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American Saddlebred Horse Association Convention News

The American Saddlebred Horse Association concluded its annual convention Saturday evening, February 16, with the spectacular Saddlebred Ball at Keeneland Entertainment Center attracting a record turnaway crowd of 500 to the packed house.  A series of standing ovations for the honorees concluded with an emotional tribute and a final sustained and thunderous salute to the Lifetime Achievement recipient, Mrs. David H. Neil of Blythewood Farms, Cleveland, Tennessee.  


Business of the convention concluded earlier in the afternoon, with the election of its officers by the Saddlebred Association board of directors.  Newly elected directors Carl M. Holden, Jr. of Kentucky, Dr. Margaret McNeese of Texas, and Barbara Molland of California, joined re-elected directors Vicki Gillenwater of Tennessee, Paul Treiber of Wisconsin, and Art Zubrod of Kentucky, in beginning new three-year terms as volunteer leaders. 


Elected to one-year terms as the five officers of the 18-member board were Mary Anne Cronan of Kentucky, president; Mary Ann Pardieck of Indiana, first vice president; Gillenwater, second vice president; Treiber, secretary; and Jim Ruwoldt of Georgia, treasurer.  Per a longstanding provision in the bylaws permitting an expanded Executive Committee, the directors authorized the officers to serve as its members along with outgoing president Fred K. Sarver of Kentucky, who had served the maximum term in office and as a director.  Former First Vice President Misdee Wrigley Miller did not stand as a candidate for re-election to the board, but chaired the Nominating Committee for Officers.


Elected by the Association board to serve one-year terms as directors of the American Saddlebred Registry are five directors of the Association:  Cronan, Molland, McNeese, Jimmy Robertson of Kentucky, and Judith Werner of Illinois.  In addition, the Association’s Nominating Committee for Officers, which also proposes directors for election to the Registry board, put forward seven candidates for the four seats remaining to be filled by members who are not directors of the Association.  In that election, the directors selected Lisa Duncan of Kentucky, Brian Reimer of Georgia, Bob Ruxer of Indiana, and Anne Stafford of Tennessee, who was re-elected for a third consecutive year.  Stepping down from the Registry board after service of three years in a row were Joan Hamilton of Kentucky, David Howard of Tennessee, Dr. Rick Luft of Wisconsin, Spencer Mains of North Carolina, Pardieck, Dr. Alan Raun of Iowa, and Sarver.  Therefore, seven of the nine Registry directors are newly elected; only Stafford and Werner continue to serve from the previous board. 


In other business, Association members attending the formal annual meeting either in person or by proxy nominated three members for two positions on the Nominating Committee to select candidates for six available seats on the 2009 board of directors.  Nancy Becker of Kentucky and Carol Reedy of Virginia were elected by the membership.  In a three-way election for the two seats on the Nominating Committee that are elected from the board of directors, Gillenwater and Scott Matton of Wisconsin were elected, and President Cronan appointed Molland to chair the committee.

“This elaborate series of elections set out in our bylaws was designed to provide an opportunity for new volunteer leadership to come forward, as well as to maintain a reasonable continuity of experience,” said Alan F. Balch, Executive Secretary of the Association.  “Clearly, because of a combination of term limits and an open election process, this was a transition year and an exceptionally large number of new volunteer leaders have emerged from throughout the country.  The membership at large and the nominating committees did a superb job finding and suggesting exceptional candidates.  Everyone worked together to insure that the entire process was collegial.  And that was the byword for the convention itself, as well.  We had great attendance, better weather than for several years past, and a very positive and encouraging experience for hundreds of members at our Youth Conference, open forums, and social events.  It’s a great way to go forward.”

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