Equine lovers unite to promote horses

Alabama Horse Council’s motto is “For the Love of the Horse.” The council promotes the fair and successful use of horses.

The Alabama Horse Council (AHC) represents all horses and promotes their welfare.

Charlotte Collins of Wilsonville is secretary and has been very involved in the group for eight years now.

After being an active member of the group since 1996, she became the secretary in 2002, and has continued her duties since then.

Collins grew up loving horses and raised her family to be the same way.

“I have been around mules and horses all my life,” she said.

Collins has two horses of her own; one is a Tennessee Walker and the other is half Arabian. She helps to plan the yearly horse fair held in Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery each January.

She gets in touch with all the vendors, encouraging them to come and sets up their contracts and gives them information while assigning them places at the fair. She also contacts the entertainers and clinicians, taking care of all their needs.

“We could never put this fair on without the wonderful volunteers that give us their time and energy,” she said.

The motto for the Alabama Horse Council is, “For the Love of the Horse.” Many of the members — whether they are a horse breeder, farrier, feed dealer, trainer, veterinarian or weekend pleasure rider — live by this motto as they join together with the common interest of protecting such beautifully graceful creatures and the industry.

As members with different breeds, riding disciplines and different areas of interest unite, they help promote fair and successful use of horses as they enhance public awareness of horses and their use. They also improve the state’s equestrian facilities and enhance the quality of life for horses all across Alabama.

This non-profit organization, made up of all volunteers, plans the fair to raise money for the many different projects, including equine educational programs offered across Alabama for any breed and the scholarship they give away each year.

The scholarship is given to a student beginning college who plans to work in the equine industry after graduation. The AHC also partners with the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association in providing scholarship funds.

The Alabama Horse Council also assisted in funding the Equine Economic Impact Study for Alabama, which gave a clear understanding of just how important horses are to the state. It also documented that it is a $2.5 billion business.

After obtaining a grant from the Alabama Department of Tourism, AHC created a “Welcome to Alabama’s Horse World” brochure with more than 5,000 copies distributed. The brochure included the contact information for breeders, veterinarians, trail facilities and schools.

AHC provides personnel to help judge competitions at the show, as well as provide the award belt buckles to State Equine 4-H Club Show High Point winners.

The AHC does all this and much more.

“I am looking forward to the cooler weather so I can ride,” Collins said.

To keep up with the AHC you can visit Aabamahorsecouncil.org.

Kennedy Tolbert is the community columnist for Wilsonville. She can be reached at kennedytolbert@bellsouth.net.