APHA Horsemen Visit the Texas Capitol in support of SB 1118 and HB 2111
FORT WORTH, TEXAS—Texas horsemen gathered at the state Capitol on March 31, 2011, in support of bills that will generate revenue for the state and provide support for the struggling Texas horse industry. The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) is one of the founding members of Texas H.O.R.S.E. (Horse Organization for Racing, Showing and Eventing), the organization who put this event in motion. Over 1,000 horsemen attended the rally to show support for the bills and encourage legislators to put them to a public vote in Texas.
The bills, SB 1118 and HB 2111, outline a comprehensive plan to generate revenue through slot machine profits in a manner that will not allow rampant gambling in the conservative state, but provide opportunities for existing gambling locations to expand their options.
While much as been written about this rally already, Paint Horse Pete, APHA’s mascot, made the trip to the capitol and filed his own report…
“When the alarm went off early Thursday, March 31 at the barn where I’m stabled, I knew that was the day to head to the Capitol. A couple of big busses picked up my APHA friends and me at Lone Star Park and we headed down I-35 towards Austin. I had the chance to visit with not only APHA folks, but also lots of other people involved with other horse breeds including Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred and Arabians. We nickered about how the SB 1118 and HB 2111 would level the playing field allowing Texas to compete with the surrounding states with regards to racing and casinos. Many of my horse friends are headed to Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico to race and their people friends are headed to the casinos in those states. With the budget problems here in Texas, we need to be spending those oats and dollars in Texas to help out! No more teachers need to lose their jobs! These bills could generate $1 billion for Texas and that would really help!
When we arrived in Austin, we unloaded and trailed over for an informative meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel. Other buses arrived from Houston and San Antonio and lots of people came on their own. The meeting was standing room only and some couldn’t even get in the door, this was very exciting!
We found our leaders for each group and trotted down the street to the South Steps of the Capitol building. This was where I really wanted to kick up my heels! Meeting us there was four horses (including a cute Paint Horse), two greyhounds and lots of press people. I made my way through the crowd while holding my sign that read “Save the Budget – Support SB 1118 and HB 2111” until I was right in front of the other horses and press. My excitement built as the cameraman turned the camera towards me. He even interviewed one of my handlers for the Austin news station!
After the speakers talked about the importance of this bill, we filtered into the Capitol building to find our legislators. Some we were able to talk to, others we left notes for. Some of them knew about the bills and some didn’t, so we answered questions and talked to them in detail. It was great to see the 1,000 or more horsemen coming together for this effort, passing them in the great hallways of the Capitol building I was amazed. My nose was patted by many of those people too!
Next we were escorted into the Capitol Gallery to watch some of the action on the floor, I was hoping for some hay too. When we were introduced, we cheered loudly, and I neighed loudly!
After we left the Gallery, we clip-clopped down the stairs to the basement for some lunch in the Capitol Grill. People discussed how their legislator visits went and talked about how this affects each of us involved in the horse industry and as Texans.
More visits to legislators and more discussions later we were headed back to our busses for the ride home. We loaded up and fastened our halters (or seatbelts) for the ride home. Upon arrival back to the track, there were neighs and nickers of goodbye to our many friends.
We know that it is up to the legislators now to consider the bills merits and make the best decisions for Texas, we hope that will mean passing these so the citizens of Texas can vote on this issue. It’s only fair for the issue to be put to a vote! At least that is what the many horsemen and this little sorrel tobiano Paint Horse feel about the issue anyway.
Signing out and heading to the barn,” Paint Horse Pete
Other organizations represented at the event included: American Quarter Horse Association, National Cutting Horse Association, Texas Arabian Breeders Association, Texas Horsemen’s Partnership, Texas Paint Horse Breeders Association, Texas Quarter Horse Association and Texas Thoroughbred Association.
To learn more about SB 1118 and HB 2111, and the Texas H.O.R.S.E. organization, please visit texashorseweb.com or their Facebook page (search “Texas-HORSE”).
MORE ABOUT APHA
The American Paint Horse Association (APHA), founded in 1962 and headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is the international breed registry for the American Paint Horse. In fulfillment of its mission to collect, record and preserve pedigrees of the breed, APHA recognizes and supports 111 regional and international clubs, produces championship shows, sponsors trail rides and creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.
APHA has registered almost a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded, and now serves approximately 64,000 active members around the world.