Texas HORSE Seeks Support, Legislation

Texas HORSE has a new plan for legislation that would aid the state's horse industry.

by Shelby Downs

Texas Thoroughbred Association executive director David Hooper addressed the Greater Houston Horse Council July 21 in an effort to garner support for a new breed coalition, Texas Horse Organizations for Racing, Showing and Eventing, which is known as Texas HORSE.

More than 40 horsemen and women were on hand to hear Hooper speak at the Carriage House Café, not far from the grounds of Sam Houston Race Park. The crowd included participants in several disciplines and breeds, in addition to TTA director of marketing Lynn Parks, Texas Quarter Horse Association executive director Rob Werstler, Texas Arabian Breeders Association executive director Ed Wilson, and Eric Johnston, vice president of racing at Sam Houston.

Texas HORSE, which was formally established July 7, includes six breed and performance horse organizations banding together with the common goal of passing legislation to allow video lottery terminals at the state’s horse and Greyhound racetracks. The group is comprised of the American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association, National Cutting Horse Association, Texas Arabian Breeders Association, Texas Quarter Horse Association, and Texas Thoroughbred Association.

“The purpose of the organization is to utilize the resources of all participating organizations and their members to present a united front in the legislative effort,” Hooper said. “Our objective is to keep Texas money in Texas and stop the exodus of Texas horses and horsemen to our surrounding states that already have alternative gaming in place.”

In his speech to the Greater Houston Horse Council, Hooper discussed a provision in the proposed legislation that would funnel a portion of revenue from alternative gaming to non-racing breeds and disciplines, such as cutting, reining, team roping, Western pleasure, and eventing. The provision is called the Performance Horse Development Fund.

“VLTs will be a tremendous boost to the Texas racing and breeding industry, and the inclusion of the Performance Horse Development Fund will extend those benefits to a broader segment of the Texas horse industry,” Hooper said. “Thanks to that revenue stream and Texas HORSE, we have put a whole new face on that legislation.”