By Tori Oto
Hello! My name is Tori Oto, and I am this year's Vice President and Youth of the Year. First off, Happy New Year! A new year means a new show season, and the first stop is Scottsdale. It'll be here in two short weeks so I hope everyone is ready. We've had a few months of down time but now we all have to get back to work and start to refocus our attention to showing!
A few months ago, the AHYA Board had a very successful meeting in Denver during the Arabian Horse Association Convention, so there are some things you should know for the 2013 season. For those of you who weren't at Youth Nationals last year and haven't already heard, the age limit for youth competitors has been raised from 17 to 18! That means we all get another year of showing as youth. Two years ago, a resolution was passed to allow judges in Saddle Seat classes at the National level to call for a horse-rider switch if desired. This means that if the judge feels the class is too close to call, he or she can make competitors switch horses in the ring. This year, another resolution was passed to apply this rule to Hunter Equitation Classes 14-18. You might have also heard a rumor that at next Youth Nationals all Hunter Jumpers were going to be required to wear helmets around the barn and during warm-up. While this was in fact a resolution at the 2012 AHA Convention, it did not pass! This is because there is no way to make a distinction between jumpers and other riders, so this rule would be unenforceable.
Now, besides all the serious business of rule changes and Convention, I want to talk about the every day opportunities that you, as a youth member, have the ability to take advantage of. Everything starts at the local and regional level, so we need you to help us out! Here are some easy ways to get involved: join the AHYA Facebook Page, compete in the Creative Contest, apply for regional scholarships, organize a Regional Youth Team Tournament team, help your regional directors, register as a delegate for AHYA Convention, or become a regional director yourself! All you need to do to become a regional director is submit an application to your region's Youth Coordinator. More information can be found on your region's website. Another way to get involved with the AHYA Board is to join a Committee. Committees include Fundraising, Equitation, Personal Relations, Youth National Activities, Sport Horse, Working Western, etc. The only requirement is that you're an AHYA member; there is no application! So just ask your regional director or any board member to sign you up to join a committee! It might seem intimidating to join local equestrian clubs or to apply to be a board member, but you'll find it's actually really simple! I know the girls on the board are some of the nicest people I've ever met, and we're eager for new members! In the mean time, make sure to join the AHYA Facebook page! We'd love to hear from you, so feel free to post pictures of you and your horses or to write posts about anything horse related! Lastly, if you have an interesting story or anecdote you'd like to share on this blog, feel free to email me. My information can be found on the "Who's Who" Section of the AHYA website. In fact, feel free to email me about anything I've mentioned, especially if you have questions about how to get involved.
Until next time! Tori
About the Author
Tori Oto is the 2012-2013 AHYA Vice President and 2012 AHA Youth of the Year. She is also chair of the Youth Activities Committee, in addition to serving on the Membership & Fundraising Promotions and Equitation/Showmanship Committees. She's our blog master for 2013, so if you have any great ideas for content, be sure to let her know!