On the International Trail

Visiting Our Neighbors to the North

Here are a few things AQHA’s Sierra Kane learned ‘a-boot’ Canada!

AQHA Manager of International Activities Sierra Kane

AQHA Chief International and Foundation Officer Anna Morrison and AQHA Manager of International Activities Sierra Kane fresh off the plane in Canada.

Howdy! It is a pleasure to be serving as AQHA’s new manager of international activities and represent our international members’ voices from around the globe here at AQHA Headquarters in Amarillo. In this position, I hope to help as many international members as I can by managing business plan funds and organizing the newly rebranded educational marketplace program. In this position, I also have the unique opportunity to travel around the world and meet our members and affiliate leadership face-to-face! I’m excited to begin these travels, and I look forward to supporting our international members by addressing their concerns and questions with clarity and transparency.

That said, I was able to kick-off my international travels with AQHA earlier in January by visiting our neighbors to the North – Canada! AQHA Chief International and Foundation Officer Anna Morrison and I had the great pleasure to visit the Canada Quarter Horse Association. We attended CQHA’s annual general meeting to review 2017 at a glance. We also were able to attend the Quarter Horse Association of Alberta’s annual meeting and awards ceremony.

In all of my international travels, either for work or pleasure, I always jot down a few thing that stand out to me about the country or people I’m visiting. Here are a few ‘take-aways’ I had while in Canada!

1.  ‘Canada cold’ is cold on another level.

The day before Anna and I landed, I received a message from Wayne Burwash, CQHA’s president. He jokingly wrote to me, “It is -25 degrees Celsius (around 10 below zero Fahrenheit) here this morning so bring your heavy coat! The weather will be warmer on the weekend!” How much warmer can it get in Canada in January though? I had to chuckle to myself thinking about what a weather shock I was about to experience, especially coming from Texas where the weather is quite agreeable. That first burst of cold air off the plane was memorable to say the least!

2.  Canada is massive.

While I was an amateur riding in the California circuit, it always seemed like a trek to get to certain shows around the state. Why couldn’t they be closer? After hearing our CQHA members’ driving stories in Canada, however, I’ll never complain again! Our Canadian members show their grit and determination by driving upwards of 20 or more hours to get to some horse shows. This is no wonder considering Canada is the second largest country in the world, coming in behind Russia.

3.  Horse people are horse people!

Prior to this trip, I had little experience with Canada or Canadians. I was so pleasantly surprised to realize just how similar we all were, even though we hailed from different places, had different upbringings and spoke in different ways. While these differences were present, they melted away when we all started talking about our love for the American Quarter Horse. I am excited to continue to connect with our members around the globe in this way and learn about why they love their American Quarter Horse(s) just as much as I do!