What about Horses?
If you're like most people, you have a very specific memory about a horse-riding recklessly bareback when you were a kid, falling off and getting back on (or not), riding the "old nag" that belonged to a friend of your mom, or taking lessons at a stable on horses that knew how long the lesson time was and wouldn't work a moment longer! You probably even remember the horse's name and , for better or worse, it has probably shaped how you feel about them even to this day. You have the feelings you have about horses because they are big, beautiful, romanticized, clearly not a dog or cat, and seemingly inaccessible. Without some exposure around horses, it can be hard to read their body language or understand their behavior.
But there is no doubt that horses hold incredible appeal to a wide population of people; and those people , participate in a variety of activities: western please, reining, English, Dressage, lessons, pony rides, hay rides, carriage driving, special needs riding, horse shows, trick training, riding games, horses for rescue, horses for sale, cattle sorting and team penning, racing, and the most fundamental, trail riding. With a simple search on the internet you can find boarding stables, farriers (hoof care specialists), riding lessons, trail rides, training clinics, horse clubs, horse art, expos and the list goes on.
According to the Minnesota Horse Council and the University of Minnesota's Journal of Extension, it has been estimated that Minnesota's horse industry generates nearly $1 billion in economic activity annually! The 2002 USDA Census of Agriculture indicated there were 14,289 horse and pony farms in Minnesota, up 80% from the 1997 census, and 92,770 horses and ponies, up 75% from 1997 (USDA/NASS, 2002). A reasonable conclusion drawn from those statistics indicates horses are an integral part of our Minnesota Landscape. As populated neighborhoods creep out from the city, the horse pastures have moved further out and we just don't see them as we pass in our regular travels, but they are still there - in large herds that roam acres of property in rural areas and also nested in hobby farm backyards, a couple horses at a time.
The people who are interested and active in the horse industry spend money in large amounts, supporting many industries - agricultural farms who grow hay, oats, feed mills that process grain-based feeds or hay cubes; veterinarians whose clinics include large animal care, providing routine vaccinations and emergency services; shops that sell tack needed for riding (helmets, saddles, pads, bridles and bits); clothing stores that carry riding boots and apparel; bookstores that carry how-to books and informational or training videos and DVDs, not to mention the sales of trucks and trailers.
An article, written by the University of Minnesota's Brian Buhr (Department of Applied Economics, " Economic Value of Horses in Minnesota"), made important observations: horse activities promote youth education and responsibility, they build communities through associations, and support the agricultural infrastructure.
Those with horses in their lives, in whatever way, acknowledge that they are a life-long passion. With Minnesota's rich and diverse horse opportunities, any one on any level can find a way to enjoy horses, at arm's length or under saddle. This summer, come and be a part of the excitement and create some new horse memories of your own!
Education and Advocacy
Minnesota Stable Owners Association(MNSOA) will provide grass roots information and policy concerns to the Minnesota Horse Council for representation of equine business interests at the Capitol and in other government relations.
MNSOA will also allow Regular Members to form local chapters of the association for more effective advocacy with counties and other local government on issues specific to each community, and to provide reports to the association on issues of local concern.
Promotion of Equine Businesses-Get Involved!
Minnesota Stable Owners Association will strive to improve communication and familiarity among equine and other agricultural businesses statewide as well as in local communities, and to improve business conditions by facilitating greater awareness of business opportunities amid rapidly changing market and government regulatory conditions. Examples of what MSOA and its members can do:
- Partner with publications (such as Stillwater Living) to advertise events such
as a “Parade of Barns” to showcase equine facilities and programs in a given
- Grow the horse industry by generating more customers who may be new to
the horse world—i.e., parents of horse‐crazy children—by organizing local
events of public interest.
- Increase business loyalty and purchasing power by strengthening
relationships between equine and other integral businesses (veterinary
services, truck and trailer sales, professional services, etc.)
- Communicate interests and specific concerns of stable owners to government
agencies over areas of dispute or misunderstanding (i.e., MNDOT’s
enforcement of Federal vs. State requirements for farm transportation
permits and exemptions, or “grazeable acres” definition dispute in Grant.)
Equine business interests score with passage of legislation protecting agricultural classification for horse boarding property
When the dust finally settled after the legislative session ended, equine property and business owners scored a legislative victory with passage of the Minnesota Horse Council's bill protecting agricultural classification for horse boarding property.
Our bill was added to the omnibus tax bill, HF 3729, and was signed into law on May 27, 2010. Minn.. Stat. 273.13 Subd. 23(i) containing the list of agricultural products qualifying property of 10 acres or more for agricultural classification is amended to read:
(3) the commercial boarding of horses, which may include related horse training and riding instruction, if the boarding is done on property that is also used for raising pasture to graze horses or raising or cultivating other agricultural products as defined in clause
These changes are effective for the assessment year 2010 for taxes payable in 2011.
Many thanks are in order to recognize the teamwork required to change a law. The Minnesota Horse Council sponsored this effort with insight from Dan Ramberg, owner of Woodloch Stables in Hugo and author of the original legislation granting agricultural classification to horse boarding stables 15 years ago. Sen. Ray Vandeveer and Rep. Bob Dettmer carried our bills in the Senate and House. The Minnesota Stable Owners Association, which formed early this year in part because of the property tax classification problem, rallied members to call their legislators and speak up on behalf of equine business interests. And the Department of Revenue, which had been criticized for failing to ensure statewide uniformity, coordinated a thorough statewide study that facilitated a constructive and ultimately successful dialogue about the proper place of equestrian property within the framework of Minnesota's agricultural property tax policy. Thanks to everyone for helping make this happen.
Stay tuned for more information about the impact of this new legislation on Green Acres eligibility for equestrian property as well as newly passed legislation amending the State agricultural code to include a definition of horses as livestock. And don't forget to thank the Minnesota Horse Council for recognizing and addressing the need for legislative change. We have demonstrated that equine business conditions can be improved and real change can happen when we work together toward a common goal and dedicate the time and attention required to follow through.
How to Join
Send a membership application and appropriate membership fee to:
Minnesota Stable Owners Association
P.O. Box 24
Stillwater, MN 55082
Minnesota Stable Owners Association encourages concurrent membership with the Minnesota Horse Council.
MNSOA relies on MHC’s lobbying efforts on behalf of the equine industry, and MHC
relies on information provided by MSOA about local equine business concerns.
Please send your membership fee and application to:
Minnesota Horse Council
P.O. Box 223
Plato, MN 55370
Visit www.mnhorsecouncil.org for more information.