AQHA Affiliate News

AQHA Affiliate News


Spring is finally here, and we know that each of you are looking forward to a busy and successful 2023!

This affiliate news will be a little different than those we have done in the past. The Affiliate Advisory Board wanted to provide you with an update/follow-up to the AIM Rally that was held during the 2023 AQHA Convention.

We hope that many of you were able to attend. If you did not, make plans to attend during the 2024 AQHA Convention in Las Vegas. Not only was the event very informative, we had a great time! Many of the attendees requested that we provide links to information that was presented.

Gale Little, Affiliate Advisory Board chairperson, kicked off the event. She, along with the Affiliate Advisory Board, spent many hours planning and discussing the topics for this year’s event. The Affiliate Advisory Board members are Ed McNelis, Lori Bucholz, Bill Horton, Brent Maxwell, Larry Jaynes, Marty Simper, Dawn Forest, Dr. Steve Osborne and Victor Wolf. Without these affiliate volunteers, this event would not have been possible.

The AAB members felt it was important to include the future of AQHA, and Adriana Totten and Justin Eddy did not disappoint. Adriana is the current AQHYA president and Justin is an AQHYA past president. They began with an activity about how we all have the same goal and all the different ways we use to get there. It was spot on with the vision of this rally. Adriana then discussed and shared her interaction with international affiliate travels and her communications with domestic affiliates. View her presentation here.  

We were fortunate to have representatives from AQHA Corporate Partners John Deere and Montana Silversmiths in attendance. Both are offering some great programs. Montana Silversmiths is offering AQHA affiliates the opportunity to purchase buckles at a 40% discount. The details for the buckles can be found in this presentation here. John Deere has an exciting promotion that we will be announcing very soon, as well!

Debbi Holmes Stockstill from South Dakota, who is both an attorney and CPA, shared her expertise on many sides of business, legal and accounting. If you missed the presentation, there is no way to put in this follow-up the plethora of knowledge she covered in a short period of time. She spoke on the process of setting up an affiliate as a business, filing appropriate paperwork with the state and filing for tax-exempt status. She discussed the importance of governance, and having bylaws and rules established for the regulation and management of an affiliate. One of the most-discussed topics by affiliates is finances and Debbi spoke about budgeting, financial reporting and having the right people handle affiliate finances. For those affiliates that put on horse shows, she touched on labor laws and insurance. Debbi was kind enough to share her presentation and notes here.

With feedback from the affiliates, finding ways to reach new members has been at the forefront of the Affiliate Advisory Board. Not all horse enthusiasts show or race, so we are targeting the recreational riders by sharing the word about the AQHA Horseback Riding Program. Bill Horton shared his passion with the attendees and discussed the prizes available through the program and how affiliates can capitalize on the program by offering affiliate member rides and other fun activities for these members. The youth have shared with us that they have friends who would like to participate in these types of events, and our current youth love spending time with their friends and horses outside the show ring. We will be sending out an official release to the affiliates regarding a new program that the Affiliate Advisory Board has put together where an AQHA member who is enrolled in the Horseback Riding Program can join their affiliate and sign up to participate for a year-end award (provided by AQHA) that affiliates can present at their year-end banquet. We are hoping to bring new members to the affiliates and from there, the affiliates can retain and show the new members what affiliate membership offers and other opportunities and programs they may become interested in. Here is the link to Bill’s presentation.

After receiving an influx of information, attendees from all over the world worked in groups to do some problem solving. The topics were:

  • How to grow and retain memberships
  • Maintaining economic viability
  • Finding individuals to serve on affiliate boards
  • Affiliates reaching potential with energy and passion
  • Social media strategies

Groups presented their work, which resulted in some great discussions. We brought the flip charts back to Amarillo and will be sharing the information in upcoming newsletters. We also plan to use some of the information to implement other ways to drive membership to the affiliates.

Before concluding a very successful event, we wrapped up with a fun game of BINGO put together by Dawn Forrest. It was a great get-to-know-people activity that you may see at other events in the future.