Skip to content

ASHA Reorganization - An Editorial



The American Saddlebred Horse Association is positioning itself structurally, financially and with management to address the continuing critical shrinkage of the breed. The Saddlebred is rapidly running out of time to reverse this disturbing trend and the ASHA Board is committed to doing whatever is necessary to turn things around.

Structurally, a reorganization has been proposed; financially the ASHA had a very good year and is taking steps to raise needed funds; management-wise, changes have been made to upgrade and professionalize the staff.

The reorganization proposal will be voted on at the annual meeting Feb. 17-19 in Lexington. This change was first discussed seven months ago prior to the July 2004 Board meeting and has been discussed at every Planning Committee and Board meeting since that time.

A special Planning Committee, composed of co-chairs Jim Ruwoldt and Joan Hamilton along with Judy Werner, Elizabeth Deknatel and Fred Sarver, met numerous times on the plan before unanimously recommending it to the Board. The Board has held any number of meetings and conference calls on the plan and finally voted to recommend it to the full membership with only two dissenting votes out of the 18 member Board.

The reorganization received the blessing of ASHA legal counsel and auditors but, when questions were raised about possible legal or IRS problems, outside opinions were sought. Those opinions confirmed the judgment of the Association attorney and auditor.

The Association staff has aggressively disseminated detailed information about the reorganization both in mailings and in the media and has set aside time for discussion of the proposal at the annual meeting. Board members have attended a number of regional and state meetings at their own expense explaining the changes and answering questions.

Despite all of this, a few individuals are attempting to postpone or stop the reorganization because they don't want to "rush" into this change. As an ASHA Board member for four years and an active participant in this breed for over 30 years, there have been few if any issues more planned, studied, and discussed than this one.

And in reality, it is not a terribly significant change except that it will enable the Association to more effectively raise funds, provide potential tax benefits to donors, save sales tax of certain purchases and enable the ASHA to use those funds to provide much needed promotion for this horse.

The Association has encouraged and welcomed questions and opinions, has debated and discussed the issue thoroughly, has obtained two separate opinions from accountants and lawyers and has provided the members and the public with a wealth of information.

The plan is no magic bullet but anyone who says it is being rushed into, won't pass muster with the courts or the IRS, or that the ASHA is "hiding": anything, simply doesn't have their facts straight.

Unfortunately, personalities have been injected into the debate with Executive Secretary Alan Balch and President Fred Sarver being unfairly attacked. A letter allegedly written by Hoppy Bennett and published on the National Horseman web site was over the line and Fred and Alan deserve better.

This reorganization is simply a step in the right direction and has been endorsed by a lot of committed and qualified horse people, not to mention lawyers and accountants. If you have questions, come to the Convention and participate but remember we are all in this together and don't have time for personal vendettas or attacks on people who are striving to improve this wonderful breed of horse.

More Stories

  • Monday Night Action

    Welcome to prime time! That’s exactly what the Monday evening session was. The big shooters came out in droves as the lineup of classes offered was spectacular.  Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard

    Saddle Horse Report is pleased to expand our Leaderboard standings to include Leading Amateurs, Junior Exhibitors, Owners, Professional Exhibitors, Hackney Trainers and Exhibitors in addition to the Leading Trainers and Leading Sires from the World's Championship Horse Show through the end of classes on Monday, August 19. Stay tuned for the latest developments. Read More
  • Sunday Night Excitement

    With the Junior Exhibitor Park class being split, 14 events were held on the Sunday evening session, which started at 6:30 p.m. with the ASR Sweepstakes Four-Year-Old Fine Harness class. That class gave the general spectators their thrill for the night as Debbie Foley lost a wheel on her buggy and the horse got loose momentarily. Everything ended okay but she could not get everything back together in the allotted time.  Read More
  • Monday Matinee Highlights

    The first 9:00 a.m. session of the week kicked off Monday's competition with a couple younger age group equitation classes and a slew of pleasure classes for both the American Saddlebreds and Hackneys. Read More
  • REPORT Leaderboard

    Saddle Horse Report is pleased to present the New REPORT Leaderboard winners which tabulates the leading trainers and sires, both within the American Saddlebred and Hackney Pony classes, at the 2017 World's Championship Horse Show through the end of classes on Sunday, August 20. Read More
  • Sunday Matinee Highlights From WCHS

                The second session of the 2017 World’s Championship Horse Show got underway at noon on Sunday with 15 classes, namely four splits of the Adult Show Pleasure class, older age group equitation classes, open park qualifiers, amateur road pony and horse classes, gaited ponies and an amateur gentlemen’s long-tail class. Read More
  • Honor Society

    Kathy Humphries and Honor Society were reserve in Sunday afternoon’s Amateur Junior Hackney Pleasure Driving Pony class. Longtime friend and trainer Myra Williams worked it out for them to become a team and move to Majestic Oaks to pursue Kathy’s dream of showing her pony at Louisville under the Campbell’s direction. Read More
  • Instant Connection

    A last minute substitution turned out great for Jordyn Isgrigg and Reedann's Fantastic Design. Read More
  • Opening Night At The World's Championship Horse Show

            The 114th World’s Championship Horse Show got underway Saturday night, August 19 with 89 teams competing in the opening session. As tradition dictates it was County Fair night with seven championships held. Rich and Maureen Campbell’s Majestic Oaks won all three pony classes with Maureen driving Regal’s Norma Jean LF, Regal’s Prime Rate LF and Heartland Infinity to the roses. Read More
  • Latest Issue Aug 21 17

    Read More