Texas Wind Energy: Separating The Facts From The Hype

One of the most exciting forms of renewable energy that shows the most promise is wind energy. Derived from wind turbines, wind energy generates electricity without the need for fossil fuels and the consumption of water, and produces no emissions during the process. This significant environmental benefit makes wind energy one of the most promising and fastest developing forms of renewable energy today.

At the forefront of wind energy development is the state of Texas, known for its oil and natural gas production facilities, but now leads the nation in the production of wind energy. The state can generate Texas electricity using wind energy with a capacity that is three times as much as Iowa, the second highest wind energy-producing state, and would rank sixth after the United States, China, Germany, Spain and India if Texas was considered a separate nation.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard signed into law in 1999 by then governor George W. Bush set Texas on the road towards renewable energy and a leader in wind energy, producing over 8,200 megawatts of wind-generated Texas electricity. According to ERCOT or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, wind energy accounted for 6.2 percent of the states 2009 Texas electricity production.

The Facts and the Hype

Texas commitment to renewable sources of energy have generated hype from all levels: claims of the state exceeding all expectations regarding wind energy generation, generation of over 15,000 more jobs, and over $ 6 billion in investments the biggest economic boon to the state according to President Barack Obama himself.

However, actual figures from ERCOT, the states grid operator, indicated that only 708 megawatts of this total wind energy capacity is reliable, particularly during the summer where Texas electricity demands are at their peak. To compensate, conventional energy generation is still utilized to sustain the more than 72,648 megawatt demands during the summer months. ERCOT projects that wind energy will eventually have significant impact on the grid by the year 2014, after transmission constraints have all been addressed.
Status and Direction of Wind Energy in Texas

Recent figures have indicated a very promising outlook for the wind energy industry as 12.1 percent of the states total Texas electricity production by April of this year. Texas continues to have the largest wind farms and highest wind capacity nationwide, despite the problems and issues the industry faced.

Plans of building the largest wind farm in the world was discontinued due to constraints imposed by the lack of transmission lines that will bring Texas electricity from the various wind farms across the state and into the major cities that require this energy. To address this, the state is allocating over $ 5 billion in investments to lay out a concrete transmission plan.

Most of Texas wind power farms are located in West Texas and the Panhandle. Now, there are not enough transmission lines that will bring the generated Texas electricity from these locations and down to the big metropolitan areas such as Dallas-Fort Worth where consumption is the highest. Once these hurdles are addressed and an efficient means of transmission are in place, the state and surrounding areas will definitely benefit from this viable source of renewable energy.

About Shop Texas Electricity- Shop Texas Electricity helps consumers and businesses compare and shop for their electricity plans in Texas. Learn more about Shop Texas Electricity by visiting us at Texas Electric & Business Electricity & Houston Electric

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Texas Wind Energy: Separating the Facts from the Hype

One of the most exciting forms of renewable energy that shows the most promise is wind energy. Derived from wind turbines, wind energy generates electricity without the need for fossil fuels and the consumption of water, and produces no emissions during the process. This significant environmental benefit makes wind energy one of the most promising and fastest developing forms of renewable energy today.

 

At the forefront of wind energy development is the state of Texas, known for its oil and natural gas production facilities, but now leads the nation in the production of wind energy. The state can generate Texas electricity using wind energy with a capacity that is three times as much as Iowa, the second highest wind energy-producing state, and would rank sixth after the United States, China, Germany, Spain and India if Texas was considered a separate nation.

 

The Renewable Portfolio Standard signed into law in 1999 by then governor George W. Bush set Texas on the road towards renewable energy and a leader in wind energy, producing over 8,200 megawatts of wind-generated Texas electricity. According to ERCOT or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, wind energy accounted for 6.2 percent of the state’s 2009 Texas electricity production.

 

The Facts and the Hype

 

Texas commitment to renewable sources of energy have generated hype from all levels: claims of the state exceeding all expectations regarding wind energy generation, generation of over 15,000 more jobs, and over $ 6 billion in investments – the biggest “economic boon to the state” according to President Barack Obama himself.

 

However, actual figures from ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, indicated that only 708 megawatts of this total wind energy capacity is reliable, particularly during the summer where Texas electricity demands are at their peak. To compensate, conventional energy generation is still utilized to sustain the more than 72,648 megawatt demands during the summer months. ERCOT projects that wind energy will eventually have significant impact on the grid by the year 2014, after transmission constraints have all been addressed.

Status and Direction of Wind Energy in Texas

Recent figures have indicated a very promising outlook for the wind energy industry as 12.1 percent of the state’s total Texas electricity production by April of this year. Texas continues to have the largest wind farms and highest wind capacity nationwide, despite the problems and issues the industry faced.

 

Plans of building the largest wind farm in the world was discontinued due to constraints imposed by the lack of transmission lines that will bring Texas electricity from the various wind farms across the state and into the major cities that require this energy. To address this, the state is allocating over $ 5 billion in investments to lay out a concrete transmission plan.

 

Most of Texas wind power farms are located in West Texas and the Panhandle. Now, there are not enough transmission lines that will bring the generated Texas Electricity from these locations and down to the big metropolitan areas such as Dallas-Fort Worth where consumption is the highest. Once these hurdles are addressed and an efficient means of transmission are in place, the state and surrounding areas will definitely benefit from this viable source of renewable energy.

About Shop Texas Electricity- Shop Texas Electricity helps consumers and businesses compare and shop for their electricity plans in Texas. Learn more about Shop Texas Electricity by visiting us at Texas Electric & Business Electricity & Houston Electric

Expertise And Services Of A Homes For Sale In Magnolia Texas

A home is without a doubt a manifestation of your way of life and should therefore be able to blend well with the kind of lifestyle you are used to and cater for all your needs including comfort. This has led to the increase in popularity of custom home builders who offer professional services when it comes to building the kind of home you desire. In case you get to a point where you decide to construct a new home in Texas, this particular articles will come in handy in terms of guiding you in locating and choosing the best and most dependable homes for sale in magnolia texas.

The construction of a Tomball home needs a lot of patience due to the fact that it requires plenty of time and effort. Therefore when looking for that personal and unique touch, the expertise and services of a Texas new home builder will come in quite handy due to the fact that they are not only able to transform your home requirements into reality but also help you in coming up with other alternatives that are still suitable for you.

A good number of the Texas custom home builders provide various services at very reasonable rates. However before coming to a decision on which one you will work it is critical for you to do a background check in order to find out the kind of standing they have in the market and to make sure they are reliable. In order to come up with a credible conclusion you can simply ask for some references who will be able to vouch for them, or better yet you can enquire from their previous clients about the excellence of services they offer. In order to do away with any fears you may have regarding the expected quality of work and services put into your new home, select the new homes tomball who are quite experienced when it comes to constructing exquisite spring creek homes. They have managed to gain their experience from the numerous projects they have seen to completion for a number of years. Individuals who own Montgomery County Texas property often want the best.

The most crucial part of constructing a Tomball home is selecting a good plan. Therefore it is necessary for the Texas Custom Home Builder to show you a variety of applicable plans from which you can select the one that suits you most. Qualified Single Family Home Builders will always give you a helping hand when it comes to choosing the correct architectural plan depending on your requirements. They should also have the knowhow when it comes to making any changes to the architectural design plan depending on the exact specifications you require.

A good number of spring creek home plans always need some modifications done to them. These changes may include putting in some extra storage space, a bigger garage and maybe large windows.

Author, James Camroon specializes in writing about homes for sale Houston, magnolia texas new homes, homes for sale in magnolia texas, magnolia texas real estate, new homes tomball & magnolia texas homes.

Explore the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail

In the Texas Hill Country, a ride on a one horse open sleigh may be hard to come by, as one necessary ingredient (snow) is a rarity.  However, don’t let that dismay you – the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail leaves nothing to be desired.  Just pile the kids into your sleigh on wheels, and go for a wonderful drive through the Texas Hill Country to see the festival of lights in the small towns that dot the landscape.

The Regional Christmas Lighting Trail encompasses 11 central Texas communities.  The participating communities are Boerne, Burnet, Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Goldthwaite, Johnson City, Kerrville, Llano, Marble Falls, New Braunfels, and Wimberley.

Last night we had the pleasure of driving through Goldthwaite, a bucolic community located on U.S. 183 north of Austin.  The light display was beautiful, and we noticed one couple enjoying the tour of lights on a horse drawn, open air carriage.

The Johnson City display features over 1,000,000 lights adorning the Pedernales Electric Cooperative’s main office, with another 300,000 lights on the county courthouse.

In addition to the famous specialty shopping, brew pubs, museums and bed and breakfasts, Fredericksburg serves up seasonal cheer with lights all along Main Street and in the central Marktplatz park.  The park features a 26 foot tall Christmas pyramid, Christmas tree, and an outdoor ice skating rink.

Llano’s festival is called “Starry Starry Nights” (named after the famous Van Gogh painting) and includes animated displays, a 55 foot tall Christmas tree, and a 30 foot tall snowman which is this year’s newest addition.

Wimberley’s “Old Fashioned Christmas” includes not only the requisite trail of lights but also a Yule Log with marshmallow roasting.

Marble Falls’ “Christmas Walkway of Lights” is the host to over one million glowing bulbs on the shores of Lake Marble Falls.  The lights are ablaze nightly from 6 pm until 10 pm through New Year’s Day.

Kerrville lights up its courthouse and downtown area with over 100,000 lights and includes various food and festival activities depending upon the date you attend.

Burnet’s “Christmas Festival” is easily reached from Austin via the Hill Country Flyer steam train. What a romantic evening that would be – to ride a steam train to a Christmas light festival in Hamilton Park featuring lights, luminaries, and other Christmas décor.

Making a trip to the scenic and festive Hill Country communities is one of the best ways to enjoy time with the family as well as to get filled with Christmas cheer. Be sure not to miss out!

Carolyn Boden is a marketing consultant at Belvedere, Texas hill country land for sale real estate community. They sell beautiful hill country acreage located west of Austin near Hamilton Pool. For more information please visit http://www.belvedereaustin.com

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Things Equestrians in North Texas Need to Know

If you are an owner of horses or if you are simply someone who loves to be around these magnificent animals, there is lots of support for the equestrian and the horse enthusiast in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area. This is one of the most horse friendly areas of the country. There are yearly equestrian events, tons of tack and supply shops, clubs for horse lovers, and properties that are specifically designed for horses and their owners. Certainly, if you are a horse lover, North Texas is a great option for you.

Get Your Supplies Near Your Home
 
The Dallas/Fort Worth area is full of supply shops that can meet your needs. The Park Lane Equestrian Center and the Las Colina’s Equestrian Center are both an easy drive from Dallas. Not only offering supplies, both of these shops offer a place to meet other horse enthusiasts. Closer to Fort Worth is the Marshall Grain Company, which focuses mainly on selling food and supplies. The Porters Tack and Western store sells a large selection of supplies. One shoe fitting outfit is Rodney Carthel Horseshoeing is one place you can get your horse fitted for shoes. Ryon’s Saddle & Ranch Supply is another place that offers general supplies located closer to Fort Worth. If you are still unable to find what you need, online stores such as Jeffers Equine or Valley Vet Supply offer shipping to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The thing to remember is that in this area of the country you have plenty of options for your equine needs.
 
You Can Find an Equestrian Property in North Texas
 
Whether you currently have horses or you plan to sometime in the future, the North Texas area offers a variety of options for horse lovers. Certainly, you can find equestrian property in any area, but certain parts of the country are more horse-friendly than others. Texans will tell you that in Flower Mound, they may like your horse better than they like you! This city of equine-lovers is north of Fort Worth. Silverado is west of Fort Worth and is another place that caters to horse owners. Even near Dallas, there are several small towns that welcome horse lovers. Towns like Keller, Sanger, Justin, Celina and Denton are just a few of the options. Some of the subdivisions in this area made to welcome horse lovers, with resources for homeowners within their community as well as regulations that are meant to protect and regulate horse ownership. Whichever area you pick, Texas is one of those places where horse owners love to reside.
 
Riding Stables in the Area as Well
 
Many people love horses, but simply do not have the resources or want the responsibility of owning a horse of their own. If this sounds like you, one great option is to visit riding stables. Luckily, there are plenty of these stables in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Benbrook Stables is a 70-acre facility that sits next to a gorgeous lake. Other options include the Chaparral Riding Stables and New Grounds Farms Equestrian Center, which are all conveniently located near Fort Worth. Options closer to Dallas include M-Bar-K Farms and Rocking M Stables. The other nice thing about these stables is that they offer a great place for all skill levels as well as adult and children’s lessons. Some of these stables even offer birthday parties. Others sell horses and supplies if you are looking to get started with your own horses. If you do have horses of your own, these stables also offer boarding.

You may want to consider Sanger, TX Horse real estate or even horse property for sale in Azle for the true equestrians.

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Family Guy Gets Texas All Wrong

Family Guy is currently in its ninth season. The show has become a cultural phenomenon watched in almost every major nation in the world. The show was canceled after its third season and again, briefly, in 2008. The TV show takes place in a fictional town in Rhode Island and follows the middle class Griffin family as they approach controversial topics and talk about current events and celebrities.

In Season 5 Episode 15, the baby of the family eats too many wafers and chugs red wine at a church service causing him to throw up. The members of the church immediately come to the conclusion that the baby, Stewie, is possessed by the devil.

The Griffin family flees Rhode Island to visit relatives in Texas. From this point in the episode clear until the end of the show, Family Guy constantly pokes fun by using stereotypes about Texas that paint Texans as a crude, unintelligent, and radical people.

On the way to Texas, Brian, the family’s dog, says “We’re going to Texas in search of religious tolerance? That’s going to be like getting Sneakers O’Toole to take his sneakers off.” While Texas is known for its over sized mega churches, the state is home to a growing number of Hindu, Sikhs, Buddhist and Muslim residents. In the year 2000 the US Census counted approximately 400,000 Muslims and 128,000 Jews in the state, the majority of whom live in the Dallas and Houston metro areas. 53.6% of the Texas population reported their religion as Protestant or Catholic in the 2000 Census. However, this hardly means that the state’s citizens are religiously intolerant.

When the family reaches Texas to stay with the mom’s (Lois) sister, they find the house is empty. It is at this point in the storyline that they meet the neighbors. The male neighbor introduces himself and his wife saying that she is a “homemaker” and “I am a queer chaser and beater”. Brian replies by telling Lois “…these Texans are socially backward and politically they are all stubborn as a mule.” Brian continues to claim that Texas is a bad place because it is a “red state full of right wing nut jobs.” Eventually Brian goes to a liquor store to purchase liquor where he is given a free gun. The liquor store employee explains to Brian that it is Texas state law to get a free gun with every liquor purchase to which Brian replies, “This place officially sucks worse than the WNBA.”

The Griffin’s two oldest kids, Meg and Chris, sneak into President George Bush’s ranch home in Crawford, TX on a dare from other kids. Inside the house there are pictures of President Bush and Ronald Reagan, President Bush and Saddam Hussein, President Bush and Osama Bin Laden and President Bush and the Devil. When the kids meet the President he gives them a can of beer and imparts a life lesson about “honesty, integrity and cold filtered draft beer.”

The final insult to Texans is when Peter goes out to brand a cow with his new found friends. Peter, the father, tells them he is mentally handicapped and could have never had this much fun in Rhode Island where he is from. The men angrily strap Peter to a homemade electric chair and one of the men says “…In Texas we execute the retarded.”

For renters who are looking to move into Lewisville, TX apartments, the show is a far cry from what can be expected from the community. The entire show is not an accurate depiction of the residents who live in Lewisville Apartments, or the rest of Texas for that matter. According to the Family Guy portrayal Texans are all idiotic have no tolerance or sense of culture. The show seems to focus on intolerance of sexuality, religion, mental ability and decry’s Texas’s protection of gun ownership rights and political affiliation. The reality is that Texas is more racially, religiously and culturally diverse than many other states in the USA. The people in Texas are kind, generous and understanding. The state has become a top destination for residents leaving other states as well as for immigrants moving to the United States for job opportunities.

Seth MacFarlane and the Family Guy writing staff should visit Texas and get a real picture of what the state is like if they ever decide to run another episode bashing Texas. Perhaps they should check out a UMoveFree review to get a better depiction of what Texas residents are like.

Nick Barber is a licensed real estate broker and the President/CEO of UMoveFree; one of the largest apartment finding firms in the multi-family industry. Visit UMoveFree.com for more information on Lewisville, TX Apartments. Need more information on Lewisville Apartments or want to see a UMoveFree Review?

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Texas Belt Buckle Selection for Texas Enthusiasts

Do you love Texas State, based in the US? If you like many things in this state, chances are that you love it too. There is a special way of showing your love for this part of North America, its roots and culture. This is none other than buying the Texas belt buckle. Indeed, a buckle is just a tiny accessory that would remind you of things you hold dear in Texas.

 

It is widely available and affordable online. That is why you are free to choose as many buckles as you possibly could. There are few guiding points you should know of and they include the following.

 

• The designs available – It is almost impossible to start imagining the jungle of pieces available online. When deciding on the most appropriate choice, consider first the construction materials. Most items are made of a particular metal totally. Therefore, you should decide whether you want pewter, gold, silver, sterling silver, brass, and so on. Do not ignore the fact the metal quality differs. If a buckle were made of very high quality metal, then its rates would also be high. The other factor to consider when thinking of design is the décor. Mostly, some have a perfectly round, oval or the Texas map shape. Next, consider the theme used to demonstrate each item as one of its kind. For instance, some items consist of the state’s flag and others have the armadillo image carrying a flag on its back or just an armadillo animal image with a star shape. There are some common logos too, such as the Houston Texans, Dallas cowboy star, University of Texas and several others. Additionally, you might have a special interest in music, sports, country lifestyle and so on. It is very easy to find a Texas belt buckle that describes what you like. If you want cowboy, then go for inspired designs and if you love hip-hip and other music genres, then go for them. Led is an amazing belt buckling design that applies modern, programming technology. There are special led styles that show the word “texas” on the display screen. When it comes to design, men and women have countless alternatives.

 

• Your own fashion tastes and preferences – As much as a buckle is just a small item, it would help create an impression of you. Therefore, you should take your time to look through what various websites have to offer. Let your current clothing and accessories collections guide you. Each buckle style contains a unique detail that it would add to your current collections.

 

• Your budget – Christmas 2010 is underway and you will have to spend in one way or another. In fact, this is a nice time to spoil your friends, family and yourself with new gifts. One of the main reasons why you rather buy a simple item such as a clasp is because it could help you spend wisely. Most high quality items range between ten and thirty dollars. At these affordable rates, you can give away a texas belt buckle this Christmas without feeling a punch.

G. Smitty is a writer who loves to discuss many topics ranging from gun belt buckle to professional basketball. Thanks for reading!

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The Horses Of Erath County- This Texas County Ain’t Horsin’ Around

When Texas seceded from the Union at the beginning of the Civil War, the new Confederate government now faced the task of participating in the war while still defending the Texas frontier from Indian attacks.

The Confederates actually tried several methods for maintaining order on the frontier. Their final attempt to deal with the Indian menace was the Frontier Organization, established in 1864, a militia of able-bodied male citizens who lived in frontier counties and were not otherwise serving the Confederate cause. The militia was purely defensive and had neither the manpower nor the leadership to mount offensives against marauding Indians. By 1864, the Indians were conducting large raids against forts and settlements all along the frontier.

The Ellison Springs Indian Fight was typical of frontier engagements during the Civil War. On August 8, 1864, a small force of about a dozen troopers intercepted about thirty Indians carrying blankets and bridles for the horses they were planning to steal from the whites. The Indians easily repelled the soldiers, killing three of them, and went on to steal fifty horses near, where else… Stephenville!

FOR TEXANS, THIS ISN’T HORSEPLAY

Though the possibility of Indian raids in Texas today is highly improbable, the number of horses that can be found in and around Stephenville, the county seat of Erath County, is steadily climbing.

Texas is recognized throughout the world as horse country. There are nearly one and a quarter million equines in Texas and we lead the nation in registered American Quarter Horses, Appaloosa’s, American Paint Horses and American Miniature Horses. We’re second only to California in Arabians. We have over twice as many American Quarter horses as #2 Oklahoma and over one and a half as many American Paints as California, second in that department. Fully 15% of the entire nation’s 6.9 million equines reside in Texas.

Want more? Major breed associations headquartered in Texas include the American Quarter Horse association, the National Cutting Horse Association, the American Miniature Horse Association, and the American Paint Horse Association. More national level horse shows are held in Texas than in any other state. Texas is home to five race tracks, three of which are very new Class 1 tracks.

Jan Anderson raises and shows Tennessee Walking Horses in Stephenville, says, “… there is a lot going on here with the horse industry….” Jan mentioned a Stephenville family by the name of Feltner who have raised a World Grand Champion Tennessee Walker and another, which has produced 6 world and reserve world champions. “I don’t think Stephenville, the City of Champions, is aware that we have championship Walking Horses right here in town. On Monday, we are headed back to the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration to compete on a national level and will be back Sept. 7th. This is one of the biggest horse shows the nation has, with thousands of entries and an attendance of approximately 35,000 people each evening for 10 days.”

ECONOMIC HORSE POWER!

According to The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in the United States, a study done by Barents Group, LLC for the American Horse Council, including recreation, showing, racing and other segments, the Texas Horse Industry Delivers $ 5.2 Billion dollars a year to the Texas economy. What’s more, the industry involves more than 7 million participants and includes nearly 2 million horse owners. As a whole, the industry has an annual impact on the U.S. economy of $ 112 billion and supports 1.4 million full-time jobs with approximately $ 1.9 million paid in taxes at each level. The median income of Texas horse-owning families is around $ 60,000 with 38% of households earning under $ 50,000 and 21% over $ 100,000.

Here are a few notable facts about the Texas horse industry, according to a Texas A&M equine study:

*Horseowners have nearly $ 15 billion invested in barns, towing vehicles, trailers, tack and related equipment and spend over $ 2 billion annually just to maintain their horses.

*In showing and racing alone, over 300,000 owners, family members and volunteers spend over $ 3 billion annually attending competitive events with over a quarter of a million horses.

*Annual cash receipts for horses bought and sold exceeds $ 400 million and are over twice the combined total for hogs, sheep and lambs and nearly twice the total receipts of Texas wheat.

*Over a quarter of a million households have billions invested in horses and horse-related equipment. Travel with Texas horses creates well over $ 3 billion in travel-related spending. The competitions and shows have a greater direct effect on the economic impact than horse racing as well as the recreational use of horses.

The Texas horse industry contributes $ 3 billion in direct economic impact to the state’s economy and generates close to $ 110 million in annual taxes according to the AHC study. The study also revealed that the industry supports over 96,000 Texas jobs . This study is the most comprehensive research document ever compiled on the American horse industry and highlights 15 breakout states, including Texas, that account for more than 51% of the U.S. horse population. In terms of total effect on the gross domestic product, California leads the way at $ 6.97 billion a year, followed by Texas at $ 5.23 billion and Florida at $ 5.15 billion.

The AHC study was commissioned by the American Horse Council Foundation with major funding support from the American Quarter Horse Association, The Jockey Club, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders’ Cup Limited, Keenland Association, American Paint Horse Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, U.S. Trotting Association, Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the U.S. Equestrian Federation. It confirms what folks in the Texas horse industry already knew, that this industry is a vital contributor to our state’s economy. Rob Werstler with the Texas Quarter Horse Association said, “Never before has the impact of our industry been so dramatically demonstrated.”

Key industry statistics and economic indicators in the report included:

* Total economic impact of $ 5.2 billion by activity:

* $ 848 million from Racing

* $ 1.9 billion from Showing

* $ 1.5 billion from Recreation

* $ 898 million from other activities

* Estimated number of horses in Texas: 979,000

* Estimated number of horses by activity:

* 104,000 in Racing

* 311,000 in Showing

* 340,400 in Recreation

* 222,600 in other activities

“This study paints a positive picture for our industry…,” said Dave Hooper, Executive Director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association .

ADDING TO AN ALREADY “STABLE” LOCAL ECONOMY

According to retired Erath County Extension Agent, Joe Pope, the Horse Industry in Erath County alone brings in over $ 7.6 MILLION dollars in ag-related income each year. Sales, training, boarding, breeding, shows, winnings, job creation, investments in barns and acreage…it all adds up and lots of money is changing hands as a result. Pope said, “The Stephenville Cattle Company does over $ 1-Million in horse sales annually.” There are an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 horses in Erath County.

Kathy Hawke of the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce adds, “Many people who visit The Chamber are looking specifically for information related to our Horse Industry…Most of the time, it’s parents wanting riding lessons for their kids but we get many inquiries regarding stalls as well.” She said that The Chamber has a rodeo packet which is distributed at rodeo events and it contains western stores, tack, ferriers, veterinarians, etc., and added, “the participants at these rodeo events have informed us of how grateful they are that The Chamber, as well as the promoters and the arenas themselves, care enough to cater to this need when they get to town.” Hawke added that her own uncle owns cutting horses in here in Texas while living and working a China-based corporation.

It all adds up to an industry with a multi-billion dollar impact on the economy that has a significant impact on the lives of many Texans, including those in and around Stephenville. Joe Bob Huddleston, Chairman of the Stephenville Chamber’s Agricultural Committee, says, “The horse industry has been apart of this community for a long time and because of its continued growth in our area, it now has some very deep roots that have made a significant impact on our local economy. Every year, thousands of visitors visit our community participating and attending various events related to the horse industry. With all this momentum, I foresee only continued growth as folks continue to visit, and move, to Erath County.”

JUST GOOD PROMOTIONAL HORSE SENSE

When people see emerging trends, they tend to sit up and take notice. According to Pope, Stephenville is home to some very world renown horse trainers as well, including Kobie Wood and Scot Jackson. With such international notoriety, these people wind up serving as local ambassadors for our region, bringing attention to what’s happening locally and ultimately doing their share to boost the local economy. Pope added that several of the county’s dairies have recently been converted into horse stalls and acreage.

This kind of attention cannot be overlooked from a marketing perspective. The wise local business should take a look at the large dollar amounts being generated by the local Horse Industry and do all they can to get in front of that market through sponsorship. I don’t know where the notion comes from that there’s a ‘Horse Dollar’ or a ‘Livestock Dollar’ or even an investment or entertainment dollar. Fact is, there’s just ONE dollar and we’re all competing for it. People who love horses also eat food, pump gas, wear clothes and stay in hotels so, the audience is right there, seated in rows. Businesses should be pursuing these equine markets for the ever-increasing number of eyes that will be staring at their brand. There’s a particular soft drink that was so dominant as a sponsor at the 2004 Olympics, you may not be allowed in if you’re sipping another beverage. That same attitude should belong to local businesses as well and the local Horse Industry is providing the audience.

HIGH ON HORSES

Stephenville, Texas just loves horses. They are simply a part of the local fabric around these parts. From My Friend Flicka, to Black Beauty, Silver to Mr. Ed, humankind has always had a special relationship with its equine friend. As John Jeremiah Sullivan writes in his eloquent treatise of the history of men and horses: “A person today who knows horses, really knows them, understands more about what it meant in the past to be human than the most knowledgeable historian.”

It’s common knowledge that horses make important contributions to the livelihood and well-being of people. According to a Report on the Texas Horse Industry, produced by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, over half of the respondents to the question posed regarding their reasons for horse ownership identified “quality of life” and “relaxation/stress management” among the main reasons for their involvement with horses. Half the respondents identified physical fitness as a reason for their involvement.

The Equine Science program at Tarleton State University in Stephenville occasionally receives donations of horses which will be used in the University’s breeding program and provide students with the opportunity for hands-on education in equine reproduction.

One such donation came from Jerome Hogan of Hico and Bernie Koerner of Stephenville. There were nine horses included in the recent donations and the foals from these mares will be used in future training programs. Dr. Don Henneke, Director of Tarleton’s Equine Science program, said the donation of well-bred mares from around the state enhances the University’s equine program and allows students the opportunity to work with quality animals.

“The support of people like Jerome and Bernie helps insure that our students will have good horses to work with in the future,” said Dr. Henneke.

Stephenville, Texas bills itself as the Cowboy Capital of the World and, being the #1-ranked dairy producing county in the state, where there are cows, there’s gotta be Cowboys. Where there are Cowboys, there must be horses. The 50,000 square foot Lone Star Arena hosts many horse-related events each year including the Flying Bella Rosa, Dal-Worth Appaloosa Horseshow, National Reined Cow Horse Competition, Best Horseman in the World and more.

NOT TO BEAT A DEAD HORSE BUT…

Well, there you have it. The Horse Industry in Stephenville, Texas and surrounding area is alive and kickin’. But what about the rest of the nation?

Personally, my lone experience with a horse as a boy in Illinois was quite anti-climatic. The ol’ sway-backed mare wandered over to the water trough and drank forever while I sat on her back, crying (Oh, I should mention I was about 6 years old at the time; a city boy from Chicago whose only experiences with animals were the Bears, the Bulls and the Cubs).

Throughout American history, there were few moments outside the home that were not shared between people and horses. One might say that we’ve been… stuck like glue! Horses provided us with transport, accompanied us into battle, and they were indispensable partners down on the farm, especially when agriculture accounted for the vast majority of economic output.

Even when they weren’t actually present, horses were rarely far from man’s consciousness. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the streets of America’s fast-growing cities were littered with piles of steaming horse manure as each urbanized animal produced up to 35 pounds a day. The average streetcar horse lived just 4 years and was often quite abused. Slipping on wet cobblestones could cause severe injury.

An injured or dead 1300 pound animal can cause quite a traffic jam. New York removed 15,000 dead horses from city streets in 1880 and Chicago carted away 9,202 as late as 1916.

Although not as serious a problem as manure and carcass removal, noise pollution was a constant annoyance. Benjamin Franklin complained of the “thundering of coaches, chariots, chaises, wagons, drays and the whole fraternity of noise” which assailed the ears of Philadelphians. Boston and New York both passed noise ordinances banning traffic from certain streets to buffer hospitals and legislative chambers. In 1866, the Atlantic Monthly described Broadway as clogged with “dead horses and vehicular entanglements,” and in that year the mistreatment of the urban horse led to the establishment of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. As late as the 1890s, one journalist noted that the sounds of traffic on busy New York streets made conversation nearly impossible.

Piles of pony poop and expired equines proved to be a fertile breeding ground for flies. The spread of infectious diseases were a much greater concern than odors and noise. By the turn of the century public health officials had largely accepted the bacterial theory of disease and had identified the fly as the main culprit. Street sweeping was now a major urban expense. It became increasingly obvious that the most effective way to eliminate the “typhoid fly” was to eliminate the horse.

NECESSITY: Mother of Invention

For all its supposed sophistication, life in the burgeoning city was a smelly, noisy breeding ground for life-threatening disease. I, myself, actually lived in a horse-filled Amish town called Bremen, Indiana for several years in the early 60’s. Buggies full of rosie-cheeked Amish children were everywhere and, trust me, horse pollution can be a very real concern around town.

For obvious reasons, the arrival of “the horseless carriage” was quite welcomed by many city-dwellers in the early 1900’s. The coming of the automobile dealt another large blow to the horse. A number of articles in popular periodicals repeated the argument by a writer in Munsey’s Magazine that “the horse has become unprofitable. He is too costly to buy and too costly to keep.”

Despite their incomparable dependability, it was society as a whole that was now saying “neigh” to the working class horse. But the horse did not disappear from the city scene overnight. It was more of a function-by-function phase-out. While horse-powered machines remained a manufacturing necessity until about 1850, they were largely replaced by other energy sources within a decade. The next duty of the urban horse to disappear was that of pulling streetcars. Their demise was very rapid, as between 1888 and 1892 almost every street railway in the U.S. was electrified.

In 1906, city buses replaced horse-drawn buses on Fifth Avenue, New York City. In 1912, New York, London, and Paris traffic counts all showed more cars than horses for the first time. By 1907, many professionals, including urban doctors, were doing business by way of the horseless carriage. Motorized cabs became commonplace around the same time. The drop in Model T prices that followed after Henry Ford opened the first assembly line plant in 1913, led to the massive adoption of cars by commuters.

Ford had introduced the $ 600 Model N in 1906. Deluged with orders, afterward, Ford was able to make deliveries of a hundred cars a day. Encouraged by the success of the Model N, Ford was determined to build an even better “car for the great multitude.” In 1908, the Model T sold for $ 825. The Model T Runabout sold for $ 575. By the time the Model T was withdrawn from production in 1927, its price had been reduced to $ 290 for the coupe, 15 million units had been sold, mass personal “automobility” had become a reality and the era of the horse was, for all intents and purposes, gone.

Although the industrialized world has dispensed with horses for daily work and transport, our nation’s history and culture are more bound to the horse than to any other animal. Today, for many, the horse lives only on the margins of human society.

Not so in Erath County, Texas. Though horses seemingly have no more room to roam, what animal standing alone in a field has the unique ability to rekindle such age-old affections that lie deep within the breast of most city-dwellers?

Only a horse, of course.

As Joe Pope said about owning horses, with a knowing smile on his face, “It’s romantic. Purely romantic.”

Michael Tummillo was the Communications Director for the Award-Winning Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, Stephenville, Texas for 5 years before accepting his current position as a Workplace Chaplain. You may enjoy his new website, [http://www.YourTown4Jesus.com]

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