The New Kid on the Block

AQHYA Region 5 Director Sloane Vogt of Berlin, Pennsylvania, shares about her YES experience with AQHYA First Vice President McKenzie Merritt.

American Quarter Horse Youth Association

AQHYA First Vice president McKenzie Merritt catches up with AQHYA Region 5 Director Sloane Vogt.

Every year at the Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar, American Quarter Horse Youth Association members elect the new national officers and regional directors for AQHYA for the upcoming year. Each of the leadership team candidates complete an application, workbook covering AQHA history and AQHYA programs, proceed through an interview process, campaign with AQHYA members, deliver a prepared speech, and answer an impromptu question. 

This year, we elected five national officers and 13 regional directors to the 2016-17 leadership team. Six of the regional directors this year are first-time directors. After YES, I was able to interview three of them about their reason for joining our “block” as a leadership team and what they plan to accomplish throughout the next year. 

I was able to meet up with another new Region 5 director, Sloane Vogt of Berlin, Pennsylvania. She shares her YES experience and her motivation to run for an AQHYA leadership position.  

What motivated you to run for a leadership position? I found my motivation to run for a leadership position mostly from attending the YES seminar. The past two years that I went to YES, I truly had the time of my life. I attended with very little knowledge of AQHYA and left with a new view on what the association had to offer to its members. As amazed as I was, it was then that I realized that I also wanted to share what the Association could do. Not only that, but the people I met at YES were all amazing. I never left without a new lifelong friend. I realized that running for a regional director position would facilitate my abilities to share my experiences with various youth members so they can also experience AQHYA to its fullest potential. 

What are some of your goals for this year? One of my main goals is to promote the educational programs that AQHA and AQHYA offer. Many members go through their showing careers without any idea that such programs like Young Horse Development and Take Me Riding even exist. I firmly believe that all of the programs provided by the Association benefit each and every member and teach them many valuable skills. I also plan to push for participation among the youth members to help the Association grow as a whole. Members who choose to participate will mature and learn leadership skills that will benefit them later in life and push them to succeed.                                                            

What are you most excited for in your position? I am mostly excited for all the opportunities that are now available to me. I will get to learn so much beyond what a textbook at school will be able to teach me, and I will meet AQHYA members just like me from around the world. 

Who inspired and supported you to run for this position?
My main inspiration was my family. Mostly all of my family members are business owners and great leaders. They set an example of who I strive to be one day, and by becoming a director I am one step closer to becoming as amazing as them. They have supported me through all my traveling and work that it took to get this position. 

What was your favorite part about YES this year?
It is extremely difficult to pick just one favorite part about YES this year. However, I think I would have to say it was all of the entertaining games that we played with the group. I have never attended a seminar where most everyone was willing to embarrass themselves along the side of their peers. I personally think that this was the greatest thing ever! 

What do you think is the most beneficial lesson that a youth takes away from YES?
All the knowledge that they receive about AQHYA. Throughout the seminar each individual learns that AQHYA is not just simply about showing alone. It offers us so much more than just the love of the American Quarter Horse.


About AQHYA Officers and Directors
AQHYA national officers and regional directors play a major role in the youth association by planning events, participating in community service projects and spreading the word about American Quarter Horses, youth activities and AQHYA. They also represent AQHYA throughout the year at functions and events nationwide.

Each of AQHYA’s 11 regions can elect three directors at the Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar. From those directors, delegates elect five national officers.

Throughout the year, the officers and directors network with horse enthusiasts throughout the industry to ensure a successful future for the industry. AQHYA officers and directors set goals to grow youth involvement in every aspect of the equine world, uphold the integrity of the breed and work toward ensuring the future of the industry. 

AQHYA national officers and regional directors have a unique opportunity to develop leadership skills to enhance their AQHYA experience and all of their future endeavors. All youth are encouraged to get involved.


For more information on the regional directors and five national officers for the 2016-17 term, visit