Let me be clear, this news is about residents in Clark County, Washington, NOT Oregon. But, it is just across the river. And these types of trends seem to flow between Oregon and Washington. So, Oregon horse owners, pay attention, we could be next!
More than 150 equestrians ranging from boarding facility owners, trainers, vets, adult amateurs and youth riders attended the City Council meeting last night in Vancouver, Washington. Why? Because the City has been investigating possible code violations over the last year. It sounds like neighbor complaints may have started the investigations and crack downs of these potential violations.
There is a misconception that boarding facility owners make a lot of money. On the surface, $400 a month or more board, multiplied by 30 stalls seems like a decent income. But, that does not take into account the expenses involved. Feed, insurance, mortgage, bedding, maintenance and labor absorb pretty much all of the income. So, when these barn owners are asked to bring up their buildings to the code of Walmart, it just isn't feasible.
I don't think the City is considering what a service these facilities provide to the local equestrian. What kind of trouble would the kids be into if they weren't spending all their time at the barn? The amount of hard work and responsibility these kids learn is a trait that seems to be diminishing these days. And the therapeutic aspect for adults probably keeps many from depression or medications. Most people can not afford to have 2-5 acres, especially so close to town, to keep their own horses on. So without these facilities, they will be forced to sell the horses. Where will they go? Who else will be able to buy and provide for them?
The list of benefits these businesses provide is long, and it makes me sad to see this happening in our nearby State.