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New staffers join the APHA herd

APHA is pleased to welcome three new staff members: Desiree Heath, Alexandra Flavion and Matt Arias. Each one brings their own unique strengths that work to benefit APHA and its members.

Desiree Heath

“Graduating” from the marketing and sales department’s fall intern position, Desiree Heath joins APHA full-time as the marketing coordinator. She grew up with a deep love of horses, but really dove into the field once she got to Texas A&M University.

During her student career, Desiree took any class she could that involved horses, and also helped out on several equine nutrition and reproduction projects. She also served as the treasurer for the Texas A&M Horsemen’s Association, as well as the secretary for the American Collegiate Horsemen’s Association. She earned a Bachelor of Science in animal science in 2014, followed by a Master of Agriculture in equine business and event management in 2016.

For her master’s degree, she had to complete two professional internships. Her first internship was as a campaign manager for the direct marketing firm, New Direction Events Inc. The second was with the Extraco Events Center as their events and operations intern.

As the association’s marketing coordinator she works with sponsors and members alike, and manages sponsor fulfillment, email marketing andthe APHA Xtras program, as well as assists with sales efforts, social media and more.

“I originally went to college to become a veterinarian, but marketing and events found me along the way. The Texas A&M Animal Science department did a wonderful job of showing me all of the career paths open to me, and ultimately led me to APHA. I’m so excited to be a part of the APHA team, and I am always happy to help our members,” Desiree said.

Alexandra Flavion

Alexandra Flavion joins the association as the performance department assistant. She is new to Texas, moving from Pennsylvania in the summer of 2016. Prior to the move, Alexandra attended West Virginia University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in multidisciplinary studies (business, communications, sport and exercise psychology) followed by the position of assistant manager of Citizens Bank. During her student career at WVU, she was a member of the NCAA Division I Women’s Rowing team.

Alexandra carried a love of horses with her starting at a very young age, but, being a quadruplet, was never able to get the horse she asked for each Christmas. She had the “horse bug” and would not give up, so she started working for trainers, mucking stalls, tacking, and grooming horses so she could ride. Through this endeavor, she was able to ride and train with advanced-level riders at the top of their sport. Growing up, she trained and competed in eventing, dressage and hunter/jumpers but has since developed a passion for reining and ranch versatility.

When she isn’t in the barn, she can be found participating in outdoor activities such as fishing, biking and hiking with her boyfriend and their three dogs or cultivating her inner artist by painting, drawing, knitting, crocheting and doing DIY home projects.

“I am so happy to be at APHA,” she said “There are many responsibilities that come with my position, but I also get to learn from a wonderful group of people on how things are accomplished on the back end and where dreams become possible for our exhibitors. I am so glad to call this place home!”

Matt Arias

Matt Arias is APHA’s new Breeders’ Trust and Breeders’ Futurity director. He has been involved with the horse industry since he was a child. Living in New Jersey, he grew up riding in the hunter/jumper disciplines. He graduated from Cazenovia College in 2014 with a Bachelor of Professional Studies in management with a specialization in equine business management. During his time there, Matt was very involved with the equine program and rode on the Cazenovia College Equestrian Team in Western horsemanship classes.

In the summer of 2013, Matt was one of APHA’s summer performance department interns. He also interned with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Madison County, aiding in the research of the horse industry of central New York.

Prior to coming back to APHA, Matt worked for Weatherbeeta USA in sales and operations for two and a half years. Internally, he managed the key accounts as well as the Northeast and Midwest territories. On weekends, he taught riding lessons, rode client horses and coached an Interscholastic Equestrian Association team at Forest Edge Farm in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

In addition to overseeing the Breeders’ Trust and Breeders’ Futurity programs, Matt’s responsibilities also include the Farnam Pleasure Stakes held at the APHA World Show, the drug testing program and staff liaison for the General Show & Contest Committee.

“I am so thrilled to come back to APHA,” Matt said. “I had such a positive experience interning for the association. The members of APHA are such a unique group of people, much like their horses. I look forward to meeting and working with many more members in my new role.”


Look for these three friendly faces at the upcoming Youth World Show. They are eager to meet you and assist you.



 [Reprinting all of part of this story is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provide back to apha.com.]

About APHA
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. Its mission is to inspire, nurture, promote and provide meaningful experiences to generations interested in preserving the versatile Paint Horse.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]