I Am AQHA Proud

A well-timed reminder arrived as I was working on the October America’s Horse.

A well-timed reminder arrived as I was working on the October America’s Horse.

America's Horse for member of the American Quarter Horse AssociationI know this sounds corny, but I remember being breath-taken the first time I walked into the AQHA Headquarters in Amarillo. To get to the front doors, you have to pass a bronze statue of Wimpy P-1, and it was hard not to linger there, reading the historical marker about his legacy and AQHA’s beginnings.

Then, as you enter, you’ll see doormats custom-printed with “American Quarter Horse Association” and an image of the famous Mixer horse used as AQHA’s logo. Doorknobs, likewise, are engraved with the same.

To me, these details are such an indication of pride, not unlike the super-fans who plaster their team colors and logos on every imaginable surface. Although I feign a little interest when football season rolls around, I’m not the type to go nuts over my alma mater’s team. But Quarter Horses? Let’s go crazy.

As you stroll through the hallways of the AQHA offices, you pass the coolest stuff. Photos of all the Superhorses from the AQHA World Championship Show that bring on “Oooh, I remember him!” moments. Incredible artwork, including the Mixer horse – the one whose print hangs in the bedroom of just about every horse-crazy kid in the world.

I remember the first time I met Jim Jennings, the now-retired executive director who was responsible for The American Quarter Horse Journal and America’s Horse for many years. I was one of those kids who knew when to start looking for the Journal in the mailbox each month, and on the happy day that it came, I always loved reading what Jim had to say.

Suffice to say, AQHA Headquarters is a cool place. But as with anything that you see on a regular basis, sometimes the “cool factor” slips away. I wonder about the people who work at Mount Rushmore’s tourist center or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Do they become blinded to the wonder around them, just because they see it every day?

While I was working on the October America’s Horse, I had a wonderfully refreshing conversation with an AQHA member from North Dakota who had never been to our headquarters in Amarillo.

Kaye Burian is a talented artist who received the prestigious Steel Dust Artists Award in AQHA’s ongoing America’s Horse in Art Show & Sale. She came to Amarillo for the show’s opening August 17, and here’s what she said:

“We got a private tour of the AQHA office building, and it was about two and a half hours long. We saw how they registered the horses, and the different things that go into it. … I was just overwhelmed by the fact that so much goes on in the AQHA building, and I really enjoyed seeing all the art that you have hanging.

Mr. Treadway (AQHA’s executive vice president) welcomed us to the building and to Texas, and that was definitely a highlight in meeting him.”

In her voice, I heard some of the wonder that I had experienced, too. And then the little voice inside my head whispered: Don’t take this for granted.

It’s so true … just because I’ve walked past that statue of Wimpy a thousand times or worked with Jim Jennings and the other talented AQHA writers and editors on a million different projects … each one is still a privilege. Being part of an Association that I’ve admired all my life is truly a blessing. And now that I’m seeing it from the inside, even though the sense of awe may have faded, I get a better view of the good work and the good people who are part of AQHA.

The Association is working now on a marketing campaign titled “Be AQHA Proud.” I am, and I’ve got good reason to be. I hope our members, too, feel a sense of inclusion and pride. You’ve got good reason to, as well.

You betcha there’s pride involved in being an AQHA member. There are also great discounts from AQHA corporate partners, plus access to AQHA programs and events. And, my personal favorite: You’ll get 10 issues a year of America’s Horse magazine, the exclusive AQHA members magazine. Here’s a look at what’s in the October issue:

  • Kaye’s artwork – featured on the cover – is also explored inside the magazine. Find out where she draws her inspiration from.
  • Horseman Bryan Neubert explains why it’s not a bad thing to let your horse make mistakes. In fact, it’s an essential part of the learning process. As he discusses this theory, he also explains how to use it to fix common problems, like horses who snatch at bites of grass while you’re riding.
  • A down-under dinner theater goes over the top, using American Quarter Horses to tell Australia’s story.
  • The Great American Horse Drive saw more than 400 horses herded 60 miles through Colorado, and American Quarter Horses provided much of the horsepower.

America’s Horse also offers a digital edition, for members on the move who prefer to read on a tablet or other device. Simply log in at www.aqhamembers.com. However you choose to receive the magazine, we hope you enjoy reading about your fellow AQHA members and our favorite breed of horse. Let’s all stay AQHA proud!

Holly Clanahan is editor of America’s Horse magazine, an AQHA life member and a nearly lifelong American Quarter Horse owner. All AQHA members have an open invitation to tour the AQHA Headquarters in Amarillo. Just call (806) 376-4811 to make arrangements.


Author: holly

Editor, America's Horse magazine

3 thoughts on “I Am AQHA Proud”

  1. I too remember entering the AQHA Headquarters for the first time, and this was the old headquarters where registration records were kept on paper. I was a little girl from Pennsylvania in Amarillo with my family on vacation, and I was so incredibly proud and amazed when the staff pulled the registration card for my new yearling 4-H filly from a large rotating tray, and laid that card in my hands. Since then I have bred, raised, trained, and shown many good Foundation type horses from that filly’s line, including ROM Performance and an AQHA Open Superior All-Around. But of late I am not so proud of some of the things that AQHA stands for, most particularly its support of slaughter as an acceptable method for dealing with so-called “unwanted” horses. Slaughtering any horse, but especially one who dedicated his or her entire life to serve humans, is inhumane. There has to be another way, and only when AQHA finds it and drops slaughter from its list of acceptable “disposal” methods, will I again be able to be proud of the AQHA.

    (also posted to Facebook)

  2. When I was 13yo, I won an essay contest offered by the AQHYA (then it was still the AJQHA). I was one of three youth flown to Amarillo, Texas with expenses paid by AQHA to “fill the shoes” of Youth Advisor Heath Miller (who was also originally from Illinois) for a couple of days.

    I know exactly what it feels like to walk past the bronzes at AQHA Headquarters and feel like you are a part of something greater. I am proud to breed a select few AQHA foals each year and I try to give back to youth through my lesson program and camps. The support and encouragement that I received for my youth involvement with AQHA over the years was life changing.

  3. Ten or so years ago, as a middle-aged adult I started riding lessons, and four years ago bought my registered, foundation, line-bred Skipper W. New to this I read all about his ancestors and was very proud of where he came from. Then, I was introduced to the underworld of the horse life, and like Marybeth states, not so proud and I let my membership expire. When AQHA stops its’ support of horse slaughter I may come back. The breeding frenzy this association promotes ends in horror for many of these wonderful quarterhorses at the slaughter house.

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