laws for domestic animal activity.
“The KHC helped coordinate a world championship endurance race at Rock Springs 4-H Camp, south of Junction City,” Kassidy said. “Competition featured a 100-mile course with 86 horses entered from 16 countries.”
Considerable work has been done establishing, improving, initiating access, and monitoring horseback riding trails in Kansas. “This has been through cooperation with the Back Country Horsemen of Kansas and the Department of Wildlife and Parks,” Kassidy said. “The KHC is now offering a joint membership with the Back Country Horsemen of Kansas.”
An equestrian trail guide for Kansas is currently being updated for release this spring.
“The Horsemanship Rewards Program recognizes KHC members with awards for hours logged riding and working with horses,” noted Kassidy.
“Work has been done through the Kansas Board of Agriculture and Ag Summit to recognize equine as a major economic driver in Kansas,” Kassidy related. “The first equine economic impact report since 1996 was completed last year.”
“Agritourism is being supported by the KHC in cooperation with the Kansas Department of Commerce,” Kassidy noted.
Horse Care 101 is a KHC event produced with Kansas State University’s Veterinary Department. “Temple Grandin, animal science professor, animal behaviorist, and autism activist, will be a featured speaker this year,” Kassidy said.
The Kansas Horse Council Foundation is a 501c tax-exempt organization established in 2003 to offer scholarships to young equestrians. “We have awarded $174,000 in scholarships to date,” Kassidy said.
Kansas Horse Council license plates are now on more than 2,000 Kansas vehicles, according to Kassidy.
“There is a one-time fee of $50 to the state of Kansas with an additional $30 annual cost,” she said. “You don’t have to be a KHC member to have the license plates which help support scholarships and other activities.”
A typical day in the KHC office includes phone calls on a wide range of topics. They could be about fence laws, animal welfare, saddle club interests, business insurance, or legal issues.
“We also host and participate in zoom calls and webinars on national issues. educational topics, and group needs,” Kassidy said.
The Kansas Horse Council is developing a marketing plan for introductory public interface equine experiences. Efforts are also directed toward expanding Kansas liability laws to recognize spectators as participants in equine or domestic animal activities.
“We’re working to define horses as livestock in all regulatory interpretations and developing equine venues, amenities, and improvements,” Kassidy said. A student KHC advisory board is being organized to collaborate with the KHC directors.
As a reminder, Kassidy noted that EquiFest of Kansas is the primary KHC fundraising event scheduled at Salina March 16-19. “This year, we have extended the event to four days with free admittance on Sunday,” she pointed out.
Barrel racers and all horse enthusiasts were encouraged to join the Kansas Horse Council.
“After joining you will receive a one-million-dollar personal excess liability policy on your horses,” Kassidy said. “KHC members get purchasing discounts from Kansas and national dealers, reduced liability law sign cost, and more.
“So, I urge you to get involved, join, volunteer, and participate in the Kansas Horse Council,” Kassidy Schumann invited.
A KHC display at the meeting featured membership forms, license plate details, and horse-related handouts. KHC information and tokens were given to all banquet attendees at their meal place setting.
Additional information is available at www.kansashorsecouncil.com.
Kassidy Schumann, Kansas Horse Council office assistant, spoke about services of the organization at a National Barrel Horse Association Kansas District 5 banquet.