Honors, Innovation and Good Business

AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines shares insight on the AQHA Executive Committee’s meetings held July 18-21 in Amarillo.

American Quarter Horse Association

As always, thank you for trusting me and your dedicated AQHA leadership team to steer our great Association into a bright future.

Last week was a busy week of business and celebration in Amarillo, as the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame unveiled and dedicated the cases of artifacts for this year’s inductees. In addition, the AQHA Executive Committee team pulled quadruple duty with its summer meeting, including joint meetings with the Foundation Council, the Investment Oversight Committee and finishing up with a Latin American Summit planning session with key leadership from Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay – all in a good week’s work.

Tuesday, July 19, was another emotional evening of recognition of the great humans and horses that have made such an impact on the American Quarter Horse breed and our industry. The curtain was dropped from the display cases, revealing the artifacts representing the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016. A wonderful banquet highlighted the accomplishments of these great individuals.

In a meeting with our Foundation Council the next morning, I reflected on the words of the great college basketball coach Jimmy Valvano back in 1993. At the time, he was battling cancer and he said these words at the ESPY awards that today still resonate in my mind:

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

The Hall of Fame banquet was that special, and for me, produced one of those great days.

From a business standpoint, several topics were discussed this week. Below is an overview:

  • Continued to make quality technical enhancements and improvements in programming, along with website improvements to expand AQHA business and services and improve customer service in the future.
  • Evaluating the dynamic growth of various parts of the equine industry focusing on speed events.
  • Developed a crisis communications team for AQHA to be prepared for any situation to protect our members and horses.
  • Working with the United States Equestrian Federation and the American Association of Equine Practitioners to develop recommendations for an onsite biosecurity plan at major events.
  • Reviewed recent changes within the AQHA publications department. A new sales team has been fully formed and strategy for developing revived circulation using the new Ranch Horse Journal and Performance Horse Journal is underway.
  • Reviewed Awards Recognition Concepts, an AQHA subsidiary. We are thrilled in the addition of new clients that are generating new revenue through ARC.
  • Discussed ideas for how to strengthen and grow the Bank of America Challenge Championships, which are scheduled for October 29 at the Los Alamitos Race Course in Los Alamitos, California.
  • Approved and moving forward with affiliate workshops in 2017.
  • Discussed tentative education topics for the 2017 AQHA Convention, including microchipping advantages and modern technologies for horse health. Other topics are under review.
  • Approved edits that better explain the rules of ranch riding.
  • Worked with Latin American leadership to plan out a Latin American Summit and judges training for February 2017.  Various strategies for Latin America member engagement were also discussed.

As always, thank you for trusting me and your dedicated AQHA leadership team to steer our great Association into a bright future.