Vermont Horse Council Equine Industry Summit

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Location: Vermont Technical College

 Summary Report

The first annual (in a number of years) Equine Industry Summit hosted by VHC at Vermont Technical College was a successful event. Over 60 business people attended from all facets of the equine industry, including farriers, veterinarians, directors of breed organizations and riding and driving clubs, stable owners, 4-h leaders, equine program college faculty, representatives from the State of Vermont Tourism Department, the State Veterinarian, and a number of VHC Board members and general members.

The key note speaker, Barbara Lindberg of the Cazenovia College Equine Business Department, and interim director for the New York State Center for Equine Business delivered an engaging and informative key note discussion on making equine businesses viable.

Roundtable discussion based around the topics of Liability and Legislation, Youth, Economic Impact, Recreation and Access were quite productive and many attendees felt not long enough (for further details on roundtable discussions, notes will be available on the VHC website soon). An exit survey was given to attendees at the end of the day and the results were quite positive overall. People felt the location and accommodations were more than adequate, including the food (always important!), would have liked the roundtable discussions to be longer (also a good thing- no one was bored or felt they dragged on too long), and the majority of attendees found the key note speaker helpful and interesting (a few people found her speech to be basic and solid business strategies, something those folks may have already been exposed to). Feedback that has been received “through the grapevine” after the summit has also been quite positive. The results of the working groups were voted on at the end of the day using colored dots, with blue as most important, red as second most important, and green as third. VHC’s goal of proceeding with an economic impact study was welcomed by the attendees, with 42 people choosing this as one of their top three choices for a topic to further investigate (Dots 42, blue: 29, red: 8, green: 5). Of particular importance to people in regards to the impact study:

a.      Number of horses involved

b.      Number of people involved

                                                              i.      How involved in the business of horses (i.e feed store, vet,

                                                             ii.      Income of people

                                                           iii.      Must know how to obtain survey

1.      Website, Vermont Horse Council


Other top short and long term goals include:

1.      Creating Partnerships within Vermont to support and encourage Youth (Dots 28, blue: 5, red: 12, green: 11)

a.      Identify “connectors” and influence in the horse community

b.      School and recreation department alignment

c.       Develop mentorship pool (“minions”, lifetime sports, interscholastic program)

d.      Existing agricultural organizations (FAA, IEA, 4-H, Pony Club)

2.      Insurance plus liability issues, definition, categories (Dots 30, blue: 7, red: 9, green: 14). Additionally, 17 people included developing a clear definition of horse related business for agricultural purposes (Dots 17, blue: 5, red: 6, green: 6). This could possibly be included with Insurance??