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Co-Sponsor the Bi-Partisan PAST Act of 2019!


The following is from the American Horse Council:

American Horse Council Action Alert

Tell Your Senators to Co-Sponsor the Bi-Partisan PAST Act of 2019!

Following up on commitments made to the horse industry earlier this year, Sens. Crapo (R-ID) and Warner (D-VA) have led a bipartisan charge to re-introduce the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2019 (S. 1007).  Other original co-sponsors include Sens. Blumenthal (D-CT), Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), Daines (R-MT), Feinstein (D-CA), Markey (D-MA), Moran (R-KS), Toomey (R-PA) and Wyden (D-OR).  If your senator is an original cosponsor, be sure to contact his or her office to express thanks for taking the lead on equine welfare issues.  If you don’t see your senator’s name listed, be sure to take this opportunity to send a letter to your lawmakers’ offices to urge co-sponsorship of the PAST Act.

As you know, S. 1007 will strengthen the Horse Protection Act and finally end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses. The American Horse Council, along with most major national horse show organizations and state and local organizations, supports the PAST Act. To send a letter to your senators urging them to sign on as co-sponsors and move this important bill forward, please click on the following link:

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Tell Congress to Pass Popular, Bipartisan Trails


The following is from the American Horse Council:

American Horse Council Action Alert

Tell Congress to Pass Popular, Bipartisan Trails Bills!

As Congress returns for a final, “lame duck” session following the November 6 election, lawmakers have an opportunity to pass widely-supported, bipartisan legislation that promotes access to public lands for equine enthusiasts.   The horse industry seeks to push two major trails bills across the finish line: 

Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 6510/S. 3172) – The House Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously to pass H.R. 6510, the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, underscoring the bi-partisan support behind the bill.  The House bill currently has 209 cosponsors.  On the other side of the Capitol, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) have joined 33 senate colleagues to give momentum to the Restore Our Parks Act of 2018 (S. 3172).  The Restore Our Parks Act (H.R. 6510/ S. 3172) will fund National Park Service trails maintenance projects by diverting energy development revenues to a new public lands restoration account.   

Recreation Not Red Tape (RNR) Act – Since House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced the RNR Act (H.R. 3400) in 2017, the chairman conducted a full committee hearing, resulting in passage of the legislation in April 2018.   House leadership has the discretion to schedule a vote on H.R. 3400 before the end of the year.  The legislation currently has 12 bipartisan co-sponsors.  On the Senate side, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a companion bill, S. 1633, which has won bipartisan co-sponsorships from Sens. Donnelly (D-IN), Ernst (R-IA), Tester (D-MT) and King (I-ME).  Although leadership has referred the bill to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, no hearings have been scheduled.

While the Restore Our Parks legislation has quickly gained significant support from lawmakers, the RNR Act has not gained as much traction.  To put more horsepower into the bill, urge your lawmakers to co-sponsor the RNR Act.  Please contact your lawmakers today, and urge them to pass these important bills before the end of the year.

Take Action

Support the AG and Legal Workforce Act!


The following is from the American Horse Council:

American Horse Council Action Alert

Tell Congress to Fix Horse Industry Labor Shortage, Support the AG and Legal Workforce Act!

As Congress moves closer to the August recess, House lawmakers have followed-up on a commitment to the horse industry to introduce legislation that focuses on labor shortages at race tracks, breeding farms, and horse shows, among other operations.  On July 18, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) joined 44 co-sponsors to introduce the AG and Legal Workforce Act of 2018 (H.R. 6417), legislation which remedies chronic labor shortages in American agriculture by creating a modern and flexible guest worker visa program.

Importantly for the horse industry, H.R. 6417 specifically states that workers involved in the management and training of horses will be eligible for the new visa program.  The bill would also replace the outdated and broken H-2A program with a reliable, efficient, and fair H-2C visa program, ensuring that agriculture has access to a legal, stable supply of workers for seasonal as well as year-round work.  To send a letter to your House lawmaker urging support for H.R. 6417, please click here:

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Farm Bill




The following is from the American Horse Council:

June 29, 2018

Senate Acts Quickly to Move Farm Bill, Advances Some Animal Health Priorities

Following through on a commitment to pass a farm bill prior to the Fourth of July recess, on Thursday evening, June 28, the Senate passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3042) by a vote of 86 to 11.  Unlike the House version of the bill that narrowly passed by a two vote margin on June 21, the Senate bill moved forward with strong, bipartisan support.  Fortunately for the horse industry, the Senate package resembles the House version by addressing many of the sector’s top animal health priorities.   Highlights include authorization of a new National Animal Disaster Preparedness and Response (NADPR) program; support for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN); and creation of the National Animal Health Vaccine Bank that will focus on risks posed by Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

With respect to authorization of animal health programs, a preliminary review shows that the Senate bill more closely aligns with horse industry priorities than the House bill.  For example, the Senate bill authorizes $30 million each year to fund the NAHLN, matching the request from the horse industry and its partners.  Although the bill doesn’t authorize specific dollar amounts for the NADPR and the vaccine banks, it creates flexibility by “authorizing sums as necessary” to implement the programs.  AHC will continue to review the senate version of the bill for provisions that could impact the industry, including programs administered by the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service that could help develop international markets for the sector.

Now that each chamber has reported its respective bill, Congress will convene a House and Senate Conference Committee to negotiate a final package to send to the White House for enactment.  AHC is already reaching out to congressional negotiators to underscore the industry’s priorities as the legislation moves forward.  For example, the senate bill includes a definition for “pets” that includes horses, per a program outlining restitution for incidents of domestic violence.  AHC has already communicated with Senate and House leadership recommending a definitional change that will avoid confusion within the industry, and clarify federal classifications of horses as “livestock.”  For more information related to farm legislation and related advocacy, please contact Bryan Brendle, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at 202-296-4031.  To view a copy of a summary of the bill, please click here:


Read on AHC Website

Tell Senators to Co-Sponsor Bi-Partisan PAST Act




The following is from the American Horse Council:

American Horse Council Action Alert

Tell Senators to Co-Sponsor Bi-Partisan PAST Act of 2018!

Thanks to persistent advocacy focusing on your senators during the past several months, Sens. Crapo (R-ID) and Warner (D-VA) have led a bipartisan charge to re-introduce the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2018 (S. 2957).  Other original co-sponsors include Sens. Blumenthal (D-CT), Collins (R-ME), Daines (R-MT), Feinstein (D-CA), Markey (D-MA), McCaskill (D-MO), Moran (R-KS) and Toomey (R-PA).     

As you know, S. 2957 will strengthen the Horse Protection Act and finally end the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, Spotted Saddle Horses, and Racking Horses. The American Horse Council, along with most major national horse show organizations and state and local organizations, supports the PAST Act. We encourage you to send a letter to your senators urging them to sign on as co-sponsors and move this important bill forward!

Take Action

Put Morse Horsepower in the RNR Act




The following is from the American Horse Council:

 American Horse Council Action Alert

Let’s Put More Horsepower Into the Recreation-Not-Red Tape (RNR) Act

As you know, Sen. Wyden (D-OR) has introduced S. 1633, the Recreation-Not-Red Tape (RNR) Act, underscoring the need to reduce regulations that prevent trail rides on public land.   With help from horsemen across the country, the House Natural Resources Committee has recently approved the House version of the bill (H.R. 3400) with strong, bipartisan support.  Now it’s time for the Senate to do its part and move this important legislation closer to the finish line.  Please contact your senators today, and urge them to cosponsor S. 1633, the RNR Act of 2017!

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New AHC Member Benefit!




The following is from the American Horse Council:

April 19, 2018

Your AHC Membership Comes With Another Benefit!

The AHC is continuously looking for ways to provide our members with additional services and resources. Today, we are excited to announce a partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that welcomes you, through your existing membership with the AHC, as a new member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at no additional cost.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation and 96% of their members are small businesses like you. Through your membership with the U.S. Chamber, you will have access to the many valuable benefits designed specifically for small businesses, including toolkits, news and advocacy updates, and other products, services, and publications.

When you opt to participate in this 2-for-1 membership program, you’ll receive the benefits of U.S. Chamber membership, including:

  • Access to thousands of pages of small business how-to toolkits through USChamberSmallBusinessNation.com
  • Complimentary access to 500 legal documents and templates, online signature verification, and legal articles through Rocket Lawyer
  • A voice in Washington that represents your interests
  • The U.S. Chamber’s e-newsletter, FreeEnterprise Weekly, and monthly publication, Free Enterprise
  • Product and service discounts to affinity partners such as FedEx and Sam’s Club

Please contact the AHC at info@horsecouncil.org to retrieve your unique MemberID. Once you have done that, you can register for your account by visiting https://www.uschamber.com/user/register, where you will create your username and password.

We thank you for your support of the AHC, and hope that you enjoy your new member benefit!

AHC News-Spring 2018




The following is from the American Horse Council:


To view this email as a web page, go here.

Spring 2018

Copyright © 2018 American Horse Council

The AHC News is provided to you as a benefit of your AHC membership, and we hope you find the articles informative and useful.

While the AHC does grant permission for newsletter articles to be passed on, we hope you will encourage those you are sharing the articles and information with to join the AHC so they can stay informed and up-to-date!

Permission to pass on the AHC News articles to your members, readers, or others is granted on the condition that it is forwarded in its original form or directly linked with the AHC logo and a link to the AHC website.

Download a PDF of the AHC News

Lawmakers Boost Funds for Equine Assisted Therapy
Buried in the text of the 2,232 page omnibus spending bill enacted in late March, Congress included a provision to increase funds available for equine-assisted therapy by $1 million in FY2018. 
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House Lawmakers Deliver Horse Industry Priorities in 2018 Farm Bill

Following a weeks-long standoff over work requirements for supplemental nutrition assistance plan (SNAP) benefits, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) released the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) on April 12.


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National Parks Hike Entrance Fees

The National Park Service (NPS)  announced a new entrance fee structure intended to raise money to repair the nation’s aging park infrastructure, which includes a maintenance backlog of $11.6 billion.

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AHC Participates in USDA-APHIS Stakeholders Meeting

Every year the AHC is invited to participate in a stakeholder meeting with the Administrator of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). 

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Registration Open for AHC’s Annual Meeting & National Issues Forum

Registration is now open for the American Horse Council’s (AHC) 2018 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum.

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AHC Staff Attends National Endangered Equine Summit

In February, AHC staff attended The Livestock Conservancy’s (TLC) first National Endangered Equine Summit.

AHC’s 2nd Quarter Webinar Topic Announced

The topics for the AHC’s 2nd quarter webinar for 2018 will be Microchipping. The webinar will take place on Monday, May 14th at 3:00 pm ET.

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Help the UHC Prevent Unwanted HorsesThe mission of the American Horse Council Foundation’s (AHCF) Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and to improve their welfare through education and industry collaboration. Of course, one of the best way to reduce the number of unwanted horses is to prevent unwanted breeding.

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Join the AHC for our 2nd Quarter Webinar




The following is from the American Horse Council:

April 11, 2018

Join the AHC for our 2nd Quarter Webinar

The AHC is pleased to announce that the topic for its 2nd quarter webinar for 2018 will be Microchipping. The webinar will take place on Monday, May 14th at 3:00 pm ET.

Presenting will be Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, DVM, MS from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), TC Lane from the United States Trotting Association (USTA), and Ashley Furst, Director of the Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC).

Dr. McCluskey is an Equine Epidemiologist for USDA-APHIS-Veterinary Services, and will present on the “Traceability of Equine Microchips” and demonstrate some of the successes and challenges encountered when a horse with a chip is found and efforts are made to try to trace that chip to figure out who the horse is.

TC Lane is the Director of Registry and Member Services for the USTA, and will be presenting a new microchipping requirement that the USTA will be putting into place where in 2019 all foals will be required to be implanted with a microchip. The microchips would replace freeze brands and lip tattoos as means of identification for Standardbreds.

Finally, UHC Director Ashley Furst will discuss the new program “Operation Chip” introduced in January 2018. The program currently provides free microchips and registration of that microchip to stallions getting gelded through the Operation Gelding program.

The webinar is open to both AHC members and non-members—we encourage everyone to attend! To register for the webinar, please click here. The webinar lasts approximately one hour, and will allow for Q&A at the end of each speaker’s presentation. If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Furst at afurst@horsecouncil.org. We look forward to having you join us for our 2nd quarter webinar!

Register for the Webinar

Registration Open for AHC’s Annual Meeting




The following is from the American Horse Council:

March 28, 2018

Registration Open for AHC’s Annual Meeting

Registration is now open for the AHC’s 2018 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum.  Registration information, along with a tentative schedule is available on the AHC Website here: http://www.horsecouncil.org/events/ahc-annual-meeting-national-issues-forum-2/.

The theme of the National Issues Forum will be “Let’s Capitalize On It!” and will focus on ways the equine industry can learn and grow from both equine and outside industry segments as well as expanding technology beneficial to both humans and equines.

The Forum will kick off Tuesday with speaker Luis Benitez, Director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, where he will give an overview of his roles and responsibilities, as well as explain how other states could adopt a similar model. Following Mr. Benitez will be a panel titled “Survey Says” and will examine various data trends within the equine industry over the past several years.  The morning will also include a youth engagement panel, “Building the pipeline of future horse enthusiasts,” and will feature representatives from the PGA “First Tee” program and the Outdoor Industry Association’s “Outdoor Nation.”

The afternoon session will start with Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). AZA is a nonprofit association dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation. Noted author and journalist Fran Jurga will also be speaking on emerging technologies in the equine industry.  Also speaking will be Anne Poulson, Dr. Yuval Neria and Dr. Prudence Fisher from the Man ‘o War Project and Columbia University Medical Center presenting their methodology and findings from their clinical research to determine the effectiveness of EAAT on military veterans suffering from PTSD. Also include panels of Congressional representatives, and equine aftercare, followed by round table discussion on topics of interests.

New this year, vendors will be set up to provide live demonstrations of emerging technologies including health monitoring sensors for horses and virtual reality demonstrations.

The AHC’s Annual Meeting will take place Sunday, June 10th – Wednesday, June 13th. Sunday and Monday various committees of the AHC will meet. The Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum will take place on Tuesday and are open to both AHC members and non-members- we encourage anyone involved in the equine industry to attend to learn about new developments and how they can become involved!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the AHC at info@horsecouncil.org or 202.296.4031.

Read on AHC Website


Congress Delivers H-2B Visa Cap Relief, ELD Flexibility in Omnibus Bill




The following is from the American Horse Council:

March 23, 2018

Congress Delivers H-2B Visa “Cap Relief,” ELD Flexibility in Omnibus Bill

Shortly after 12:30 am, on Friday, March 23, Congress approved a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 to fund federal government operations through September 30.  The 2,232 page bill includes several regulatory measures that will provide flexibility for the horse industry, most notably H-2B visa cap relief for seasonal, guest workers and a temporary enforcement exemption for the transportation of livestock from the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations.  The legislation also includes policy “riders” to defund Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs that will impact the equine sector and broader agriculture economy.

Lawmakers Raise the Ceiling on H-2B Guest-Worker Visas

Despite opposition from a large number of lawmakers from both political parties, the horse industry and its allies persuaded Congress to effectively raise the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cap on H-2B temporary worker visas from the current cap of 66,000 to 129,500 visas for FY2018.   A provision tying the number of H-2B visas to a number not to exceed the maximum number of participants from the returning worker program in a previous year has effectively doubled the number of visas the agency may issue in 2018.  Because of the fast approaching seasonal labor needs for breeding farms, race tracks, and other seasonal employers, AHC and its partners are urging DHS to implement the flexibility measures as quickly as possible to mitigate paperwork bottlenecks during the remainder of the year.  Other key H-2B provisions include acceptance of private wage surveys to determine “prevailing wage” requirements, and language that defines “seasonal need” as a 10-month period within the context of the program.  The coalition has already begun to focus efforts on creating permanent cap relief in future legislative vehicles.  This would decouple the H-2B visa issue from the annual appropriations process and create an environment of investment certainty.

Congress Delays ELD Enforcement for Livestock to September 30

On the heels of the DOT’s March 13 issuance of an additional 90-day exemption from ELD enforcement requirements for livestock, the bill includes a provision that would defund enforcement to at least September 30, which is the official end of the fiscal year.  The delay will provide DOT and industry stakeholders more time to educate livestock haulers on the proper scope of the ELD mandate, which has caused uncertainty since being finalized in late 2015.  Furthermore, industry’s September 2017 request to push back the compliance deadline by a full year is still outstanding, leaving the possibility of another enforcement delay for livestock.

Lawmakers Fully Fund Tax Law Implementation, Defund Horse Slaughter Inspections, EPA Ag Emission and Reporting Rules  

In a rare move to increase resources for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Congress appropriated an additional $320 million through September 2019 for the nation’s tax collectors to help assure a smooth implementation of the 2017 tax law.  The omnibus also includes a rider that bans funding of USDA personnel to inspect horses prior to slaughter, a provision which lawmakers have renewed within multiple spending bills during previous years to effectively shut down horse slaughter in the U.S.  On the EPA front, the bill also defunds enforcement of rules that would do the following:

  • Mandate the reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from decomposing animal waste located on farms;
  • And reporting air emissions from farms resulting from hazardous substances, pursuant to the nation’s Superfund law.

AHC will deliver updates on more details within the 2018 omnibus spending package that impact the horse industry as they emerge.  To view a copy of the 2232 page bill, please click here:  http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20180319/BILLS-115SAHR1625-RCP115-66.pdf.  If you have questions about FY2018 appropriations, please contact Bryan Brendle, Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org.

Read on AHC Website

FMCSA Announces New ELD Waiver




The following is from the American Horse Council:

March 13, 2018

FMCSA Announces New ELD Waiver

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced additional steps to address the unique needs of the country’s agriculture industries and provided further guidance to assist in the effective implementation of the Congressionally-mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule without impeding commerce or safety.

FMCSA is announcing an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture related transportation. Additionally, during this time period, FMCSA will publish final guidance on both the agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption and personal conveyance.

It is important to note that this 90 days is an extension of the previous 90 days given to all agriculture commodity haulers.  This is not a final decision on the livestock specific ELD exemption request filed in September—a determination on that request is still to be made. The AHC will continue to push for this exemption along with other livestock industry associations. The welfare, safety, and health of the animals in transit, together with the safety of other drivers on the road, are top priorities for the equine industry and its enthusiasts.

The AHC will continue to work with the FMCSA and the DOT during this delay to better meet the needs of the animal agriculture community to ensure that there are no unintended consequences from current ELD regulations.

If you have any questions, please contact the AHC.

Read on AHC Website

ACTION ALERT- H2-B Visa Cap Relief Needed Now




The following is from the American Horse Council:

ACTION ALERT- H2-B Visa Cap Relief Needed Now!

As the March 23 deadline to finalize a FY2018 spending bill approaches, the horse industry and its allies continue to urge lawmakers to include H-2B guest worker visa “cap relief” in the final spending bill.   Please contact your federal elected officials today and tell them to support any provision that will provide H-2B visa cap relief within the context of FY2018 appropriations bills.  Congress can help provide the tools you need to grow your business in 2018 by enacting visa cap relief today!


Take Action

AHC Tax Bulletin-March 2018




The following is from the American Horse Council:

AHC’s Tax Bulletin is Sponsored by

The American Horse Council keeps you up to date with important tax court cases and regulations with its bi-monthly Tax Bulletin. The Tax Bulletin is a member benefit, and thus is not intended for reproduction. For more information on federal legislation, equine health and regulatory issues, taxes, animal welfare, racing, recreation, and showing please visit our website at www.horsecouncil.org

Horse Industry Trots Into New Tax Landscape

Two major policy developments have dramatically changed the tax landscape for horse owners and millions of other Americans as they make nancial plans for their businesses and families in 2018 and beyond: enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which rewrites major business and individual provisions of the tax code; and passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (aka, “tax extenders”), which extends for one year a host of tax incentives that expired at the end of 2016.

Login to read the March Tax Bulletin

Qualifed Business Income Deduction Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

By Douglas Dean, CPA, Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC, Lexington, KY

Thomson Reuters, a major resource provider for tax professionals, recently stated: “Few provisions in the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are likely to have a greater impact or create more confusion than the new Code Section 199A deduction for noncorporate taxpayers for qualified business income.”

Login to read the March Tax Bulletin

The AHC Tax Bulletin is a digest of current tax developments affecting the horse industry. The AHC Tax Bulletin is for informational purposes only and not intended to take the place of professional tax counsel.

Click to dowload a PDF of the Tax Bulletin

AHC Tax Bulletin Advisory Board

Thomas A. Davis, Esq.
Davis & Harman LLP
Washington, DC


Doug Dean
Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC
Lexington, KY
 Paul Husband, Esq 
Husband Law Group
Universal City, CA
John Kropp, Esq
Graydon, Head & Ritchey
Cincinnati, OH
Bruce Oberfest, Esq, CPA
Bruce D. Oberfest & Associates
Chappaqua, NY
Douglas Romaine, Esq
Stoll Keenon Ogden, PLLC
Lexington, KY
Joel B. Turner, Esq.
Frost Brown Todd
Louisville, KY

FMCSA Responds to AHC Request




The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 26, 2018

FMCSA Responds to AHC Request

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) followed their recent meeting with AHC staff, a meeting in response to the AHC request for clarification , by releasing two documents on the existing Commercial Driver License (CDL) regulations and how those regulations impact the horse industry. The AHC is appreciative of the horse specific efforts that FMCSA have taken to quell the concerns of our recreational enthusiasts.

The guidance titled “Agricultural Exceptions and Exemptions to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service (HOS) and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Rules” and “Non-Business Related Transportation of Horses ” explain how published FMCSA guidance provides an exception for the transportation of horses when the transportation in question is not business related (neither for compensation, nor where the driver is engaged in an underlying business related to the move). In these cases, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations do not apply, even if prize or scholarship money is offered. This includes the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations, requirements for Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) and CDL regulations, unless required by the driver’s home state. Both documents contain example scenarios that may help horse owners better understand the regulations as they exist today.

The documents can be found on the FMCSA website at:


The AHC will continue to pursue clarifications until the industry is satisfied that there are no unintended consequences from current CDL or ELD regulations. The AHC will take action where clarifications are not sufficient, including the continued collaboration with the entire livestock industry to get a delay in ELD enforcement.

AHC staff are still compiling the industry’s concerns and questions to forward to DOT and invite people to share their comments. Additionally, DOT has established a specific email address for agricultural specific questions at agricultural@dot.gov . This address will be used to generate a future F.A.Q. page.

The AHC encourages our members to share their questions to the DOT email as well to better highlight the existing concerns regarding the interpretation of CDL regulations. If clarifications and the F.A.Q. fail to address the concerns of our members, then the AHC will continue their efforts and pursue both legislative and regulatory solutions.

Find AHC resources at http://www.horsecouncil.org/eld-mandate-cdl-requirements/

Please contact the American Horse Council with any questions or comments.

Read on AHC Website

National Forest Service Identifies Priority Areas for Trail Repair




The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 20, 2018

National Forest Service Identifies “Priority Areas” for Trail Repair, Lawmakers to Expand Scope of RNR Act

On February 16, the Department of Agriculture’s National Forest Service (NFS) unveiled a list of 15 trail areas that the agency is targeting for priority maintenance projects.  As you recall, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act (PL 114-245, aka, “Trails Act”), signed into law in late 2016, directs the NFS to take steps to reduce the backlog of federal maintenance projects by identifying those that are in most need of repair. The Trails Act outlines a detailed program including goals and timetables by which the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will leverage private partners to clear trails long overdue for maintenance.  USDA Secretary Perdue underscored the importance of public/private partnerships supported by the horse industry by stating that the “partners and volunteers” will “address needed infrastructure work,” amounting to about $300 million in backlog maintenance.

Jim McGarvey, who leads the American Horse Council’s Recreation, Trails and Land-Use Committee, applauds the agency’s follow-through on the Trails Act directives.  He states that “AHC was a proud supporter of the Trails Act, and we thank the Forest Service for its continued work in saving these trails for America’s horse riders.” By beginning work on “priority areas,” the agency is focusing on trails that were “impassable” and otherwise posed safety hazards to horsemen and other outdoor enthusiasts.  On February 13, NFS personnel informed AHC members and staff that the agency will continue to explore ways to leverage public/private partnerships to maintain public trails.  To view a copy of the NFS announcement, please click here:  https://www.fs.fed.us/news/releases/usda-secretary-announces-infrastructure-improvements-forest-system-trails.

On the congressional front, lawmakers continue to review provisions that would expand the scope of the Recreation-Not-Red-Tape (RNR) Act (H.R. 3400), one of Congress’ most ambitious public lands initiatives.  The legislation would build on the success of the Trails Act by authorizing the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to enter into cooperative agreements with private parties to continue to expand the role of volunteers in trail maintenance.  The House Natural Resources Committee is planning to move forward with a mark-up of H.R. 3400, possibly as early as March, to incorporate provisions of the Guide Outfitters (GO) Act into H.R. 3400.  The expanded bill would establish a variety of regulatory efficiencies, including creation of joint permits for activities that take place on lands administered by the National Park Service, NFS and BLM.  The House Natural Resources Committee postponed a mark-up planned for Wednesday, February 14, to continue to explore ways to expand the scope of the RNR Act.

If you would like more information about federal land access issues, please contact Bryan Brendle at bbrendle@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.

Read on AHC Website

AHC Meets With Department of Transportation




The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 18, 2018

AHC Meets with Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The American Horse Council met with Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Deputy Administrator and leadership team this week in response to a letter sent to Secretary Chao on January 28th, 2018. AHC staff went to DOT headquarters to raise the industry’s concerns and solicit clarification on how the existing regulations should be interpreted, and how those interpretations are affecting the horse industry.

The AHC expressed the industry’s interest in an increased level of stakeholder outreach, the lack of uniform interpretations nationwide, the applicability of various exemptions already in place, and the appropriate avenues for future legislative and regulatory efforts. AHC shared specific situations where rodeo, racing, competition and recreational sectors have interacted with law enforcement concerning commercial regulations.

The DOT informed the AHC that a new website specifically tailored to the agricultural industry will be unveiled in the next week, with a dedicated contact for agricultural questions, and they will begin to develop a F.A.Q. to more clearly address the questions which they receive.

The DOT members present did clarify that trailer drivers not engaged in business are not subject to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) regulations, specifically where additional licensing is concerned. Regardless of weight, it was the interpretation of those present that going to an event that may issue prizes does not necessarily constitute commercial activity. As long as participation in the competition itself is not a component of the business with which that driver or the vehicle are regularly engaged, and expenses for said trip are not deducted for tax purposes, a CDL is not required to operate the CMV in question. Those interpretations, as are all CMV regulations, are specific to federal regulations, and state regulations may be less forgiving.

The AHC is excited about the opportunity to develop this relationship with DOT-FMCSA. The equine community should look forward to utilizing these lines of communication in the future to assure industry wide compliance and protection of individuals driving both commercially and recreationally. The AHC encourages the industry to reach out to state law enforcement to determine how best to comply with the state regulations. As additional information on this subject becomes available, the AHC will share that with our members as quickly as possible.

Visit http://www.horsecouncil.org/eld-mandate-cdl-requirements/ for AHC materials on this subject. Please contact the AHC with questions or concerns.

Read on AHC Website

Join our Member’s Only Group




The following is from the American Horse Council:

Join our Member’s Only Facebook Group!

As a member of the AHC, we know want you to stay up to date and informed of the issues that could impact the industry you love.

That’s why we created our Member’s Only group on Facebook- a place where we can post information and updates and get our members immediate feedback.* In addition to the Washington Updates you receive, this is just one more way the AHC is working to keep our members informed and up-to date!

Click below to join the group today!

*Only current AHC members are eligible to join. All requests to join will be subject to verification by the AHC.

Join AHC Members Group


2019 Annual Meeting Location Survey




The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 16, 2018

Help the AHC Pick the 2019 Annual Meeting Location

The AHC is in the process of looking at hotels for our 2019 Annual Meeting and National Issues Forum and we want our member’s opinion!

Please take a moment to complete the survey at the link below. We would appreciate your response no later than Wednesday, February 21st.

Thank you!

Take the Survey

ELD and CDL Webinar Recording




The following is from the American Horse Council:

February 14, 2018

ELD and CDL Webinar Recording

While registration filled up quickly for the AHC’s First Quarter 2018 webinar on the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirements, the AHC recorded the webinar in order to share with our members.

This is a multifactorial issue, with requirements for a CDL varying from state to state. The AHC is planning on hosting a second webinar on this topic in the coming weeks, and will be meeting with the Department of Transportation this coming Friday to further address how to best communicate the complexities of the requirements to the equine industry.

The AHC recommends contacting your state Department of Transportation for specific questions on the CDL regulations for your state. To view a list of state by state contacts, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact the AHC at info@horsecouncil.org.

View the Recording

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