Always in defense of horse and rider – Maple Ridge News
By Jim McGregor / Special for Black Press Media
At one time, Langley was dubbed the “Horse Capital of British Columbia”
No one really knows where this label was launched or what facts it was actually based on. However, there is still a large equine presence in Langley and it is well served by the Horse Council BC (HCBC) in Aldergrove.
Jocelyn Adams, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for HCBC, offers a historical perspective.
“HCBC was launched in 1980, energized by the shared vision of Bill Archibald and Sherman Olson. Sherman was the first president of HCBC.
Archibald and Olson were both well-known personalities in their hometown of Maple Ridge, whether on or off the track.
Jan White, co-author of The Horsemen, wrote of Archibald: “As the founder of Horse Council BC, his vision to build a strong provincial equine body, his commitment to this cause, and his dedication and leadership as President of the first 10 years culminated in the strongest and largest of any provincial equestrian council in Canada.
White continued to sing his praises in The Horsemen.
“Bill Archibald was a highly respected teacher, rider, course designer and deeply committed volunteer. A founding member of Horse Council BC, Bill has contributed his time and expertise to many local organizations, undertaking projects ranging from cleaning up streams and rivers to building trails in Golden Ears. [Provincial] Park, for the benefit of all citizens and riders.
HCBC’s office was originally located in Surrey, moved to Abbotsford at some point, then moved to its current home at 27336 Fraser Hwy., Aldergrove, in 2002.
Whether a person owns a stable of horses or is a novice rider, HCBC offers many programs and supports for its members, including:
• The right to ride: The right to ride on public lands, ie in parks and on designated trails in British Columbia. HCBC communicates with provincial/local government to support its members in their advocacy roles.
• Equine Welfare in British Columbia: HCBC liaises and collaborates with governing bodies and promotes the importance of equine welfare in British Columbia.
• British Columbia’s Horse Industry: HCBC strives to provide up-to-date information to horse owners and riders across the province on horse health and care, welfare, land management and pastures and environmental issues.
• A Nationally Accredited Coaching Program: HCBC administers Equine Canada’s Coaching and Instructor Programs for the English, Western and Driving disciplines.
• Industry Financial Support: Funding programs that help encourage and support participation in equestrian sports and recreational activities.
• Preserving British Columbia’s trail systems: HCBC provides funds, safety manuals, workshops and advice to our members interested in building and maintaining trail systems in British Columbia.
• Quality science education: HCBC organizes and supports several educational events throughout the year, while offering free online courses to members, all based on sound scientific research and data.
The Horse Council also maintains a database of Equestrian Canada accredited and certified trainers, which is available on their website and they provide resources for new riders and parents of new riders, online courses, a club children’s Pony Tails free, as well as liability insurance. for its members, Adams noted.
In the equine industry, as in many other agricultural organizations, the cost of increasing land and climate change concerns are facing challenges.
Adams highlights how HCBC stepped in to help last year.
“British Columbia has been hit hard this year by fires in the summer and major flooding in the fall, two disasters that displaced hundreds of cattle,” she said.
HCBC’s animal disaster relief fund was used to reimburse volunteers involved in transporting livestock out of danger areas and to provide food for evacuated animals.
About $30,000 was distributed to help care for these animals,” she said.
Funds were also there to facilitate the daring equine helicopter rescue of three stranded horses at Spences Bridge, Adams explained, noting that HCBC is working with partner organizations to continue to develop resources and disaster response training for the volunteers, horse owners and first responders.
Based on an economic impact study on the equine industry, Adams said the future looks positive.
“Nearly 20,000 BC households are involved in the equine sector, which generates $784 million in economic activity each year,” she said.
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“British Columbia is home to nearly 60,000 horses and the equine industry creates 5,620 full-time equivalent jobs. Over 88% of survey respondents say their involvement in the equine industry will increase or stay the same over the next five years.
Adams is optimistic, not only for the future of the industry, but also for the BC equine community and the Aldergrove-based association.
“What Bill and Sherman started in 1980, HCBC continues to deliver on our current vision statement: Horse Council BC strives to represent all equestrians in British Columbia, regardless of discipline, orientation of the breed or sport. We strive to be an association that everyone involved in the horse business is proud to be a part of. We are accessible to all our members and communicate with them both professionally and personally.
To learn more about Horse Council BC, people can visit their website at hcbc.ca or call 604-856-4304.
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