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APHA approves regional club in Australia

Paint Horse promotion received a major boost in the Southern Hemisphere when the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) approved the first regional club “Down Under.” On February 15, 2011, the application of the American Paint Horse Club of Australia was approved, making Australia the first country to have both an APHA regional club and a Paint Horse registry.

The Paint Horse Association of Australia (PHAA), an independent equine registry formed in 1973, maintains its own studbook, membership and performance records. The registration requirements are similar to—but not the same as—the APHA’s rules. In 2003, the APHA and the PHAA entered into a cooperative agreement, and the following year the first seven horses were registered in the APHA’s new International Appendix Registry. Since then, 141 Australian horses have been registered through this program.

With the growth of the International Appendix Registry, the need for more opportunities for those horses and their owners became apparent. Paint Horse breeders Lee Ann and Jeffrey Hall of Dubbo, New South Wales, played a major role in the drive to create the new club.

“APHA has had a presence in Australia for around nine years,” said Lee Ann. “As PHAA members were becoming more aware of the benefits of dual registration, it was time to have an APHA regional club that could work in conjunction with PHAA members who also have APHA-registered horses. Approximately two years ago we started talking to other Australian APHA members to gage interest [in a regional club].” The group applied for a regional club charter in November 2010.

The club covers the entire country of Australia—the sixth largest country in the world—which is about the same size as the contiguous United States. Kevin Mills is the club’s first president, Jeffrey Hall is vice-president, Kristy Trigg is treasurer and Lee Ann Hall is secretary. The club currently has about 20 members, but they expect to gain many more during an upcoming membership drive and show.

“The new club will work alongside the PHAA and increase the awareness of the benefits of APHA and over time give Australian APHA members another avenue to promote and show their horses,” said Hall. “Our mission is to promote good sportsmanship, to promote American Paint Horses and to work with Australian members for the betterment of Paint Horses and the APHA in our region.”

Lee Ann Hall rode HMF Perception during the American Paint Horse Club of Australia’s first event, a community activity for young adults with special needs.


How is the American Paint Horse Club of Australia different from the PHAA? “Although it sounds crazy, they are two completely different groups with different functions,” Hall explains. “PHAA is a stand-alone registry whilst our new club is an APHA regional club. Some Australian members were concerned the new regional club would take something away from the PHAA. But once they were aware of the ideals of the new club, the fact we are a regional club of the APHA and not another registry, and our intention is to work together to promote Paint Horses, most people are now happy to support the new club.”

In any event, Hall wants PHAA members to know the club wants to help promote Paint Horses, not to compete with the Australian registry. “We wish to work as a team, not in opposition to any other club,” said Hall. “Our plan at this stage is to work with other ‘Western performance horse’ clubs around the country and run shows jointly, getting our APHA club out and about around Australia whilst working with other clubs to help increase participation.”

The club is already gearing up for an exciting inaugural year, starting off with a demonstration day for adults with special needs in April, a booth at the New South Wales PHAA State Show in May, and an open show in June. A trail ride is planned for later in the year.

“We are excited for all the people who helped us get to this point,” said Hall, “and for those who were interested in a new club. I am very proud to have been a part of the beginning of a new platform for the APHA in Australia.”


Irene Stamatelakys