For this issue, I thought I would give you some excerpts from my State of the Association Speech from the 2017 AHA Convention.
Good morning fellow officers, delegates, guests and staff. Welcome to Denver for the 2017 AHA Convention. This looks to be a great convention, and I hope you all will get involved to move this great Association forward.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
This is my first speech to you as President, and I am truly honored to be able to serve you in this capacity. The state of our Association is good. Could it be better? Yes. We can always do better, but it will take us all working together to make improvements. This has been a very busy year for the Arabian Horse Association — our officers, our Board of Directors (BOD), the many volunteers, and our valued staff.
As part of Future State, the first phase was rolled out about a year ago with the implementation of a new accounting system— Multiview, and I am pleased to tell you that it was on-budget. The next phase,
membership, is in full swing, and we are still on or under budget with a plan to rollout that phase at the end of February, 2018.
Thanks to the feedback of both our customers and employees, we learned a great deal from the accounting rollout and have made adjustments to the Future State project to make sure it stays on track and under budget as it has been so far. Again, thanks to feedback and subsequent changes to the order confirmation report, I am happy to report that the accounting department has again begun distributing “order confirmation” emails that now include payments, more detail on the transaction, and outstanding balances. The changes to this information were the result of feedback directly from our customers/ members, so thank you for your input.
In January, AHA hosted the first ever meeting of members who show mostly in the Breeding/In-Hand divisions. We listened to their concerns and suggestions to improve these divisions. I would like to thank Andy Sellman, Isaac Taylor and Lara Ames for their help with making changes to the U.S. National Show to improve the Breeding/In-Hand divisions of this year’s show. I believe this is a dramatic demonstration of what can happen when people work together for improvement.
This year marked the 15th Anniversary of the Sport Horse National Championship Show, the 25th Anniversary of the Youth National Championship Show, the 51st Annual U.S. National Championships and the 60th Annual Canadian National Championships. The Distance Nationals made the bold and successful move to expand their National Championships to continue to include other breed association’s National Championships. The change and expansion were successful, and they are looking to expand further in 2018. What a testament to the Commissioners of these events and their dedication to their longevity and success.
In August, the Board of Directors created a new venue for entry-level participants called the Arabian Value Show. This is an expansion on the Arabian One Day Show, but in a multiple day format. This will be rolled out for 2018 competitions to make shows more affordable in areas with smaller horse populations. The AHA One Day Show program will go back to its original format utilizing “r” judges. The new AHA Value Show can be held for 1 to 3 days and can use small “r”, large “R’ or Specialty judges. The application, rules, and a Q & A for this new option can be found online shortly.
The world is changing quickly, and it is apparent that we as a group must change if we are to succeed. To that end, I have created an Ad-Hoc Committee to look holistically at the Regional Structure within AHA.
This committee will have to work hard and quickly to determine what the best structure is for your Association.
We are all trying to determine how to move the Association forward and expand our portion of the equestrian customer base. I believe we need to work at the grass roots level and change the way we look at our goals. We need to refine our goals and pursue them with pin-point focus. We need to start thinking more about riding Arabians rather than owning Arabians. We have a great product, and if we get people riding, or even just experiencing our Arabians, the rest will come.
With our Tail Tours, Arabian fairs, and events, we have been very successful with the first touch of our horses — at the 2017 Sport Horse Nationals, the TAIL tours were so successful, they ran out of TAIL leaders. So we can get them to meet the horses, but how do we get them to the next level of a lesson and eventually riding all the time? We need to utilize the programs we already have and the associations with whom we are partnered. We must create a system of local lesson programs that will give those people interested in spending time with an Arabian a place to go. We have many programs that already exist, but they are not being marketed to the masses — The Discovery Farm, A Time to Ride, Certified Horsemanship individually do not do the job, but as a group they can build the foundation for great local level outreach and be the building blocks to a successful future.
Frankly, we as horse people are not an easy group to talk to. We speak a different language from the people we are trying to attract. We need to make it easy for them to come to us. We must pursue “people who want to have a relationship with an Arabian or Half-Arabian” and not just those who might be buyers. I am creating an Ad Hoc Committee for grass roots development to look at the way we reach out, use the tools available, and find new tools to make it easy to ride and experience an Arabian horse.
We are all here together to make this Association better, and I look forward to a great convention full of spirited discussions and new and exciting directions for us. Recently, I found a pin from an IAHA convention from the 1980s, and its theme has stuck with me with its timelessness. Together We Grow. It is a tribute to those before us who worked so hard to get us to this point and to those who are working hard to move us into the future.
Remember… Together We Grow.
Nancy Harvey, AHA President
To watch the full Convention speech click