Michigan Appaloosa Horse Association Celebrates 50 Years

By Sharon Clark

Back in the late 1950’s, it seems that almost simultaneously, the Mel Marvin family and the Robert Hoffman family asked the Appaloosa Horse Club for names and addresses of Michigan owners of registered Appaloosas with the idea of forming a club to organize activities and promote the Appaloosa breed.

A meeting was set up for January 1958 at the Lansing Civic Center where Martin Taylor, of Leslie, a director of the Michigan Association of Western Horse Clubs, offered his assistance in getting the association started. It was at this meeting that Robert Hoffman, of Leslie, was elected as the first President of the Michigan Appaloosa Horse Association with John Mende, of Livonia, voted in as Vice President. Wayne Disley, of Jackson, was appointed Secretary-Treasurer. The selection of the club name, “Michigan Appaloosa Horse Association” was also made at this historic meeting.

Martin Taylor announced that the Michigan Association of Western Horse Clubs wished to offer the new club two breed classes at their State Show. One halter class and one pleasure class were decided upon and with that the MApHA had its first show circuit.

Such was the beginning of the Michigan Appaloosa Horse Association which will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in January 2008. Styles, shows, and even the horses have changed some over the years, but not the enthusiasm of the members. Some of those original members are still with us while, sadly, some are not. We’ve had members who stayed with us for quite a while and lots of new ones who’ve joined us along the way.

Currently, the MApHA has a membership roster of 266 members. Many of them are actively showing while others prefer to enjoy other venues with their Appaloosas. The club currently hosts or co-hosts four shows during the summer as well as holding the MI Appaloosa Breeders Futurity. We also have a promotional booth at the MI Stallion Expo and Trade Show held at the Michigan State University Pavilion every March where we offer free magazines, literature and hold a yearling Appaloosa gelding raffle.

Plans are currently underway for several different ways of celebrating this milestone anniversary. To learn more about the Michigan Appaloosa Horse Association and its many activities, you can check out the club website at for more information.

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