Local horse activist speaks at Kiwanis Club meeting

Published 2:43 pm Friday, August 26, 2011

Kiwanis President-elect Kathy Woodham (left) thanked Libbie Johnson (right) for her talk. The club will donate a children’s book in her honor to a local school. (photo submitted)

“Why Horses Matter to the Area Economy” was the title of the presentation Libbie Johnson gave to the Tryon Kiwanis Club on April 27. Johnson is a local activist for the area’s horse industry.
Johnson reported that the Tryon area has been named one of the top 5 best horse communities in the U.S., with 250 miles of equestrian trails.
Johnson also spoke on how the horse community brings dollars to the local economy by direct spending, such as buying feed for horses; indirect spending, when the store buys supplies; and employee spending through their paychecks.
In 2008, there were 306,000 horses in North Carolina with an industry valued at $1.9 billion. North Carolina is the only non-racing state in the top 10 of horse industry states. Equine tourism is important also. With two competition venues, two pony clubs, fox hunts and 18 horse organizations, many owners with horses temporarily visit the Tryon area, each spending about $200.
Johnson spoke about the extent of the equine infrastructure in this area, including an equine ambulance, surgical hospital, tack shops, farriers and a great climate for riding.
The horse community is known for charitable giving through hunter pace events and support of many non-profit organizations that benefit Polk County.
– article submitted by Lynn Montgomery

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