The Bold and Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse
The Bold and the Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse” was a previous exhibit that featured twelve women who made a tremendous impact on the American Quarter Horse – as an association and a breed. Some were breeders, some were owners and competitors, and others were chroniclers and artists who recorded not only history but life at the time. All were leaders and visionaries, and each left their mark on the American Quarter Horse. Their efforts opened the doors to others and made it possible for the lifestyle to exist in the industry.
The women included in the exhibit were by no means the only trailblazers. There are many unsung heroes whose dreams and sacrifices created the American Quarter Horse of today. Sharon Ralls Lemon, an American author, said:
“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.”
Her quote defines the focus of “The Bold and the Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse” exhibit. These visionary women embody the elements of grace, beauty, spirit and fire.
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In this day and age, most people change jobs an average of seven times during their careers. Betty Nix defied the odds, working for the American Quarter Horse Association for 40 years. June 30, 1992 marked the end of 40 devoted years of service by AQHA’s Administrative Assistant.
Throughout her employment, Betty became a highly respected figurehead – a person people knew or knew of, and a “mother” to the membership and staff. Her motherly ways and “Mother Nix” nickname stemmed from her caring attitude and concern for people’s feelings.
For four decades Betty’s job was just that – taking care of customer demands, requests, complaints and problems. “I made my name out there by handling a lot of calls from irate customers. It was a challenge to help those people, but I knew how they felt about some things. I always tried to make them understand our policies. A lot of it was communication and giving them that personal touch. When I helped someone and solved the problem, it made me happy.”
Making sure that AQHA employees continued to give customers the service they deserve was the advice Betty left behind. “If you treat people right, the Association will go a long way,” she said.
Betty’s usefulness to AQHA did not end with that assignment. Out of necessity, she cross trained and became proficient at the jobs of other employees so she could pick up the slack when someone was absent. In this manner, she was beginning to lay the groundwork for the important role she would play in the Association’s future. Her willingness to handle any job would eventually make her an ideal person to supervise other employees.
Although some jobs were better than others, Betty said she always tried to make the best out of every situation. “That is what I’ve tried to tell myself, and I tried to instill that in the girls who worked for me. One of my bosses at Garlock told me that if you have a job that you don’t like, try to make a game out of it and you’ll end up enjoying it. I never forgot that.”
As Betty’s job responsibilities gre, so did her position at the Association. In time, the soft-spoken woman found herself as secretary to former Executive Secretary Howard Linger for a short while. She was then promoted to Administrative Assistant and cultivated a reputation as a trouble-shooter for problem files.
She made a lot of friends through her job at AQHA. Betty may no longer be sitting behind a desk at the AQHA office, but she is still there in the hearts of many of her friends and coworkers.
“It’s a nice feeling when I stop and think about it. I’ve had to work hard over the years, but I loved it. I enjoyed coming to work. The gray hairs and wrinkles don’t bother me, I feel good. Maybe it doesn’t take a lot to please me, I don’t know. But I think it does. AQHA was really good to me.”
Want to learn more about Betty Nix? Purchase a "The Bold & Beautiful: Trailblazing Women of the American Quarter Horse" companion book from the museum to learn more about the stories and history of the 12 women in the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.