APHA is pleased to recognize longtime APHA member, breeder and national director Merlin Himle of Brook Park, Minnesota, as the association’s 2015 Distinguished Service Award winner. Merle will be honored during the APHA Hall of Fame Banquet on March 1 at the DFW Marriott Hotel and Golf Club in Fort Worth, Texas, held in conjunction with the 2015 APHA Convention.
Purchasing his first Paint Horse as a teenager, Merle has long been a Paint Horse fan—he registered the 1952 black tobiano mare named Sherry with APHA in 1963, and he’s been an APHA member ever since. Involved with APHA since its beginning, Merle has proven his commitment to the Paint Horse breed over the years, serving as a national director and standing committee member since 2006.
A Paint Horse breeder for more than 50 years, Merle has bred 119 foals to date and registered foals for nearly 30 consecutive years.
“We’ve tried to produce good, well-balanced, quality horses that can be handled by anyone, shown both in halter and performance, for trail riding or ranch work—the all-around horse.”
A Vietnam veteran, Merle worked in construction and for an auction company, raised Belted Galloway cattle and other livestock. A founding member of both the Minnesota Paint Horse Association and the Minnesota North Star Paint Horse Club, he also started two saddle clubs, ran a stock horse futurity and serves as a 4-H leader. He continues to show, breed and serve as an APHA national director.
“APHA is honored to have members like Merle in our corner,” APHA Executive Director Billy Smith said. “It’s because of our members’ tireless dedication to the breed and APHA’s goals for the betterment of the breed that have allowed our association to maintain a position of prominence in the equine industry for more than 50 years.”