I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Covid 19 may have been one of the best things to ever happen to the horse industry. I remember being very afraid early in 2020, thinking that the horse business was about to crash. I mean, if people were losing their jobs, how would they afford to use their discretionary income for a hobby like horses?
I’m glad my fears never came to fruition. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
In the 2021 Economic Impact Study recently conductedby the Alberta Equestrian Federation, the diverse mix of equine activities in the province of Alberta was discovered to make a significant financial contribution to the province. Findings indicated that the total economic impact of the equine community in terms of gross domestic product, amounted to $1.356 billion in 2021.
People flocked to horses like never before. Craving the freedom and mental wellness that only equines can deliver, people bought horses. Or bought more horses. And when events opened up again, they hauled to the show arena with a vengeance. (Much like revenge travel is happening now all across the globe…) Revenge showing? Is that a thing??
I think so.
Shows and events everywhere seem to be thriving, with record entry and attendance numbers. Whether it’s reining, rodeo or skijoring or something else. Case in point, the recent skijor exhibition in Banff, AB, held on January 28, 2023 brought out thousands of people to watch.
In fact, early information is showing an audience of approximately 7,000 people on-site, on January 28. Additionally, a number of Banff Lake Louise Tourism members broadcast the show in their establishments for their patrons.
Western Horse Review collaborated with One World Drone on that day and the Instagram content we were able to capture from it has reached the stratosphere in terms of social media metrics.
If you missed out on the action of Skijor Canada on the streets of downtown Banff, you can catch them again on February 25th for their annual Skijordue at the Calgary Polo Club. For more information, visit here.
Speaking of social media – the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) recently unveiled something else that’s pretty cool. Partnering with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), social media followers will get to select the Nutrena Horse of the Year Fan Favourite, presented by AQHA. The contest features seven outstanding registered Quarter Horses who were named 2022 Horse of the Year in each of the PRCA and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association’s timed-event categories. The goal of the awards are to provide recognition to ProRodeo’s top timed-event horses, and build on that recognition. Winners will each earn $5,000 and coveted titles as favoured timed-event horses.
This year, the Calgary Stampede will celebrate 100 years of Chuckwagon Racing with the Cowboys Rangeland Derby. Beginning in 1923 with a purse of $275 over five days of racing, the event has evolved to nine nightly heats, 27 drivers, outriders and 162 horses vying for over two million dollars worth of prize money.
All good things and green flags to look forward to for the year.
Of course, with all this good news, comes some bad.
Inflation isn’t only affecting grocery stores these days. With all the increased enthusiasm for horses, the price to purchase a good one has also greatly increased. There’s also the matter of supply meeting the demand. If you have a good mount and you’ve been considering selling – you may want to rethink your decision at this time. You know the saying, “Don’t sell your saddle…”?
I suppose however, there’s even some good news for that too… Second-hand stores for equine equipment have been popping up in many places. So, if you really need to get rid of that saddle, or you’re over the idea of paying too much for new items, horse owners can find cost relief in equine essentials at places like Rein It In Consignment (Calgary, AB), The Tack Collector (Calgary, AB) or Frayed Knot Western Consignment (Olds, AB).
As a mother of two horse-crazy kids, quickly growing out of their old gear, this is some good news I’m ecstatic about.
– Written by Jenn Webster