A Note From Your AQHA President

Around the World with AQHA President Sandy Arledge

In a new blog, AQHA’s newest president Sandy Arledge shares insight on the workings of the Association and executive committee.

The American Quarter Horse Association

AQHA’s newest president Sandy Arledge shares insight on the workings of the Association and executive committee. (Journal photo)

It was such an honor to be elected as your 2016 AQHA president at this year’s AQHA Convention in Las Vegas. As an executive committee, we are determined to be more transparent and involved with our membership. One of my top priorities for this year is to improve communication. We must be able to effectively communicate with our breeders, exhibitors, racing enthusiasts, recreational riders and members at large.

With that being said, I am excited to start blogging during my term as president. The goal of this blog is to keep you informed with the happenings and travels of your AQHA president and give you the insight into the workings of your Association and executive committee. 

First Meeting as the 2016-17 AQHA Executive Committee
Our first AQHA Executive Committee meeting of the year was held at the end of the convention and served to introduce new member Butch Wise of El Reno, Oklahoma, to the group. Decisions that were made by committees at the convention were not discussed at this first meeting, as time is needed to digest all the happenings and discussions that were held over the course of the committee meetings. There is a lot that happens at each convention in a short amount of time, and decisions that affect our membership must be made after due deliberation. Therefore, we wait to make the decisions during the April Executive Committee meeting in Amarillo.

Photo Shoot with Ford Motor Co.
Each year, Ford Motor Co. holds a photo shoot with the new president of AQHA to use in the company’s advertising program. This year, the shoot was held at the end of March near my home in Southern California. I was joined by AQHA staff members Lauren Walsh, Tim Archer, Sarah Davisson and Leman Wall, as well as members of the Ford advertising team and the talented photographer Dan Dry. We worked from before sun-up to after dark; who knew being a model was so much work! It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the beautiful new F-150 platinum pickup in the beautiful setting of Southern California. I can’t wait to hear your feedback about the ads and the fancy F-150. Ford has been a proud partner for 12 years. I’ve driven a Ford Explorer since they first came out in 1991 and couldn’t be happier with the ride!

AQHA Meet & Greet and the “Bold and Beautiful”
On Friday, April 15, I was privileged to engage in a “Meet and Greet” opportunity with our wonderful, dedicated staff at the AQHA office in Amarillo. As the more than 250 employees of AQHA came to the coffee shop to enjoy refreshments, I was privileged to meet each one and learn in which department they work. You, the membership, have dedicated and hardworking employees who spend countless hours in our building working on the day-to-day business of the Association so that your business can be handled in a timely and efficient manner. Please, take the time to thank the employees who serve at AQHA. We are lucky to have them!

That night, we greeted a number of the women featured in the “Bold and Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse” exhibit at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum. These women led the way in the history of women in leadership positions in the Association, and each are one of the 12 women who grace the walls as Hall of Fame inductees. The stories they and their families told were inspirational! That being said ­– don’t forget to nominate deserving people and horses for consideration as Hall of Fame candidates. There are so many deserving people and horses that should be given the opportunity to be selected. Read the criteria and download the nomination forms at www.aqha.com/forms.  

AQHA Level 1 Championships
Next came the Farnam Central AQHA Level 1 Championships at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. There, at the first of three AQHA Level 1 Championships, 96 Level 1 and B&W Rookie champions were crowned. The show was exceptionally well received, with kudos going to the staff and volunteers who made this show of nearly 1,700 entries a success.

Then, on to the AQHA West Level 1 Championships, which were held in the beautiful South Point Arena complex in Las Vegas. Another very successful Level 1 show was enthusiastically received by the more than 1,676 entries, who welcomed the opportunity to show in a professionally planned and operated championship show in a world-class facility. Gold, silver and bronze trophies were awarded in the classes held for Level 1 exhibitors in amateur, Select, 14-18 and 13-&-Under youth divisions, as well as youth and amateur B&W Rookie classes. Several told me that this was their first AQHA-approved show, but that it wouldn’t be their last!

From there, I headed straight back to Amarillo for the April Executive Committee meeting, which will be the topic of my upcoming blog in May.

Again, thank you for the privilege of serving as your AQHA president. Stay tuned to www.aqha.com for more blog posts of my adventures as your president!