It’s been refreshing to hear from a number of APHA state directors who have called to ask how we’re doing at the APHA International Headquarters. We’re doing just fine, but we’re taking the necessary precautions to both protect our dedicated staff and to continue uninterrupted service to our members. At the same time, we are innovating in ways that will ultimately strengthen the APHA family for years to come.
Regardless of what happens in the coming weeks, we are and will remain open to serve our APHA family. More than a year ago, we developed a plan to deal effectively with the occasional North Texas ice storms. Little did we know it works perfectly for the current health challenges we’re facing. Here’s how it works. If you call the APHA international headquarters, it will be business as usual. If you don’t receive an immediate answer, our dedicated MemberCare staff will return your call quickly. We have the capability of deploying our virtual office at any time. That means our staff can register horses, transfer ownership or conduct any other APHA business from any location where they have internet connectivity. Every staff member has a laptop and every laptop has IP telephone access that allows for phone service wherever we are. But for those of you who have never used APHA’s online registration, stallion breeding report, transfers and other web-based services, there has never been a better time to give them a try. Do business with APHA however you’d like. We’re open.
We are innovating
Some of you might have seen the roll out of E-Shows, APHA’s virtual competition program. It’s giving exhibitors, judges, trainers and horses an avenue to keep their skills sharp, to continue their horse competition in a meaningful way, and possibly to earn some cash in the process. Please take a look at http://apha.com/showing/e-shows to learn more. Long after the challenges of COVID-19 are a distant memory, we think this approach also offers a terrific entry point for new exhibitors, 4-H exhibitors, experienced exhibitors looking for an inexpensive way to compete, exhibitors who have limited access to horse shows in their areas, and those who want to improve their skills through detailed review of their performance by an APHA-carded judge (free to all participants in the E-Shows program). It’s innovative, simple and it pays money back. This is the least expensive way in the horse world today to show your horse and to receive an expert evaluation from APHA’s leading judges.
We are preparing
We are still planning with all vigor to host the APHA Youth World Show and Open/Amateur World Shows. We understand the economic impact the past few weeks and the future months will have on the APHA members. That’s why we’re opening the shows to all Paint Horse exhibitors and waiving qualification requirements for 2020. For those who won’t be able to attend, E-Shows are a perfect and low-cost alternative. We have also not forgotten our commitment to Youth. Our Youth World Show will still feature $100,000 in scholarship awards so that some families won’t need to choose between college and Youth World Show competition.
Despite the challenges we’re facing, we have much to be thankful for. We’re grateful that we’re in our new international headquarters in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. By moving to the Stockyards, we’ve reduced our annual expenses by almost $250,000. We’re grateful for the most innovative staff in the horse community. We’re grateful for the dedicated and engaged members who’ve chosen to be part of our Paint Horse family.
This is one of those rare moments in human history where every member of APHA faces exactly the same set of challenges brought about by COVID-19. We appreciate your kindness, patience and support during this time, and we promise the same to you. This is one of those rare moments we face as family, and as family, we will prevail.
APHA Executive Director