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Saddlebred Convention Opens Thursday

Lexington, Ky. ­– The American Saddlebred Horse Association’s 2008 convention begins on Thursday, February 14, continuing through Saturday, February 16, with the sparkling Saddlebred Ball at the Keeneland Entertainment Center in Lexington.  All other convention activities are held at the Embassy Suites Hotel.  For complete details and events, please click here.


Thursday’s schedule includes a wide variety of committee meetings, and the day concludes with a Welcome Reception sponsored by the FEI Disciplines Committee, in the main convention meeting room, with a light dinner buffet, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Most committee meetings are open, as are all seminars and forums.  Friends of the Saddlebred wishing to attend only one day, or occasional meetings, may do so by registering with a new daily registration fee of only $40.  Committee members who are only attending on one day may register for just $25.  Luncheons and social events are $30 per person for each function.  No daily registration fee is required if only the luncheon or social event is being attended. 


The Annual Awards Luncheon, highlighted by awards for Charter Clubs, Breeders, FEI Disciplines, and National Pleasure, is Friday at the Embassy Suites.  Saturday’s Annual Members luncheon, for which tickets are $30, follows the morning’s Open Members Forum, which is an excellent opportunity to meet with volunteer and staff leadership of the Association to review the progress of the last year, the state of the breed, governance, and official financial and statistical reports.  


The Annual Meeting, following the Saturday luncheon, to conduct the Association’s corporate business, is open to all members without charge.


The climax of the convention is the glittering Saddlebred Ball on Saturday evening, during which the year’s most prestigious honors are presented, topped by the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Mrs. David H. Neil, of Blythewood Farm in Cleveland, Tennessee. 


Other awards are presented to the winner of the World’s Grand Championship Five Gaited winner from 2007, Michele Macfarlane of California; Breeder of the Year Callaway Hills Stable, represented by Tony Weldon of Missouri; induction to the Breeders Hall of Fame, Ann Tierney Smith of Leatherwood Stud; Meritorious Service Award, presented to George and Maggie Robertson of Wisconsin; Lurline Roth Sportsmanship Award, to Marilyn Macfarlane of Kentucky; C.J. Cronan Sportsmanship Award, to Bud Willimon of Kentucky; Jenkins International Award, to Martin Gueldner, traveling from Germany to accept his award; and Ogletree Youth Award winner Kelly Hill, of Kentucky.  Other highlights of the evening will include presentation of the Gillenwater Family Award to the Wheeler Family of Virginia and Kentucky, and the new Wing Commander Medal, to Robert H. Lewis of California and Carter Cox, of Kentucky.


Tickets to the Saddlebred Ball are available on a first-come basis while available, at $70 per person, and the evening’s events include special tribute videos to the honorees, and dancing to the 18-piece Swingtime Big Band from Northern Kentucky.


All tickets are available at Embassy Suites, or by calling the ASHA at (859) 259-2742.  Telephone orders are accepted while space is available.

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