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Youth in Action: AQHYA at Convention

2014 AQHYA President Austin Halvorson talks about participating in the 2014 AQHA Convention.

By Becky Newell
The American Quarter Horse Journal
March 10, 2014

AQHYA President Austin Halvorson

2014 AQHYA President Austin Halvorson of Guthrie, Oklahoma at the 2014 AQHA Convention in New Orleans. (Credit: Journal

This is Austin Halvorson’s second year to attend the AQHA convention. But this year, the convention is more important to this 17-year-old because he is the American Quarter Horse Youth Association president, which means he is a member of the AQHA Youth Activities Committee.

“I get to be much more active and it’s really exciting on that front,” said the high school senior from Guthrie, Oklahoma. “Last year, I really enjoyed getting to meet everyone.”

The Youth Activities Committee plays a big part in almost anything at AQHA that has to do with youth.

“The committee plans everything from the Youth Excellence Seminar to the Youth World,” Austin explains. “That can consist of long-term plans that would sometimes require making rule-change recommendations to the AQHA Board of Directors.”

Austin says that at its meeting at convention, the committee will also tweak event plans to fit the themes for each event.

The 2014 YES event will be held in conjunction this summer with the 2014 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup in July in College Station, Texas. YES is a youth leadership seminar that consists of motivational speakers, networking and team-building exercises, as well as AQHYA director and officer elections.

Austin, who will turn 18 in April and graduate from high school in May, has his sights set on a business degree from either Texas A&M University, the University of Arkansas or Westminster College in Missouri.

In the meantime, he’s focused on doing his best to fulfill his role as president of the largest equine breed youth organization in the world.

“Being at convention is great because you get to put the faces with the names that you hear about all the time,” he adds. “It’s a great time for the youth to be seen and to get to see how things are done. We like to be here to show the Association’s leaders that we care about the horse and the direction the Association is headed.”

The youth constituency is represented at the 2014 AQHA Convention by Austin, AQHYA Past President Mark Mowbray, Paige Wacker, Phillip Alden, Kalee McCann, Mary Claire Cornett and Ashley Anderson. They are accompanied by AQHA Manager of AQHYA and Youth Development Robin Alden. 

Because opportunities abound for horse-interested kids, the AQHYA blog, Youth in Action, captures those adventures. Learn more about the endless prospects for young horsemen through AQHYA at www.aqha.com/youth-in-action.