April 17, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Michigan Horse Council Elects New Directors and Officers at 2022 Annual Meeting
At the 2022 Michigan Horse Council Annual Meeting hosted at the MSU Pavilion on April 12th the organizational members voted to approve the following additions of board members which included Penny Wilson, Julie Vruggink, and Trevor Walton.
Additionally, the Michigan Horse Council Board of Directors voted to elect Julie Vruggink as Vice President for the upcoming year. For the upcoming year Inger Lenese will serve as President, Bruce Deur as President Elect, and Julie Vruggink at Vice President.
The offices of Secretary and Treasurer had no nominations, so the Council Board of Directors motioned to appoint Director and Communication Chair, Sasha Glover, to act as interim Secretary until the May 2022 meeting. Term-limited Treasurer, Sue Armstrong, will hold the position until the May 2022 meeting. Nominations for the offices of Secretary and Treasurer will be accepted/voted upon May 3, 2022, during the Board Member Meeting (7:00pm via Zoom).
The mission of the Michigan Horse Council is to provide individuals and organizations with a central authority that will support, encourage, supplement, and coordinate the efforts of those presently engaged in the constructive conservation, development, and promotion of the horse industry and horse community in the state of Michigan along with educate and inform individuals and organizations through all available media, educational programs, cooperation, and advocate the conservation and promotion of the horse industry and community.
The Michigan Horse Council’s Statewide Trail Ride Challenge begins March 1, 2022 — This is the 2nd year for fun event open to Michigan Horse Council members who join Top Trail (see details below).
The rider with the most miles (subject to audit) at the conclusion of the ride challenge period will be showered with some amazing sponsor awards.
All participants will receive a special award commemorating their challenge accomplishments.
Here’s what you need to know:
Now through July 1, 2022: Eligible participants may join Top Trail at the Michigan Horse Council membership level and automatically be added to the special challenge group. Or join at the Premium level for added benefits. If Premium is chosen you will need to manually join the group here.
March 1, 2022 through August 31, 2022: Michigan Horse Council’s Statewide Trail Ride Challenge period. All tracks recorded and posted to your account will be reflected on the special leaderboard.
September 3, 2022: final day to post recorded tracks ridden on August 31, 2022.
September 4-10, 2022: results of the challenge are audited and results will be given to Michigan Horse Council personnel.
September 30 - October 2, 2022: Michigan Horse Council will announce winners and distribute awards.
Join the Michigan Horse Council and equine trail enthusiasts for the 2022 Statewide Trail Ride weekend! This event will be hosted at the beautiful D Bar D Ranch where camping accommodations can be made along with access to various trails that can be ridden at your own pace or with groups!
If you are not camping hotel accommodations can be made with Holiday Inn: 1005 Perry Ave. Big Rapids, MI and mention the Michigan Horse Council.
The Michigan Horse Council is excited to host their annual meeting on April 12 beginning at 7:00PM! The annual meeting will be hosted at the MSU Pavilion with refreshments being provided by Brighton Trail Riders.
We ask that all attendees register so that we can get an accurate membership count along with ensuring we accommodate seating at the facility.
The Michigan Harness Horsemen Association (MHHA) is Michigan’s only recognized standardbred horsemen organization; active since 1947, the MHHA serves to support and protect Michigan’s standardbred owners, breeders, trainers and drivers. Our organization serves a wide variety of functions to ensure the financial interests of Michigan’s standardbred industry. We supply horses to Michigan’s remaining parimutuel racetrack, Northville Downs and 11 country fairs throughout the state during the summer stakes season. We represent the Standardbred industry with state administrative, budgetary and legislative matters of concern regarding the horse racing industry and actively seek change when needed to ensure policies promote live racing opportunities for our horsemen.
Rep. Julie Alexander is honored to serve residents of the Jackson community in the state Capitol. She represents the 64th House District, which includes the city of Jackson; the villages of Concord, Hanover, and Parma; and Concord, Hanover, Napoleon, Parma, Pulaski, Sandstone, Spring Arbor and Summit townships.
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Alexander chairs the Committee on Agriculture, where she guides state policy to improve the agriculture industry, insuring a safe and secure food supply for all. She also serves on the Committee on Health Policy and the Committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance.
After graduating from Northwest High School and Western Michigan University, Rep. Alexander continued her post-graduate education at Michigan State University and started in the teaching profession. During her 22-year career as a passionate educator, she taught both middle school English Language Arts and adult education.
Rep. Alexander has wholeheartedly embraced the lifestyle of a farmer alongside her husband, Jeff. The Alexanders own and operate their third-generation family farm in Hanover Township, where they grow about 1,600 acres of crops, including corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay. Recently having sold their milking herd after 40 years of dairy production the family remains active in their community and state promoting the agriculture industry.
At the local level, her leadership roles included: County Commissioner 2011-2016, Human Services Committee Chair, Marine Corps League (Auxiliary member), Jackson County Parks, Cradle to Career (C2C) Coordinating Council, SCMWorks!, Land Bank Authority, Region 2 Planning Commission, Board of Public Works and Hanover Horton Hometown Celebration.
Rep. Alexander has received many awards for her commitment to public service. These include: the National Milk Producers Association Young Cooperator Advisory Council (1992), Jackson County ‘Dairy Woman of the Year’ (1993), Jackson County Farm Bureau ‘Service to Agriculture’ (2004), United Dairy Industry of Michigan’s ‘Excellence in Dairy Promotion’ (2013), Center for Family Health’s ‘Community Health Champion’ (2014), and Jackson County Great Start Collaborative ‘Great Start in Life’ (2014).
Since serving as State Representative, Rep Alexander has been recognized for many achievements including: 2020 Potato Growers of Michigan Peeler In Our Community, 2019 Michigan Allied Poultry Industries Golden Egg Award in recognition of Outstanding Commitment to Michigan's Family Egg Farmers, 2019 Friends of Corn – Legislator of the Year, 2019 FFA Agricultural Education Supporter, 2019 Michigan Great Lakes International Draft Horse Show Appreciation of Service, 2018 Michigan School Counselor Assn. Legislator of the Year Award, 2018 State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) Emerging Leaders Program graduate, 2017 & 2018 The American Conservative Union Foundation Conservative Excellence Award and the 2017 & 2018 NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award.
Julie and Jeff were married in 1987. Together, they are the proud parents of four children and grandparents to three.
So what happened to the plans for the building? Lots.
There were many challenges in 2020 that impacted our ability to operate, fundraise and proceed with the project as designed. Our Community was hit especially hard with the dam failures and devastating flooding. And it happened during a global pandemic. To find our path forward, we sought support and encouragement of community leaders to revise the scope of the project and to align the costs more closely to the committed funds in order to advance the project for our community. The revised scope of work uses a design build approach and valuable insight gained from the initial project scope of 2019. The project delivers 155 stalls in the four-season building and another 70 stalls in an adjacent barn being moved and repurposed on the property as an improved asset. Total Stall capacity exceeds 410 stalls for seasonal use with an additional 127 harness barn stalls available for event use. The design allows for planned expansion of the facility based on the 2018 master plan for the fairgrounds.
The equine and livestock industry continues to thrive and our wait list for events demonstrates the desire for organizations to hold events in Midland, Michigan. Our key stakeholders, including area businesses as well as new customers will benefit from this project. The fairgrounds will benefit from additional revenue, area businesses receive direct economic impact, customers will benefit as their events can host more participants in our community and we help meet the demands in the equine industry.
The project is estimated to take 6-8 months for completion, with the project designed to be started in the Fall of 2021 and be completed by May 2022. This is a very positive project for our community with several local contractors working on the project. “Our plan is to increase capacity and as a result, better serve our customers and the community. This project is good for everyone; the equine industry, the fair industry and Michigan as a whole,” says Trish Steele, manager of the Midland Fairgrounds. “This equestrian center project would be sustained through the contracts for future use in operations. It is a self-sustaining business model that has proven to be effective in fairground facilities across the U.S.”
This four-season equestrian venue will provide an economic benefit to the local businesses and commerce, as it will add 30,000 visitors to the area during a time of year in which they would not normally be present (late fall and throughout the winter).
In addition to grant funding from local family and private foundations, individuals, businesses and organizations, the Midland Fair will be hosting fundraising events in 2021 to support the equestrian center project. Through the generosity of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation in Midland, the Midland Fair has been awarded a $1 for $1 matching grant up to $200,000. This award will maximize contributions and help us reach our goal of fundraising for the project. To learn more about the Rising Strong campaign and how your tax-deductible contributions can support this project, visit midlandfair.com.
The Midland County fairgrounds serves approximately 375,000 visitors annually through a variety of 114 unique events which are held at the facility. A recent study from MSU’s Center for Economic Analysis shows that the Midland Fair events generate more than $3.70 million dollars of new transactions annually into the Midland County economy and supports the equivalence of about 48 jobs.
Visit midlandfair.com to learn more about this exciting project!
Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, retrain and re-home at risk equines. We assist law enforcement agencies and accept surrendered horses from owners displaying a clear need for help (we are not a retirement facility). Our goal is to find every horse in our care a forever home through adoption. This is accomplished through medical rehabilitation and training to ensure each horse, rideable or not, has the skills needed to be a good equine citizen. Established in 1995, the farm is run by our Board of Directors, a small staff of 5 employees and over 100 volunteers helping care for 70 horses at any given time! Our programs include 2 volunteer shifts per day seven days a week, the groom team, the rehabilitation and training team and the maintenance team. Our property of 22 acres holds 23 pastures, a small indoor arena, the Madi Memorial Arena (outdoor) and the Rehabilitation and Obstacle Training Course.
Even with the challenges of this last year, 2020 saw 63 adoptions! 20 companion horses and 43 rideable horses were placed in appropriate, loving homes. So far in 2021, we have welcomed 56 intakes and placed 41 horses.
We have started installation of an automatic watering system and need your help to complete it. This will save on chore time year-round, allowing more time spent with the horses, reduce heating bills by $1,400/month 6 months out of the year, reduce water waste and make volunteering at Horses’ Haven in the winter a much easier task. We have raised $26,000 for this project and need $24,000 to complete.
Horses’ Haven has partnered with the ASPCA to remove geographical barriers in adoption. Early 2020 we made 5 trips to KY bringing 19 horses to Michigan which were quickly adopted into wonderful homes. New this year is the Horse Adoption Express, organized and funded by the ASPCA/Right Horse. Addressing the problem of geography is a large scale effort that needs to have the industry coming together, problem solving, evaluating resources and acting. Through the Horse Adoption Express Program this year, we have welcomed and adopted 6 horses from FL rescues and 10 horses form MN. We are excited to see what we can accomplish in the future with this large collaboration both helping at risk equines, utilizing what our wonderful programs have to offer and fulfilling the demand for adoption in our horse community.
2021 Open House and Haven Hoedown Fundraiser
We will be holding our annual Open House on September 18th from 12-4. This is a family friendly day of meeting the horses, kids activities and touring the farm. RSVP’s are appreciated via Facebook Event post, Facebook messenger or through our website “contact us” form found at horseshaven.org.
In addition, we are continuing the night with our first Haven Hoedown!! This will be a night of music, dancing and food. Tickets will be available for purchase on our website or at our onsite Tack Store.
Michigan Silver Lake State Park ORV Dunes and Lake Michigan Shoreline Horseback Riding
Pilot Season November 1-14, 2021
The 2021 Season will be offered through the Michigan Horse Council. Each participant must join the Michigan Horse Council. $20.00 Individual or $30.00 Family for annual memberships.