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New ASHA Executive Secretary Named

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Fred Sarver, president of the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA), announced that Alan F. Balch, of San Francisco, Calif., has been named the new executive secretary of the Association effective April 1, 2004.

Sarver said that following the recent resignation of Marcia Carothers, the ASHA Board of Directors met to consider a course of action and decided to extend an offer to Balch.

Noting that the Association had entered into a three-year agreement with Balch, Sarver said he and the other directors welcomed someone of his varied background to head the professional staff. “Alan has been a staff member of several prominent organizations, as well as a volunteer leader of others, and an exhibitor and official, so he can see the issues we face from just about all sides. Those perspectives should be very valuable to all our members, directors and the entire staff. His professional experience at Santa Anita for over 20 years was in marketing, and that is also likely to be helpful.”

Balch, 58, was for seven years most recently the volunteer president of USA Equestrian, the national governing body for the sport in the United States, and has been a lifelong admirer of the American Saddlebred. “The first horses I was around were Saddlebreds, about 50 years ago in San Diego,” he said, “and I’ve always loved the breed. I was fortunate enough to own several in the early ‘90s, and had some success with them in the show ring. Now I’m looking forward to serving the future of the breed in every way I can. We all realize that everything in the horse sports starts with the breeders -- literally.” He was also a longtime announcer of the Kentucky State Fair Horse Show, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and of the American Royal, Pin Oak and Devon during the same time period. He has organized several shows that emphasized Saddlebreds, including the Del Mar National, Forum International in Los Angeles, Santa Anita International and the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden.

Balch added, “This is a great opportunity for me to work for and report to a dedicated, experienced and committed volunteer board. It’s also a pleasure for me to join a professional staff that is very experienced and just as committed to serving the membership of the Association and the interests of the breed.”

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