By Tayloe Clements
With national interest growing in 3-5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) favorite and Triple Crown contender California Chrome, the American Horse Council has launched a program to show how anyone can be involved in the horse industry.
The program, called "Time to Ride," was created to inspire people who have not been exposed to racing or other equestrian sports.
As of May 31 about 1,000 stables nationwide have opened their doors to welcome newcomers to horse activities as part of the 100-Day Horse Challenge, which runs through Sept. 7. The stables are offering a variety of horse experiences to newcomers and stress that even modest owners such as Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, who bred and own California Chrome, can compete at Thoroughbred racing's highest levels or even have an Olympic equestrian hopeful.
"We have opened this program to people already in the horse industry that want to share their passion with others," said Christie Schulte of the Time to Ride Horse Challenge. "Everyone is involved from veterinary practices, retail, and riding programs, offering anything from 'Pet a Pony Day' to open houses, discounted lessons, and trail rides."
Time to Ride is also a challenge for horse people across the country to provide opportunities for those not yet involved to make new equine connections. As an incentive to be involved, each registered stable has a chance to win $100,000 in cash and prizes through a points system based on attendance.
"We really hope people are able to watch the Triple Crown and see how California Chrome came from an interesting, but everyday background, take that to heart, and know there is really a place in the horse world for everyone," Schulte said.
For more information or to learn how to get involved, visit the Time to Ride website.