Q. What are the options for using and enjoying my horse?
A. There are several options, depending on your interests and your horse’s talent or inclination. They include:
- Recreational riding (there are now awards programs).
- Competitive and endurance riding (the Arabian breed is great at this).
- Horse shows – There are different levels. Local shows, which are great for a beginning horse and rider and are less expensive, and may just require proof of registration, plus entry fees. For Class A shows where competitors are more accomplished generally, registration is required. There are also fees for those not members of the Arabian Horse Association, or of the USA Equestrian. If you are a member, the fees do not apply to you at these Class A shows.
- Dressage riding (this is becoming increasingly popular and appeals to those who like showing, but may prefer a different type of showing other than the regular riding ring gaited performance).
- Racing – This option is open to Purebred Arabians.
Q. What should I do to become more knowledgeable and active?
A. Joining a horse club in your area is the place to start. You can go to www.arabianhorses.org OR call the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) in Aurora, Colorado at (303) 696-4500 and ask for clubs near you. By becoming a member of an AHA recognized club, you then do not have to pay fees at Class A horse shows, this goes with your club membership. Arabian shows are governed by the United States Equestrian Federation rules; therefore it is wise to also be a member of the USEF (www.usef.org), thereby eliminating paying assessed USEF fees at the show. Membership in both organizations saves you money in the long run and has many advantages such as monthly publications and rule books.
Q. What if I just enjoy riding for fun?
A. AHA recognizes that an increasing number of horse owners want to do recreational riding; there is a national push to respond with many clubs and regions offering recreational riding programs and award programs.
Q. Exactly what is AHA and how do I fit into the big picture?
A. AHA, with 30,000 members, is the focal point for Arabian horse activity in North America, providing a network of horse owners and breeders throughout 18 geographical regions in the U.S. and Canada. Most members belong to AHA through the 270 affiliated clubs. Clubs send delegates to an annual AHA convention where members vote on resolutions proposed by clubs and regions (from individuals like yourself) and affecting the riding, breeding and showing of Arabians and Half-Arabians. Conventions assure members a voice in directing the industry. There is an Amateur Committee which addresses Amateur concerns and issues. Call or write AHA for more information.
Q. What about horse showing … can I show my own horse?
A. Yes you can. Or, you may choose to have a professional trainer show your horse. Generally speaking, USEF and AHA recognize two categories of competitor; professional (for open classes) or amateur for the many amateur classes being offered. A very general distinction of the two is that the professional is paid for training and riding; amateurs do it for the enjoyment and do not engage in money-making with their horse activities. Increasingly there are more opportunities for amateurs to show against one another.
Q. What if I have a question about the registration of my horse?
A. If the question concerns horses registered in the United States, call or write the Arabian Horse Association, 10805 E. Bethany Dr., Aurora, CO, 80014, (303) 696-4500. There is a separate registry for Canadian horses (purebred and part-bred) – Canadian Arabian Horse Registry, #113, 37 Athabascan Ave., Sherwood Park, AB, T8A4H3, (780) 416-4990.
Q. Where do I start?
A. Start by joining AHA (through a local club) and USEF, and calling or writing places which appeal to your interests. Here is a start:
Arabian Horse Association (AHA)
10805 East Bethany Dr.
Aurora, CO 80014
United States Equestrian Federation (USEF)
4047 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511
(606) 258 -2472
American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC)
701 High St., #203
Auburn, CA 95603-4727
United States Dressage Federation (USDF)
P.O. Box 80668
Lincoln, NE 68501-0668
Arabian Jockey Club (AJC)
12000 Zuni St.
Westminster, CO 80234-2300
Q. What if a group of us are thinking about starting in new club?
A. There is a process established by AHA on how to start a new club. You need to have at least 10 full members to be chartered. In 2014, a $100 fee is paid to start this process. For more information, you need to contact AHA directly and ask for the club liaison staff member. Once they have your contact information, they will send you a form and a letter. The letter will provide you with the information and documentation that you will need to complete and send to AHA, and then they will work through the process and submit your club for approval to the Board of Directors. The majority of clubs form and meet within one of the 18 regions of AHA. This information CANNOT be found on the AHA website – you must contact them either by phone, email or “snail mail.”