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Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: The Urge to Merge

The decision to merge ASHA and ASR started in the summer of 2018 with the creation of ASHA’s strategic plan. During the creation of that plan, ASHA surveyed members and held workshops with key stakeholders to help define the mission, objectives and strategies for ASHA going forward. One area that kept coming up during the process was improving the working relationship between ASHA and ASR. This was addressed through a strategy to create an operational organization that would work structurally and administratively to fully execute for the benefit of the breed and members. 

From that strategy, an Organizational Committee was created to discover and address all outstanding issues between ASHA and ASR. Their goal was to make a final recommendation to both boards on the best way to move forward. A third party analysis of financial and organizational issues also was commissioned and financed by a generous donation from an ASHA board member. 

The Organizational Committee investigated the previous reorganization and key bylaw changes that were made over a 10+ year period, which had altered the original intent of the reorganization.  Also, the committee researched how other breed associations and registries operated, finding that most operated as a single organization. The committee met in person at the UPHA National Conference in January 2019 to go over its findings and to hear from a representative from the American Morgan Horse Association on how their Registry Trust protected registry operations. 

At the same time, ARGI Financial Group did an independent financial analysis of ASHA and ASR that included potential operating structures. They looked at three scenarios: merger, status quo and separation. ARGI made a presentation to both boards in November 2018, concluding that a merger was the most cost-effective option and provided the most operational efficiencies. 

The merger discussion continued last year with the creation of the Joint Merger Task Force, which was organized to investigate potential merger concerns and solutions. The task force looked at key areas that included a board of directors, bylaws, financial management, policies and procedures, and mission. The Joint Merger Task Force presented its findings to both the ASHA and ASR boards in October 2020. As a result of the task force’s work and the work done previously, both boards unanimously agreed to move forward with a merger. 

This week, both boards met separately to review the final merger documents. The boards voted again unanimously to approve the documents and to move forward with the merger pending a vote of the membership. Below you will find a link for members to access the approved merger documents. Also, you will find a link to a video that will walk you through the purpose and intent for each document. If you have not done so already, please sign up for the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 5:00 p.m. ET and remember that you must be an ASHA member by Monday, Feb. 15 to be eligible to vote.

David Mount, ASHA Executive Director

ASHA/ASR Merger Documents
Video: Why Merge? A Message to Members from Allen Bosworth

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