Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Sharing the Saddlebred with ASHBA Executive Director David Mount
Published Date: May 24, 2022
Sometimes our industry is so focused on a particular region or show that we forget that we have more than 200 shows from coast to coast, and members in every state. With this in mind, I have promised this year to visit shows and members in states that have a smaller concentration of American Saddlebreds. So far I have visited Florida, Massachusetts and California, with trips planned over the next two months to Pennsylvania and Colorado. At every stop I have seen an undeniable passion and love for our breed, and people dedicated to promoting the American Saddlebred.
Last month I was invited to attend the Symphony of Horses in West Springfield, Mass. What an absolutely amazing event, staged in front of a packed house at Eastern States Coliseum, showcasing the American Saddlebred, as well as Morgans, Hackneys, Standardbreds and Friesans. The event featured music from the Boston Orchestra with guest star Josh Strickland of Broadway and Disney fame. Major congratulations and thanks to Bob Funkhouser and his wife, Rae Lynn Mercer, along with UPHA Chapter 14 for bringing back this iconic event.
The other thing that amazed me during my trip to Massachusetts was the dedication and camaraderie displayed by UPHA Chapter 14. The Symphony of Horses and Spring Premiere Horse Show were not small undertakings and the entire chapter was involved in making both events happen simultaneously. I was honored to represent ASHBA there and have the association play a small role in the Symphony of Horses by donating stick horses for the children’s scene through a #ShareTheSaddlebred grant.
This month, I visited the Silicon Valley Horse Show in Pleasanton, Calif., a two--time recipient of an ASHBA horse show grant. Co--chairs Helen Roy and Lexie Saine, along with their incredible staff, have put together a top-notch show for the west coast. The show featured fabulous hospitality, innovative classes (including four $5,000 classes for amateurs and junior exhibitors), and significant community outreach.
The show partnered with Oakland--based “We Ride Too,” whose mission is to build diversity and inclusion in the equestrian world by bringing future equestrians from ground to saddle. Through a #ShareTheSaddlebred grant, the organization was able to have their kids participate in the academy classes at the show. Many thanks to their founder Pat Jackson for creating such a wonderful program! I look forward to future collaboration between our organizations.
While at the show, I took the opportunity to visit with as many members as I could to learn more about the challenges our industry faces on the West Coast. I attended the Northern California American Saddlebred Horse Association awards presentation, and I met with the leadership of the Northwest Saddlebred Association to discuss ways to grow their Fall Classic and Futurity Horse Show, which is a recipient of a 2022 ASHBA horse show grant.
Not only do we have a remarkable breed – we have remarkable members doing amazing things all across the country. It is ASHBA’s job to support these members and regions with the goal of growing our breed. I am honored and privileged to serve such energetic, enthusiastic and dedicated Saddlebred lovers across the United States.