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Saddlebred 2008 Regional Championships Approach



Lexington, Kentucky - The American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) designated Regional Championship competitions for 2008 are rapidly approaching in areas throughout the United States.

In the far west, they include the California Saddle Horse Futurity for the West Coast, and the Arizona Saddlebred Futurity for the Southwest; in the Northwest Region, the NWSA Fall Classic and Futurity; in the North Central Region, the Wisconsin Futurity; in the Heart of America Region, the Mid-America Mane Event; the South Central Region, at the State Fair of Texas UPHA Show; for the Bluegrass Region, the Kentucky Fall Classic; for the Atlantic Coast, the North Carolina State Fair; in the Southeast, the Southeastern Charity Horse Show; in the Northeast, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show; and in New England, the Eastern States Exposition.

All designated Regional Championship competitions must be licensed competitions of the United States Equestrian Federation. Saddlebred regions in the United States are based on geographical boundaries established by the Federation’s rules, as shown here.

The Regional Championship program began in 2005 with the first event designated for the Pennsylvania show at Harrisburg, and has been growing and maturing since then across the country. "The leadership of the Association recognized that aside from the breed’s major events in Kentucky and Missouri, horsemen, breeders, and exhibitors across the country were no longer supporting shows in their home regions as they once did," said Alan F. Balch, Executive Secretary of ASHA. "There are undoubtedly a great many reasons for this," he continued, "including the ability to ship horses safely and in comfort for much longer distances than used to be the case - even 15-20 years ago. Plus, for all its greatness, the attention lavished on the World’s Championship Horse Show in particular had lessened the importance of being competitive locally and regionally, and we wanted to renew attention towards those horses and exhibitors who concentrate their showing closer to home and for whom regional recognition would be welcomed and valuable."

The evolution of the rules and requirements for Regional Championships have been developed and are continuing to be studied by the Charter Club Council and the competition managements whose events have been designated up to now. The current guidelines are available here.

"We’re attempting to link some of the new ideas we’ve had for the Grand National program with the Regional Championships," added Balch. "In that connection, this year there will be $5,000 Grand National Championships added to the California Futurity in Pomona, the NWSA Fall Classic, the Wisconsin Futurity, the Mid-America Mane Event, the North Carolina State Fair, and the Southeastern Charity." Sections for those $5,000 stakes are Three-Gaited, Five Gaited, Three-Gaited, Three-Gaited Park, Fine Harness, and Three-Gaited Show Pleasure, respectively. For more information on the Grand National, check here.

ASHA will soon be displaying a complete database of all horses’ current regional competition records, by section, on its Web site, so that all competitors and managements can easily see for which region(s) and sections a given horse is qualified. Exhibitors and horsemen must declare their chosen region to ASHA in the event a horse is qualified for a Regional Championship in more than one.

Questions should be directed to Brenda Newell, Sr. Program Administrator, at b.newell@asha.net.

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