Horse Breed Association Recreational Riding Programs
Recreational riding programs have long been an essential part of most horse breed associations’ offerings, helping to attract and retain members. Program participants often praise the track logs as a way to keep track of time spent with their horse, and upon completion of milestones, fun and helpful prizes are awarded to riders.
Unfortunately, many such programs suffer from low levels of participation. Breed associations want to change that by educating horse owners about the variety of activities they can engage in with their horse. Whichever breed you chose, here’s what three of the nation’s top breed associations had to share about their recreational rider programs.
Why Participate in Recreational Horse Breed Riding Programs?
There are a variety of reasons why a fan of a particular breed of horse should participate in these recreational riding programs.
- You don’t have to own a horse, and multiple horses can help earn hours toward important achievements.
- Attendee time logs help attendees keep track of their earned hours.
- Although some associations make a distinction between competitive and non-competitive hours and which may be included, typical examples of eligible hours include those spent hiking, training, participating in parades, taking takes part in riding lessons, etc.
- Reaching a stage achievement level offers practical prizes different from those typically won at horse shows.
- There is often no time limit for achieving milestone goals.
- All fees involved are usually nominal.
The following are examples of breed association recreational riding programs:
Appaloosa Equestrian Club
Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) performance department supervisor Keri LeForce believes that her organization’s Saddle Log/Driving Log program benefits ApHC members the most who do not regularly attend organized events.
“It’s an opportunity for them to get involved in the association and to be recognized for what they do,” she says. “It’s a way for them to maintain a connection with the breed association.”
Participating adult members pay an annual fee of just $25, while youth pay a one-time fee of $20. Membership in the Appaloosa Horse Club is required, and although horse ownership is not required, registered hours must be earned by riding or riding a registered Appaloosa. Hours are tracked online or via a printable log.
All program participants receive a patch. Thereafter, rafter bars are earned at the milestone achievement level. Although milestone achievement levels differ between drive and drive programs, common examples include 25, 50, 75, 100, 200, 500, 1500, 2000, and 2500 hours. Examples of prizes earned in addition to chevron bars include brushes with engraved handles and achievement level embroidered items. Any time spent riding or driving, including participating in contests, training and trail running, is eligible to be included in the log and count towards prizes.
Arabian Horse Association
Current members of the Arabian Horse Association who enjoy riding their registered Arabian or Half-Arabian horse are eligible to participate in the association’s Frequent Rider program. Members are charged a one-time $25 fee and log their hours online or via a printable log. Similar to other breed associations, entrants are not required to own their own horse, but may instead register their hours on any number of registered horses.
According to Abby Carpenter, Awards and Show Results Coordinator at the Arabian Horse Association, participating members earn awards at achievement levels such as 25, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2500, 5000, 7 500 and 10,000 hours. Although each level of achievement earns a bridle tag, as the number of hours logged increases, the value of the prizes starts with travel mugs and moves to photo frames, leather wallets, tote bags. accessories, coolers and even a jacket at the top. level. Like most breed association representatives, Carpenter sees the benefit of allowing Arabian horses to promote themselves in a wide variety of recreational riding activities and would like to see even more members participate in the program. As an incentive, the AHA has updated a recreational riding program in preparation where members will be able to log competitive hours from open shows, as well as non-competitive hours.
American Morgan Horse Association
Known as My Morgan and Me, the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) takes a slightly broader approach to its recreational program. After some trial and error to find the most convenient solution to host the program, AMHA’s new program guidelines now require members to submit a $25 payment only when milestone achievements are achieved. The days of one-time registration fees are over.
“We’ve had program participants who didn’t submit miles because they weren’t eligible for a reward,” says AMHA Executive Director Carrie Mortensen. “It was confusing. Now when you reach a milestone, you send $25 whether it takes you three years or three days to reach it. »
Participants can download the My Morgan and Me brochure, which includes a printable journal, from the association’s website. But it is not mandatory to use this form.
“When I was doing this, I created my own spreadsheet,” Mortensen explains.
Unlike other associations, AMHA does not require logs to be returned when reporting a milestone achievement. Logs are more for participant records and benefits.
“It’s an honorary system for us,” Mortensen explained.
Once the achievement is reported, the participant receives rewards directly from the association’s headquarters or an electronic coupon for the AMHA market where they can purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets.
“You can decide the color and if you want your name embroidered on it,” she adds.
When a participant reaches the highest levels of achievement, such as 10,000 hours, they receive a short article and are featured with their picture in the association’s magazine.
“We love people [of any achievement level] to submit electronic photographs with their application,” says say. “When a candidate presents a milestone, we always post it on our Facebook page if they include a photo.”
Other key differences in the AMHA program are that membership is not required and that any time with a Morgan horse, not just time spent riding or driving, counts toward milestone achievement.
“The majority of people who participate are not competing, they are trail running,” says Mortensen. “They hang out with their horse at home. The majority, if they do a show, it’s at the local level.
She said Morgan horses are often long-lived and the program’s more relaxed requirements allow members to record time spent with a horse that is older and may no longer be in good condition, but their owners always want to feel like they’re part of a bigger organization.
Have you participated in a breed organization’s recreational rider program? Tell us more in the comments below.