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What Matters? Missions Matter.

Every effective organization should have a Mission Statement.  It serves as a beacon and a guidebook to help make decisions. If a decision takes an organization in such a direction that it doesn’t serve the Mission, it shouldn’t be done. Seems obvious; but it is often forgotten in the noise that surrounds the day-to-day operations of an organization.

With that in mind, let’s examine the Mission Statements of three organizations, all intertwined; the American Saddlebred Horse Association, the American Saddlebred Registry, and the American Saddlebred Museum.  All three of them share resources in many different ways, including they all “live” in the same building in Lexington, KY.  The ASHA and ASR literally share space and personnel.  The Museum sells the ASHA licensed merchandise on behalf of the ASHA. They share because it makes sense to share—it’s efficient and it’s effective. But, these three also share one more very important things—they essentially share the same Mission.  There are functional differences as in they have different specific “jobs to do”; different responsibilities.  But reading their Mission Statements reveals common DNA.  It is obvious we spring forth from the same family tree.

If we were to look for the similarities among the groups, we could write a very specific and concise Mission Statement for the three:

The ASHA, ASR, and American Saddlebred Museum exist to PROMOTE and PROTECT the American Saddlebred breed.

That’s it. That simple. If we’re not Promoting or Protecting this classic American breed, we are not doing the right thing. It’s the filter through which we should be making all decisions; all proposals; and all efforts. 

There are many challenges to our breed. There are many challenges to equine sports in general. There are some that are beyond our control because they just come with the inevitable march of change—costs have gone up; we’re not a rural society anymore; there is so much more to do, to watch, to play. All of these things we cannot control. 

What can we control?  We can try to help increase access and distribution.  We can try to create new, interesting ways for people to experience our breed. We can make sure we keep good records so that this magnificent breed continues to exist in fact and by bloodlines. We can make our shows more fun and more attractive. We can take the American Saddlebred to more birthday parties and school carnivals. We can be inclusive and welcoming and friendly.  We can celebrate our successes and address our shortcomings. All of these fall under the categories of PROMOTING and PROTECTING the breed. 

For reference, here are the Mission Statements of the three organizations:

ASHA Mission Statement
The mission of the American Saddlebred Horse Association is to promote, improve and protect the grace, intelligence and versatility of the American Saddlebred, and to provide programs and services supporting our members, while fostering public awareness of the breed.

To that end, the Association shall have the purposes of safeguarding the integrity, and expanding the knowledge of the American Saddlebred; educating the general public in the exhibiting, use, and history of American Saddlebred horses and the improvement of the breed; promoting the humane treatment of American Saddlebred horses; stimulating and promoting interest in all matters pertaining to the history, breeding, exhibiting, and improvement of the breed; encouraging safe equestrian activities; educating youth with respect to safe and proper horsemanship and the showing of horses by promoting the formation of youth associations and the dissemination of educational materials; and awarding scholarships to participants in youth horse programs.

ASR Mission Statement
The American Saddlebred Registry shall guarantee the purity of the breed through the establishment, maintenance and publication of an accurate register for the recording of pedigrees and the transfers of ownership of the American Saddlebred Horse. The Registry shall, in addition, administer the recognition and prize programs associated with the breed.
American Saddlebred Museum Mission Statement
The American Saddlebred Museum preserves the traditions and promotes the heritage of our beautiful athletic horses, through active engagement of the general public and equine community by expanding interest and appeal in our breed.

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