HORSEPOWER Spurs NYS Senator to Call For $10M ‘Equine Facility Disaster Relief Fund’
“A thriving equine industry is absolutely essential to New York State’s economy,” said Senator Daphne Jordan (R, C, IP, RFM), a member of the NY Senate Agriculture Committee, as she called upon Governor Cuomo to consider a $10 million ‘Equine Facility Disaster Relief Fund’ to help equine small businesses — including boarding, lesson, and rescue barns – as part of the forthcoming 2020-21 State Budget.
The relief package has been proposed by HORSEPOWER, Inc., the equine welfare policy organization established to provide equines with a voice in New York State’s capitol. HORSEPOWER is working to educate the legislature about the financial realities of shutting barn operations down while still feeding and maintaining for the equines in their care.
Senator Jordan said, “Establishing a $10 million ‘Equine Facility Disaster Relief Fund’ as part of the 2020-21 State Budget would help the estimated 1,860 boarding, lesson, and rescue facilities throughout New York who are hurting from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus crisis. I am proud to advocate for New York’s equine industry, which is such an essential economic driver, and vital part not only of our racing and gaming industries, but our way of life.”
Last Sunday, as New York State moved to 100% closure of all nonessential businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HORSEPOWER, Inc., began hearing from boarding stables concerned about the financial impact, and responded by putting together a proposal for relief that was shared with Agriculture Committee members in both houses.
By Friday, March 27, Senator Jordan shared with HORSEPOWER, Inc., that she had sent a letter to Governor Cuomo advocating for the recommended $10 million in funding to create the Equine Facility Disaster Relief Fund as part of the 2020-21 State Budget.
“Six weeks ago, we never could have imagined this current crisis,” said Karin Carreau, of West Sand Lake, NY, board chair and co-founder of HORSEPOWER, Inc.
Since breaking from the gate in February 2020, HORSEPOWER, Inc., has become an engine for driving legislative action on issues of equine welfare.
Carreau continued, “As part of the Governor’s Executive Order to close non-essential businesses, equine boarding and lesson facilities closed on Sunday, March 21. While barn owners and essential staff are authorized to care and feed the horses, the bread and butter of their businesses, lessons and training, have been halted. As a result, many are quickly finding themselves financially underwater, with stables full of 1200-pound animals still needing to be cared for in the districts across our state.”
“While we understand the enormous pressure, given the current health and fiscal crisis, that the legislature faces as they negotiate the final stages of the budget process, we must ask that equine boarding and rescue facilities be part of the deliberations. If not with state dollars, then apportioning expected through federal funding should be considered.”
Senator Jordan is listening to HORSEPOWER’s call for action: “New York’s horse farms, training centers, and riding stables preserve 1.3 million acres of open space across our state that is home to nearly 157,500 horses. The equine industry has a $4.2 billion positive effect on the state’s economy, has generated 33,000 full-time jobs, and equine commerce results in $187 million in state and local taxes. That’s significant revenue that New York state and local governments need now.”
HORSEPOWER, Inc., (People Organizing for the Wellbeing of Equines and their Rights), is fueled by a team of equestrian professionals representing more than 75 years combined experience in lobbying, legal and government affairs. Learn more at www.horsepwr.org and on Facebook @horsepwr.org.