Each year on December 13th, the United States celebrates the National Day of the Horse. According to tradition, the National Day of the Horse encourages people to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history and character of the United States. While horses have always played a large role in the shaping of our Nation, it wasn’t until November 18, 2004 that horses were given a day of honor and celebration when United States Senate Resolution 452 recognized December 13 as the National Day of the Horse.
Horses have shaped America’s history from the moment the land was first discovered. They provided a means of transportation for the earliest settlers to explore the landscape and discover the vastness of what would eventually be known as the United States. When the settlers staked claim to the land and built communities, horses assisted in everything from farming to logging, doing the back-breaking work that could not be done effectively by a human being. It wasn’t long before the settlers began to venture west, and it was the horse that took them and their belongings every step of the way.
In the midst of settlement and increased population, the settlers declared their independence from Great Britain and the United States of America became its own independent country. This drove even more traffic into the country, calling for the creation of large towns and better means of transportation, commencing the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It was again the horse that assisted in the continued growth, hauling heavy beams to create new infrastructure and traveling across the country to install new railroads.
In the following years, the North and the South fell into large disagreements that erupted into the Civil War, where horses once again played a massive role. Soldiers fought on horseback, covering expansive ground in efforts to defend their side’s beliefs. As the Civil War ended, horses found themselves with an entirely new career with the creation of the American Stud Book, and horse racing flourished as a sport for the wealthy and entertainment for all.
With horse racing’s popularity growing rapidly, the desire to participate in equine events became strong, and horse shows began popping up throughout the United States. While it was still considered a sport for the wealthy, horse shows opened doors for skilled horseman to show their talents and be recognized and rewarded for their efforts.
The glamorized idea of horses soon took to radio broadcasts, where listeners would tune in to hear tales of brave cowboys on horseback swooping in to save the day. When television was introduced, these dramas were also popular as entertainment for the whole family. These stories also took to the big screen, where millions watched the visual versions of these tales.
Today, the horse is not as glamorized as it was in old Hollywood westerns. However, those of us in the industry understand the massive impact horses continue to make on the economy. According to the American Horse Council, the horse industry has a $122 billion economic impact, creating 1.7 million jobs. 32 million acres of land owned in America is dedicated to equine industries, with an additional 49 million acres of land being leased to equine industries.
On top of the economic impact the horse has on society, we as dedicated horse lovers, owners and riders know that the emotional impact of the horse far exceeds any economic impact. We all say that our horses are worth their weight in gold and, to put that in an economic perspective (considering that there are 7.2 million horses in the U.S. and the current price of gold is $1,246 per ounce, and assuming a horse weighs an average of 1,000 pounds), we could say that all of our horses combined are worth about $143.5 trillion, or about $19.9 million per horse. To put this kind of value on an animal speaks highly of their importance to us on an emotional level. They are not only our teammates, they are our best friends. We trust them to take care of us as we take care of them, and through the kindness of their hearts, they do just that.
Take today to remember everything horses have done for society, and everything they continue to do for us on a daily basis. From helping to shape a nation to helping shape our hearts, horses have had a massive impact on America, and are certainly deserving of their own National holiday. Go ahead and sneak your horse another mint or two today as a “thank you” for everything they do, they have certainly earned it.
About World Equestrian Center:
Located in Wilmington, Ohio, the World Equestrian Center features more than 200,000 square feet of climate-controlled riding space, making it one of the largest indoor/outdoor equestrian sport venues in the world. The state of the art facility features premium footing, permanent stabling and onsite accommodations as well as more than 26 weeks of USEF rated Hunter / Jumper competition.
Dedicated to offering great sport and good fun in a family friendly environment, the World Equestrian Center promises their exhibitors an experience built on three core values: Quality. Class. Distinction.
In 2021, the World Equestrian Center will debut a brand new location, providing world-class equestrian competition and equestrian-inspired country club living, all adjacent to the fabulous Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club in Ocala, Florida.