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ASHA directors to meet for planning retreat


Lexington, Kentucky ­– Directors of the American Saddlebred Horse Association and the American Saddlebred Registry, along with invited guests, are scheduled to gather beginning Sunday evening, October 9 in French Lick, Indiana, to begin a three-day conference and retreat to address strategic planning for the breed and its governing organizations.  The formal October meetings of both boards will conclude the session on Wednesday morning.


Alan F. Balch, executive secretary/registrar of the organizations, said key guests have been invited. 


“President Fred Sarver has invited the members of the strategic planning committee as well as all past presidents to join the current boards in their sessions,” Balch said.  “I believe these meetings will result in several concrete steps being taken to improve the framework for governing the breed, as well as stimulating breeding and competitions.”


Balch said the concept of such a retreat has been under consideration for a long time, and was decided upon at the board meetings held in July.  Directors attend such meetings – and the retreat – at their own personal expense. 


“The directors have long felt that even though the formal board meetings are productive, they necessarily concentrate on the present business of the corporations rather than longer term vision,” Balch said.  “One director told us that even though he hears all kinds of good ideas and suggestions for improving prospects for the future of the breed wherever he goes, there just isn’t enough time in regular board meetings to get those ideas out on the table and see what the other directors feel about them, let alone the membership in general.”


In the July/August issue of American Saddlebred magazine, the official publication of the Association, both Sarver and Balch commented at length in writing on the prospects for the breed, and encouraged members to respond with ideas.  Several letters and e-mails from members followed, some of which will be published in the upcoming issue of the magazine.  All opinions received will be considered at the retreat, as well as the on-line/Internet discussions in several forums that are monitored by ASHA staff.  Balch advised that this week is critical for gathering further opinions from any member who wishes to contribute.


“Now is the time for the membership to be heard.  If any member hasn’t already submitted a suggestion, comment, or their ideas in writing or by email, they can still get them in front of the leadership by commenting this week, to me, at,” Balch said.  “In addition, once the retreat is concluded, several new committee rosters will be announced for meetings to be held later this year, and at the annual meeting, coming up in Lexington in February 2006.”



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