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AHA President's Bulletin
December 2007

Dear AHA Members,

Convention 2007 in Tulsa will go down in the history of the Arabian Horse Association as one filled with anticipation of things to come, exciting new ventures for the Association, and a sense of camaraderie as we confront our future and face the challenges we have ahead of us. I found the Convention to be energizing and reaffirming that we know where we are going as an Association, and, like others, I witnessed the democratic process we have in place to address major issues. I came away from the Convention with a sense of pride in the progress we have made and are continuing to make. I want to tell you about several important developments in a recap of the Convention. If you would like to see and hear my President's "State of the Association" Address click here.

A Visit to Our New Home for the U.S. Nationals

On Friday night of Convention, most of the delegates boarded buses with eager anticipation about seeing the Tulsa Expo Center, the home of the U.S. Nationals next year. I don't think anyone was disappointed. The buses circled the grounds with guides pointing out various facilities, work arenas and stabling. The buses stopped periodically and we were able to view the various barns and arenas. Following the tour, delegates were treated to an evening of great food, beverages and a very enjoyable live band in the Pavilion show arena. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive about our new show site. Delegates also had the opportunity to interact with facility staff as well as others with the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and the Tulsa Convention and Visitor's Bureau. I continue to be impressed with the assistance offered by these groups and their enthusiasm and appreciation as they help us prepare for next year. My wife and I were invited to a lovely reception hosted by the CVB on Monday night at the home of Dan and Kay Buford. Mayor Kathy Taylor attended and personally greeted representatives from AHA and thanked them for coming to Tulsa. The Association and the Arabian breed also received notable media attention. There were at least three television news interviews, and one live guest appearance on the morning news on the CBS affiliate. In addition, two newspapers conducted interviews with resulting positive press about the Association, the Arabian Horse and its move to Tulsa. In all of the interviews, the positive financial impact on the city was emphasized. Mayor Taylor later appeared at Convention and welcomed all of the delegates that numbered over 400. A big "thank you" to all from the city of Tulsa who were so welcoming, gracious and helpful! There are several individuals from Tulsa that I have personally worked with over the past several years that I would like to take this opportunity to thank. To those special people and my friends in Tulsa, special thanks to Suzanne Stewart, Amy Huley, Karen Keith, Paula Crain, Gerald Young and Rick Bjorklund.

New National Rides Commission Established

On Wednesday prior to Convention, the Board of Directors met for an all-day session. While the Board conducted much business, perhaps one of the most exciting new initiatives approved by the Board is the creation of an AHA National Distance Commission. This Commission will function much like the national show commissions and will be similar in election of commissioners. Not only will this Commission oversee our national and regional rides, it will also develop new programs and initiatives to bring distance riding enthusiasts into our AHA family. It is estimated that there are between 12,000 and 15,000 distance riders who do not belong to AHA, and in many instances, their horses are not registered. In creating the new Commission, the Board and Executive Committee recognize this vast untapped market. As I told the delegates in my President's "State of the Association" Address, we have to add "value" to belonging to the Association, and a reason to register your horse and breed more horses. Focusing on such "value" will help us grow as an Association, improving membership numbers and reverse the decline in registrations. Those at Convention enthusiastically embraced the creation of this new Commission. I, along with others, have high expectations for this new entity.

New Arabian Horse Foundation Successfully Launched

The new Arabian Horse Foundation was officially launched at Convention and was greeted enthusiastically by Convention delegates. The new 501 (c) 3 will focus on several areas for funding: Youth and Scholarships; Education and Equine Research with a focus on diseases and illnesses that affect our breed of horses, and a Displaced Horses funding category. It was explained that tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina and the recent California fires leave many horses with emergency medical needs and supplies, a need for hay and grain and temporary stabling. The Foundation will be able to step forward and help in such situations. The unique feature of the Foundation pledging is that you, the donor, can designate where you want your contribution to go. A major "challenge" pledge was given by Foundation Board member Lollie Ames of Cedar Ridge Farms, followed by many regions, clubs and individuals walking to the microphones placed throughout the convention floor, pledging funds to the new Foundation, also many pledged in memory of a loved one. When, finished the Foundation had received over $100,000 in pledges. I am tremendously impressed by this outpouring of support and very appreciative of the generosity displayed. The creation of the Foundation further establishes us as a leading breed organization, prepared to address philanthropic needs not only in our breed, but in the equine world as well. If you would like to participate in this endeavor, please send your contributions to: Arabian Horse Foundation, 10805 E. Bethany Drive, Aurora, CA 80014.

Arabian Horse Museum at Kentucky Horse Park Announced

The announcement of a new Arabian Horse Museum to be constructed at the Kentucky Horse Park was made by the Purebred Arabian Trust at Convention. This multi-million dollar addition to the Horse Park is set to be completed in time for the World Equestrian Games in 2010. The venture is a cooperative one involving the Arabian Horse Owners Foundation and the AHA Market Development and Promotion Committee. Jack Kelly, CEO of the World Equestrian Games Foundation, addressed delegates and informed them that thus far, advance ticket sales have exceeded $6 million dollars. Over a half million visitors will travel to the Horse Park for the games. Many will visit the museum that will showcase our breed. A forum was held at Convention where members of PAT unveiled architectural renderings and provided details of the museum.

Convention Highlights

There were 31 resolutions brought before the delegates, click here for the results of the resolutions. Prior to Convention, there was considerable discussion about resolution 17-07 which would have made the new Arabian halter scoring system optional. As you know, last year, delegates voted to initiate the new scoring system April 1 of 2008. I personally received many inquiries and requests that I take a public stand on the issue. As your President, it is not my role to arbitrarily decide how the delegates should vote, nor try to sway them in any way. I did, however, study and evaluate the process throughout this past year. I used the new scoring system several times and the due diligence that I performed resulted in several recommendations to the Education/Evaluation Commission. Ultimately, it is our democratic Convention process which dictates our direction. There was considerable discussion on the proposed resolution. In the end, the resolution to make the system optional was defeated. I am grateful for our Convention process and the fact that the delegates use their reasoning and sound judgment in deciding such issues. Resolution 15-07 was a topic that has been proposed before: that there could be up to two concurrent competitions for one USEF/EC event. This idea has been brought to Convention on numerous occasions and has been defeated. This year, the delegates approved the resolution, which means two judges can be in the ring at one sanctioned show, each judging independently awarding separate placings. This concept will go into effect when approved by USEF/EC. I encourage you to go to the AHA website for more information on the resolutions. I want to congratulate Lance Walters, Vice President, and Jan Decker, Secretary, for their re-election to the Executive Committee. Convention, as always, is a busy time particularly for the AHA staff. There are many, many details to attend to. We had a great Convention, and I want to thank the staff that worked so hard to make the Convention a memorable one. The President's banquet was one of the best attended in our history. We were treated to great entertainment, including a cast performing selections from "Oklahoma." When we left Tulsa, I think we all felt we had experienced a very special Convention: We had addressed important resolutions and issues; had seen our new home for the nationals, had heard positive reports about our future, assessed the challenges ahead of us, and had the chance to catch up with old friends.

Sweepstakes - A Success Story

Dean Meier, Chair of the Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes Commission, reported that despite declining registrations, there is an increase in the number of Sweepstakes horses nominated in-utero. Also, last year 1,672 exhibitors signed up for the Points Payout Program, compared to 2,305 this year. Dean projects the payout per point to be about $20, which is still higher than the original forecast of $10 per point. The Commission had planned to pay out $2.4 million this year; instead, $2.7 was paid out. After declining income and assets for several years before the Sweepstakes Program was revamped, the Sweepstakes Trust Fund now has $7.5 million. This hard-working Commission, however, is not resting on its laurels. They continue to seek new ways for expanding Sweepstakes and to "open the door" for even more people to participate. The work of this Commission has been and continues to be exemplary. That is why I presented the Commission with the prestigious President's Award at the President's Banquet on the closing evening of Convention. What this group (Chair Dean Meier, Dan Stevenson, Frank Galovic, Sue Meyer, Grace Greenlee, Dick Reed and Jan Decker) has done has had a dramatic impact on our breed and Association. Their task was a difficult one and had to be accomplished in a very short time if we were to rescue the Sweepstakes program. I applaud their efforts and was honored to present them the award for their outstanding contributions to our breed and Association.

A Look to the Future

In my address to the delegates, I told them that we have had many challenges ahead of us and that we are continuing a voyage we began three years ago with me as the captain of the ship. I assure you; I am still very much in control of the ship and will continue to steer in the direction you want to go. We will be responsive to your wishes for the future of our breed. I also explained that at times I get discouraged that we do not progress faster and that politics and personal agendas often get in the way. Just before Convention, I was frustrated and discouraged over several issues. Then, I received the following e-mail message that had a positive impact on me:

Dear Sir;
My name is Chaz Farkass. Right now I am currently serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq. My wife has been sending the Modern Arabian Horse magazines and they are something I look forward to. I must say I for one am glad for the direction you and AHA are taking us in the Arabian world. More and more people are asking questions about our horses and this is a reflection on the way things as of the past few years are improving. Even here in Iraq, where the horses I have seen are few and far between, the breed is still held in high esteem by all. Even when I show the pictures of my horses (yes, I keep them right next to those of my daughter and wife in my cargo pocket!) to the local sheiks or mayors, my Arabians are praised and I am treated like a rock star for owning them! It is amazing how the breed brings people of different cultures together!! Again, thank you for your hard work and the positive direction in promoting our Arabians.

Again, Much Thanks and God Bless!!
SFC Chaz Farkass
Tallil, Iraq

A photo of SFC Farkass, taken in Iraq holding a copy of our magazine, was shown on screen. A standing ovation occurred afterwards honoring the many men and women serving in the Armed Forces to protect our great nation. A special internet link was established so that SFC Farkass and his friends could witness this at our Convention. As we approach the holidays surrounded by our loved ones, I ask that you remember in your prayers the brave men and women serving in the military, and their families.

Here is to a great new year ahead for the Arabian Horse Association.

Have a Very Merry Christmas, and a Wonderful New Year!!

Thank You and God Bless,

Myron Krause