1965-Voice Of The Tennessee Walking Horse 1965 March Voice - Page 6

MEETING THE NEEDS OF A GROWING EQUINE INDUSTRY

By Dr . M . E . Ensminger , Director Horse Science and Stud Managers ' Schools 3699 East Sierra Avenue Clovis , California
This subject packs three separate punch lines ; namely , ( 1 ) that horses are a growing industry ; ( 2 ) that certain needs exist ; and ( 3 ) that we should meet certain needs . I couldn ' t agree more .
The equine past has been good . The footprint of man has always been accompanied by the footprint of the horse . Down through the ages , in order of period of time , man used the horse ( 1 ) as a source of food , ( 2 ) for military purposes , ( 3 ) in pastimes and sports , ( 4 ) in agricultural and commercial pursuits . In this country , the golden age of the horse extended from the Gay Nineties to the mechanization of agriculture ; to the advent of the automobile , truck and tractor . During this era , the oat-bag , carriage , wagon , buggy-whip , axle-grease , horseshoe , and horseshoe-nail industries were thriving and essential parts of the national economy .
The number of horses in the United States peaked in 1915 , at which time there were 21,431,000 head . Mules reached their all-time high in 1925 , at 5,918,000 head .
On January 1 , 1960 — the last year of the census — there were 3,089,000 head of horses and mules in the United States .
Despite the decline in numbers , the horse has not been , and will not be relegated to permanent oblivion . Certainly , the relentless wheels of progress have lifted his role in agriculture , commerce and war . But he is rising to a commanding position in the fields of recreation and sport . In my judgment , the horse has made this transition well , but man ’ s footprints are still two paces to the rear . Before further pursuing the latter point , let us briefly summarize the status of the light horse industry .
MAGNITUDE OF THE HORSE INDUSTRY
At the risk of being challenged , I ’ m going to repeat my “ educated guestimate ” relative to horse numbers . First , let me repeat : ( 1 ) that no horse census has been taken since 1960 , and ( 2 ) that at that time ( 1960 ) there were 3,089,000 head of horses and mules , combined , in this country — of which 214 million were horses and % million were mules . In 1962 , I arrived at the following additional breakdown : 1.8 million light horses ( draft horses constituting the rest ), 433,000 suburban-owned horses , and 400,000 cow ponies . Because reproduction is under biological control and cannot be speeded up ( it takes four years to produce a new generation of horses ), I question that these figures are much different today . True enough , more foals of the light horse breeds are being produced , but we must remember that draft horse members are still declining . I do believe that light horse members are increasing , and that they will continue to do so : that the horse population is and will continue to shift from farms and ranches to suburban areas ; that registered horses will continue to increase in numbers ; and that the use of horses for recreation and sport will continue to develop . I am informed that there are 3,000 more horses in New Jersey today than in 1961 . So much for horse numbers per se .
Further yardsticks of the magnitude and importance of the light horse industry are : Racing outdraws professional baseball and automobile racing — the number two and three sports , respectively — by more than 30 million . The 1963 horse racingi spectator attendance figures were : Thoroughbred racing , 38,091,417 ; trotting , 18,076,508 ; Quarter Horse , 808,438 . As further evidence of the magnitude of horse racing , the following figures for 1963 are noteworthy : ( 1 ) $ 3,927,324,774 was wagered through the mutual windows , ( 2 ) $ 113,122,209 in purses was collected by horsemen , and ( 3 ) $ 316,570,791 in revenue was turned into the treasuries-of the 27 states conducting racing and used to build and operate schools , hospitals , fairs and other things of benefit to old and young alike . It is estimated that the state of New Jersey will receive 28V2 million dollars in revenue from tracks in 1964 .
Additionally , in 1964 , 100,000 4-H Club boys and girls had horses , and it is expected that this number will reach 120,000 this year . There are over 500 major ( plus many small ) horse shows throughout the land , the game of polo is expanding , riding to hounds is sharing its glamour with greater numbers , saddle clubs are springing up everywhere , and more people are riding than ever before .
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