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Nate Jaeger
(800) 392-5705, ext. 4221

The Alabama Equine Enthusiasts represents all breeds.
The Alabama Farmers Federation Equine Division is composed of horse producers and owners from throughout the state. The Equine Division represents these producers on a national, state and local level with committees in more than 40 Alabama counties.

Equine producers and owners who make up these committees come together at the local level and develop policies and program ideas to address their needs and concerns. Those policies are then discussed at the state level and may be transformed into state and national initiatives by the organization. The State Equine Committee is advised by Dr. Wayne Greene, Department Head of animal sciences at Auburn University; Dr. Cindy McCall, Extension Specialist and Auburn University professor; Dr. Tony Frazier, state veterinarian.

The Equine industry is extremely important to Alabama's economy as it directly produces goods and services valued exceeding $573 million. Furthermore, the equine industry has an impact of almost $1 billion on the Alabama economy when the multiplier effect of spending by owners, industry suppliers and employees is taken into account. These numbers are more than likely even higher when accounting for off-site spending during equine related events in the state.

According to an Auburn University survey, more than 44,000 Alabama households are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees and volunteers. Even more participate as spectators. Nearly every county has some type of useful event facility, a local horse association and a regular pattern of equine events, shows or competitions.

A wide variety of horse activities takes place in Alabama throughout the year. These activities are usually classified by locality, sport or breed. Locality-based activities, such as county horse clubs, usually are open to any breed of horse. Sport-based activities are formed by horse owners interested in a common horse sport, such as trail riding. Sport-based activities usually are open to any breed, but they are often dominated by a certain breed because of its unique success in that sport. Breed-based activities promote a certain breed in many different horse sports.

Many horse owners have memberships in several different activity organizations. For example, a Quarter Horse owner may participate in a local saddle club, a barrel-racing association and Quarter Horse breed shows. Every major horse breed is found in Alabama. The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the state, and is used mainly as a recreational riding and show horse. Most of the approved shows are two- to three-day events attracting about 100 horses. Quarter Horses also are used on farms for working cattle.

The Tennessee Walking Horse and the Racking Horse are the next most popular breeds in the state. These breeds have similar backgrounds, and are used mainly for recreational riding and showing.

Headquarters of the Racking Horse Breeders Association of America is located in Decatur, Ala., and Alabama ranks first in the nation in number of shows approved by this breed association. Two large Racking Horse shows, the Spring Celebration and the World Celebration, are held in Decatur annually. These shows attract horses and spectators from all over the United States. The Racking Horse has been designated the "Official State Horse for the State of Alabama" by the Alabama legislature.

Thoroughbred horses in the state are used as breeding stock to produce race horses. Thoroughbreds not involved in the racing industry are used as show horses and polo ponies.

Many horses and riders in Alabama are involved in rodeos. About 34 large rodeos in the state are approved by one of several national rodeo associations. Many small, locality-based rodeos that are not approved by a rodeo cowboys association also are held in Alabama. These locality-based rodeos provide a focus for community life, a fund-raising opportunity for civic groups and income for local merchants.

Many other horse activities are enjoyed in Alabama. Trail riding is very popular. Many sports-based events, such as fox hunts, polo matches, dressage competitions, combined training competitions, team penning competitions, roping competitions and barrel races are held throughout the state. Youth horse activities such as 4-H horse clubs, youth breed-based clubs and pony clubs are active throughout Alabama.

Horse production and ownership is very important to the entire agricultural sector in Alabama as about 15 per cent of ag production dollars are equine-related. Horses consume forages and hay, as well as small grains like oats, that are produced on Alabama farms.

The Alabama horse industry directly provides between 1,000 and 1,800 full-time equivalent jobs. Spending by suppliers generates additional jobs in Alabama for a total employment impact of between 3,480 and 4,872 jobs.

There are almost 100,000 horses in Alabama, more than 98 percent of which are involved in activities other than racing.

Members of the 2013 Alabama Farmers Federation State Equine Committee are seated from left, Chairman Jamie McConnell of Chilton County, First Vice Chairman Bonnie Shanholtzer of Autauga County, Second Vice Chairman Bryan Hoagland of Shelby County, Amy Hegeman of Calhoun County, Cindy Fitts of Tuscaloosa County and Jo Ann B. Laney of Russell County; back row, Sammy Hindman of Fayette County, Scotty Noles of Randolph County, Toni Flowers of Montgomery County, Roland St. John of St. Clair County, Gean Harris of Cleburne County, Wendell Harmon of Chambers County and Federation Equine Division Director Nate Jaeger.

Goals and Issues

Goals of the Equine Division are determined by a state committee, which is elected by other producers throughout the state.

Issues and challenges facing producers are evaluated each year, and priority is placed on each to determine a focus for the division's efforts. Because the Equine Division was just initiated in early 2008, the goals and objectives will be expanded as time progresses.

Goals include:
  • Continue to monitor National Animal Identification System development.

  • Express concerns to policy makers of the negative impacts of the ban on horse slaughter on the equine industry in Alabama and the rest of the country.

  • Strive to maintain and improve relations with other equine industry organizations in Alabama and around the country.

  • Work to open more horse trails on Alabama public lands

  • Promote the use of the many public and private animal event facilities around the state

The Alabama Farmers Federation Equine Division works with other state agencies and non-profit organizations to promote equine use and production. Those groups include the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Alabama Horse Council and the National Institute for Animal Agriculture.

Related Links

Alabama Cooperative Extension System's Animal Science and Forages

Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries

Alabama Farmers Cooperative

Alabama Hay Barn

Alabama Horse Council

American Farm Bureau Federation

Auburn University College of Agriculture Department of Animal Sciences

Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine

National eXtension Site For Horses

National Institute for Animal Agriculture

United States Department of Agriculture

Horse production and ownership is very important to the entire agricultural sector in Alabama.
Alabama Farmers Federation at Work for Alabama Producers

As a part of Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama Equine Producers is represented at the state and national levels through departments of Governmental Affairs and National Affairs. The Department of Communications provides communications about important issues and notices through its monthly magazine, Neighbors, and biweekly newsletter, Cultivator.

The Local Connection

County Farmers Federations, with the assistance of area organization directors, provide support and a mechanism to address issues on the local level. Herein lies the strength of Alabama Farmers Federation. Each county may establish its own Equine Committee. Needs and requests from producers in the county are the beginning of policy development and the direction of Alabama Equine Producers. You may contact your county equine chairman, the area organization director in your region or your county president for more information.

Why Should I be a Member of Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Equine Producers?

The Alabama Farmers Federation brings farmers of all commodities together for a common cause. Together, we can accomplish more for everyone's benefit. The more producers actively participating in Alabama Farmers Federation and Alabama Equine Producers, the more effective the organization can be on issues affecting them. With membership in the Alabama Farmers Federation, come many benefits.

For more information, contact Nate Jaeger, Director, Alabama Equine Enthusiasts, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, AL 36191-0001. Phone: (800) 392-5705, ext. 4221.

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