The Minnesota Horse Council (MHC) works to support the state’s horse industry through education, funding, communication and promotion of horse-related activities. Founded in 1935, the Council began as a mechanism for horse owners and exhibitors to coordinate horse activities with the Minnesota State Fair Board. Since then the MHC has evolved into an organization uniting and supporting equine activities throughout Minnesota. Membership to the Council can be by individual, business, saddle club, or breed association. The Minnesota Arabian Horse Association (MAHA) is a member of the Council, and, as such, is eligible to participate in the many programs and events supported by the MHC.
Although there are a variety of activities and programs supported by the Minnesota Horse Council, the most visible is the Minnesota Horse Expo held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds each year in April. The dates for this year are April 26-28, 2019. No doubt everyone is looking forward to the Arabian exhibition put on by MAHA, organized by Hillary Hoffman. The Expo is an excellent promotional vehicle for MAHA to demonstrate the beauty and versatility of the Arabian horse to thousands of Horse Expo attendees. Funds generated by the Expo are used by the Council to support scholarships, grants, direct funding projects and trail improvements.
Funds generated by the Expo are used for scholarships, grants, direct funding of projects and trail improvements
An admirable way the Council promotes the future of the Minnesota horse industry is by its scholarship program. Initiated in 1984 when Tony Gasser left money to the MHC for the creation of a scholarship fund, the endowment continues to grow with input from Expo profits. Currently, approximately 20 percent of Expo profits are given by the Council to deserving students. One of the most recent recipients of Minnesota Horse Council scholarship is Katie Treadwell.
The Direct Funding program provides financial support for projects that address problems or needs of the Minnesota horse community. Any non-profit horse-related organization may apply for funds up to $500 to help cover the expenses of a program or activity they organize. There is no deadline for request applications; requests are evaluated as they are received. There is also a grant program to provide seed money for new horse projects or for capital improvements.
There is a grant program to provide seed money for new horse projects or for capital improvements.
The Minnesota Horse Council is constantly seeking to improve and adapt to the needs of the horse community. In response to flooding of the Red River, the MHC Natural Disaster Response Team was formed to make response easier and more directed. The MHV networks hundreds of volunteers throughout the state of Minnesota. And, noting the increased participation of trail riders, the MHC developed a sub-committee to provide support and financial backing for the maintenance and development of equine trails. The MHC Trail Blazers sub-committee acts as liaison to MN Recreational Trail Users Association, MN Parks & Trail Council, and the MN Department of Natural Resources.
There are so many ways the Minnesota Horse Council touches the lives of horse people in the state. Other activities include the Aisle of Breeds at the MN State Fair, certification of qualified stables based on established criteria of health and safety, and naming a MN Horse Person of the Year. In 2014, the MN Horse Person of the Year was Dick Ames. MAHA can be proud of its members and the contributions they have made to the MHC. There is little doubt the Minnesota Horse Council serves an important role in the state. MHC and MAHA make a good partnership!
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