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AMHA Elects New President

Editor's Note: Below is a letter from AMHA Board member Mari Sanderson, who was elected AMHA president on April 28, 2017.

My name is Mari Sanderson, and on April 28, 2017, the AMHA Board voted me as the new AMHA President after Vicki Bennett’s resignation due to personal reasons. My first reaction was shock. I had never even aspired to be President. I felt so honored and humbled, that the Board had the confidence that I could do the job. I am glad they did have that confidence, because among those reactions were panic, fear, and doubt. The Board verbalized how much help they would give to me in this process. I realized with all the support offered, I had to heed to their wishes. I want to thank the Board, emeriti and AMHA members who were there in Chicago, for all your encouragement. 

I have been a Board member in Region 7 for eight years. I am currently a Board member from the Western Region. I have served as Chairperson on several committees. I am an amateur. I have bred and raised some Morgans under the Highlander prefix. I have shown or have had horses shown in Classic Pleasure Driving, Pleasure Driving, Park Harness, and Hunter. 

So onward we go. Many of the concerns and fears members expressed recently have been addressed. They are either solved or in the process of being solved. I want to thank Tony Lee for all his advice, encouragement, and help in getting these issues resolved. 

I want to thank Carrie Mortensen, our Executive Director, for her courage and leadership during this transition. I was on the committee last year when we chose a new director. This isn’t the first time I knew we had chosen wisely, but this time I was really happy we chose how we did. 

We have so many great things ahead of us. I am encouraging the Board and the committees to bring young adults that show interest, into the standing committees as a participant. I believe we should start "layering," so we are constantly filling in the void, starting with the youth, and the young adults. I would like us to mentor the upcoming generations on the functions, traditions and policies that make our Morgan breed so wonderful. They have young, fresh ideas. We, who have throughout the years helped to "make it happen" have so much knowledge that needs to be passed on. I would like to encourage the entire membership in some way, to "pay it forward." The breed has a solid framework, the coming generations just need to fill in the spots that have opportunities and challenges that come and go with time. 

The AMHA recently purchased new software and we are in the process of working to get it ready to bring online. The office has already gone through one week of training and there are more to follow. Thank goodness our past President Jeff Gove along with Sara Foy AMHA Emeritus, and his Board had the forethought to look ahead to the future. This will be a great asset to the office and the membership in functionality and efficiency. 

I am in unchartered waters, so help is welcome. I hope to serve all of you. I have continually said from the very beginning in 2008, I have no agenda other than what is best for the Morgan horse breed. That’s still my agenda. 

Thank you, 
Mari Sanderson, AMHA President
(909) 717-8388

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