The Friday session began with a review of the strategy session conducted during the March meeting and an update on “key initiatives” that were assigned to working groups. As a reminder, the key initiatives included registration, an overall assessment of programs, an on-line initiative, a study of the show structure and development of a regional club toolkit. Some of the work is in progress, but some recommendations were made at this meeting.
Registration topics that will become specific recommendations for the board to consider in March, 2015, include a more streamlined process to register (or “re-register”) Appaloosas from outside the U.S. There are also ideas about how to make the domestic process easier and more efficient. Among the important goals relating to registration are the eventual transition to digital storage of records and making more of the registration steps available electronically. Items being explored, but with no definite recommendations, include hardship registration of unsprayed mares, additions to the approved outcross category (such as Half-Arabian or others), re-registration of over-height POA’s, etc.
The review of overall programs at this stage focused on Trail and Distance, Saddle Log, ACAAP, World Sale, Stallion Service Auction and the World Show Incentive Classes. The general consensus seemed to be that there is untapped potential for regional clubs to host approved trail rides as a way to build community and possibly attract new people to the breed and our organization. Enrollment and record-keeping for Saddle Log are available on-line. Consideration will be given to a proposal to hold the Appaloosa National Championship Endurance Ride in conjunction with the Arabian Horse Association’s endurance championship. Some of the long-standing policies regarding participation in sponsored rides will be addressed in March. A transition has already begun to make the Stallion Service Auction and a nominations process become the primary funding sources for the World Show Incentive Classes. Various sale options such as online auctions and “sponsored” private treaty sales at the National and/or World Shows are also being planned.
Several “How-To” manuals and other information for regional clubs are now available on the ApHC website. Some suggestions were made at the meeting about ways for clubs to engage more directly with new members, new and potential horse owners and partner with not-necessarily-horse-related organizations. And, a working group will be coming to the board at the March meeting to offer recommendations regarding the show structure, point system, judging requirements, etc.
A variety of motions from the March board meeting were brought forward for a second vote, as required for ApHC rule changes. Several involved minor adjustments, corrections or clarifications to current rules, especially pertaining to class guidelines, show procedures and judging. An item which has been of interest to ApHC members and regional club show managers is the addition of Performance Halter classes, Green Western Riding and Green Trail, Ranch Horse Pleasure and Ranch Horse Trail. National points in weanling halter class will now be accumulated for year-end awards. The Figure Eight Stake Race was added to the list of Non-Pro Walk-Trot classes. The “limited participation” membership category was eliminated. The Challenged Horsemen and Appaloosa Competitions for Independent and Supported Exhibitors (CHAPS) program was approved, giving show managers the opportunity to add these classes to approved shows or to conduct them as a stand-alone event.
The Equine Land Conservation Resource organization was designated a “Sustainability Partner” of the ApHC. ELCR works with individuals and organizations to provide information, tools, templates and technical assistance to help them keep lands open for horses in their communities.
Also designated as a partner/sponsor of the ApHC is a new program, Ride Alert, which will be added to the member benefits menu. It’s an identification and emergency response system for horses and people. ApHC members will be able to enroll in the program and receive a Ride Alert wristband for themselves and a bridle/halter tag for their horse. Stay tuned for more details.
A special guest at the meeting was Sydney Knott, President/CEO of Horses4Heroes, a Las Vegas-based, national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth, adults and families and enriching their lives through deeply discounted recreational, instruction and morale-boosting health and wellness programs that emphasize fun and safe activities with horses. The H4H network includes more than 300 facilities across the U.S. and Canada. Through programs like Operation Free Ride, members have given thousands of free horseback rides and have introduced a brand new audience to the world of horses. ApHC members and regional clubs may want to check out ways to get involved. Membership is free for all active duty service members, Veterans, caregivers, survivors, First Responders and their families. For more information, visit www.horses4heroes.org.
The ApHC Board will meet in early January by teleconference to swear in Zone A directors who were automatically re-elected by virtue of uncontested positions. The next regular, in-person meeting will be In Moscow, March 19-21. A complete set of motions from the Las Vegas meeting will be posted soon.
NOTES FROM BREAKOUT GROUP DISCUSSIONS
In addition to normal business at the ApHC Board of Directors meeting in Las Vegas, members and guests, along with directors and staff held two sessions of informal discussion and “brainstorming.” One session featured two groups to cover the broad topics of registration/breeding and shows. There were many ideas and suggestions, several of which will be studied more closely and developed into formal recommendations. For example, there was discussion about the potential for Eastern and Western Youth/Non-Pro Championships, a “back-to-basics” (no bling) show, online registration, international registration options, procedures for leasing horses, the market for weanlings and online sales.
A second exercise focused on ways to define and communicate “value” as it relates to ApHC membership. Some of that discussion focused on ways to save time and money, both for members and the organization. Examples included a rebate or credit when a horse is advanced from “N” to “Regular” within a relatively short time period after being issued a Performance Permit, options for mailing registration papers, an ApHC-sponsored online sale with a Spanish language option, an online fund-raising campaign, a better system to track and communicate with new members and owners, and more online videos featuring under-utilized ApHC programs. Groups also got ultra creative in an exercise to develop print ads that communicate membership value and breed attributes.