June 2008

HUGE Boost
for the Texas Horse Industry in the Works
HUGE Boost for the Texas Horse Inustry
Sheck My Go Yo, 2004 Texas Bred Thoroughbred,
owned by Don and Leah Ford of Seguin, Texas.

HUGE Boost for the Texas Horse Industry in the Works

Texas-based horse associations not only hope to right the floundering Texas horse industry, but make the Texas horse industry a leader in racing, breeding, and equine medical research in the U.S. Plans are being finalized to file the “Horsemen’s Bill” - legislation for the 2009 legislative session which will include “Good for Texas” provisions which will boost the racing as well the as the non-racing horse industry in Texas.

The Texas racing industry is slowly dwindling in Texas due to higher purses and video lottery terminals in neighboring states. Not only is the racing industry feeling the loss, but now the non-racing performance breeds are moving to states with better breeding and show incentives.

The Texas racing industry has been steadily losing revenue as well as Texas horse breeders due to some form of legalized gambling at racetracks in New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Texas citizens are taking some of their disposable income to Louisiana – studies have shown 55.99% of customers gambling in Shreveport are from Texas and 35% in Lake Charles. It is estimated that Louisiana alone has gained an annual $762 million from Texans.

Each of the Texas bordering states determines a portion of the proceeds from their video lottery terminals/slot machines back to the horse industry by increasing the purse money. Texas has already lost many horse operations (breeding stock, workers, owners, trainers) to bordering states with higher purses and more lucrative state-bred incentive programs.

Peppy Sol Anson - $30K + NRHA, 187.5 AQHA pts,
Peppy Sol Anson - $30K + NRHA, 187.5 AQHA pts

$8K = AQHA Incentive fund, NRCHA Earnings: $833.
He is also a Top Stallion Ranked By: All-Time Stallion Offspring
Lifetime Avg. NRHA Earnings. Total earnings of $43K+,
owned by Dave & Susan Fuqua of Stockdale, TX.

Rob Werstler, Executive Director of the Texas Quarter Horse Association and Dave Hooper, Executive Director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association have come up with “Good for Texas” provisions to the new Horsemen’s Bill to be introduced to the 2009 Teas legislative session. These provisions include:

  • Guaranteed racing dates at each class I and II racetrack based on the 2002 calendar or, at a minimum, 50 live racing days or 500 races for Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds, with Paint racing and Arabian racing sharing shoe meets.

  • A percentage to purses that will allow Texas the opportunity to be the #1 racing state in the U.S.

  • A percentage to the Accredited Texas-bred program that will allow Texas to have the best state horse breeding program in the U.S.

  • A percentage for equine and veterinary research that will benefit all disciplines of the industry and allow Texas universities to once again be at the forefront in equine research

  • Revenue for adoption and retirement programs to care for and find “second careers” for horses tha can no longer compete on the track or in the arena

  • Revenue to enhance medication testing and research programs

  • Revenue that will assure Texas racetracks annually commit to racing facility and racing surface improvements

  • Revenue that will provide for enhanced medical, dental and educational programs for stable area workers

  • Revenue to provide adequate insurance coverage for jockeys and worker’s compensation for trainers

  • Unlike any other VLT legislation in the U.S., a percentage to a “Performance Horse Development Fund” to support non-racing programs through the AQHA, NRHA, APHA, NCHA, (associations headquartered within Texas) and Texas Department of Agriculture.

Not only are Texas racehorse breeders leaving to neighboring states, both race and performance horse breeders are moving to Kentucky to take advantage of their Horse Breeder’s Fund. The fund was designed to not only keep Thoroughbred breeders, but Quarter Horse and other breeds in the state and established a 6% sales tax on stud fees, and it’s done so well breeders are moving to Kentucky to take advantage of their program. The payouts to Quarter Horse owners were big. The state paid almost $2,800 for each point earned in a show and $228 for each point earned in a race.

Dave Williamson is the Breeding and Training Manager at Bramblett Quarter Horses in Vine Grove, KY. “Maxxis, one of 10 stallions standing here at Bramblett Quarter Horses, earned $79,000 in the 2006 show year with 28.5 points as a 2-year-old,” said Williamson. “In 2005, before the Kentucky Horse Breeders’ Fund, as a yearling Maxxis earned only $300-$400 with 15-20 points. All states should institute incentive programs like this.”

According to Rob Werstler, “Texas has lost 60 performance Quarter Horse stallions to Kentucky. Others states are offering incentives and taking away business from not only the Texas horse industry, but from Texas overall. Texas lost the 2008 AQHA Youth World to Oklahoma City – that’s a loss to the Will Rogers Memorial Center, area restaurants, hotels and Texas tourism.”

“AQHA supports initiatives that enhance purses for racehorses and opportunities for performance horses,” said Trey Buck, Executive Director of AQHA Racing. “American Quarter Horses are the principal breed in the Lone Star State and because a portion of the revenue will be used to increase purses and boost the state’s breeding program, it will be beneficial to our members and owners.”

People have told Werstler that he’s trying to save a dying business. Werstler’s response, “It’s not a dying business, it’s thriving in other states!”

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