The Time to Ride Challenge—a grassroots competition offering $100,000 cash and prizes to stables, clubs, and businesses that introduce new people to horses—has reached 20,107 newcomers as of Aug. 26, marking a 31% increase over this point in 2014.

The challenge began May 30 and continues through Sept. 30 nationwide.

Preliminary survey results show that the typical event attendee has ridden or interacted with a horse one to three times in the past three years, indicating they are interested but not regularly involved with horses. “Newcomers” enjoy a fun, safe, entry-level horse experience and, following the event, are provided with further opportunities to take riding lessons, attend events, and otherwise become more involved in the horse industry.

Challenge hosts providing the horse experiences are often riding stables and instructors, but also include clubs such as 4-H and regional organizations, therapeutic riding stables, rescues, camps, retail stores, and veterinarians.

“We are thrilled with these preliminary numbers in the 2015 challenge,” stated Patti Colbert, Time to Ride spokeswoman. “We’re truly proud of the stables and providers who are working so hard to share their horses with new people, grow their businesses, and welcome new participation in our industry.”

Free horse events open to the public are taking place through Sept. 30. Time to Ride encourages horse owners and riders to spread the word to their friends who are interested in finding a stable nearby. A public event listing is available at www.timetoride.com<