A Breed Apart

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All equine professionals are aware of the myriad breed registries that make up the purebred horse industry. If you have a papered horse, you have no doubt had dealings with a purebred registry.

Most purebred horse registries do a lot more than just register horses. By offering a host of benefits to members, including voting rights on matters relevant to the breed, these registries encourage strong involvement within their breeds. The registries representing the top four most popular horse breeds in the country, as designated by 2001 registration figures compiled by the American Horse Council, provide some of the most varied and comprehensive programs for members, both professional and amateur.

The American Quarter Horse Association

When it comes to breed registries, none can compare in size and scope to the American Quarter Horse Association, based in Amarillo, Texas. The AQHA boasts the number-one breed in the U.S., with Quarter Horse registrations numbering 2,778,725 as of 2002. With a $30-million-plus operating budget, the AQHA has a vast array of programs for members, some of which are designed specifically with the professional in mind.

A number of these programs fall under the umbrella of the AQHA’s 4aHORSE program. 4aHORSE is a website operated by the AQHA (www.4ahorse.com) and referral service that provides consumers with information on horses for sale; professional services such as training and riding instruction; and horse vacations.

One of the 4aHORSE programs is Professional Horseman, a referral service that matches consumers in need of training services with professional trainers who specialize in working with Quarter Horses. Riding instructors, jockeys, boarding stables, breeding services and horse dealers can be listed with the Professional Horseman program, and receive client referrals from the AQHA. To be part of the program, professionals must be screened and selected by the AQHA.

Also part of the 4aHORSE service is the AQHA Breeder Referral Program. Through this program the AQHA refers prospective clients to facilities that offer breeding, mare care and foaling, as well as the sale of conditioned horses.

In addition to programs designed specifically for professionals, the AQHA offers all members the opportunity to participate in the Incentive Fund. This allows Quarter Horse owners to earn money whenever their horses win points in the show ring or in racing programs, including the $2.75 million MBNA America Racing Challenge. In addition, the AQHA Members Plus Program offers AQHA Life Members and 4aHorse Breeders and Professionals an opportunity to enjoy preferred pricing on products and services through a cooperative purchasing program.

American Quarter Horse Association, P.O. Box 200, Amarillo,

Texas 79168; (806) 376-4811; www.aqha.org.

The American Paint Horse Association

One of the fastest growing horse breeds in the United States is the Paint Horse. Once considered an anomaly of Quarter Horse breeding, the Paint has proven itself to be a highly marketable horse for both competitive and pleasure riders alike, and numbers second only to the Quarter Horse in registrations.

The American Paint Horse Association has done a lot to promote the Paint breed over the past two decades. Within its breed competition program,the APHA offers members four different divisions: Open, Amateur, Novice and Youth. The organization also offers the American Paint Horse Breeders Trust, which allows members to enroll horses to earn money for points won at APHA-approved shows.

Members who opt to compete in open competition outside the breed can benefit from the Alternative Competition (PAC) Program, which records Paint Horse performances in non-APHA events. Members also have online benefits and can view pedigrees, performance records and progeny records through the APHA website.

A subscription to a quarterly newsletter, “APHA Connection,” is also a perk of membership. This official association newsletter contains details on news, events and programs affecting the Paint Horse.

The APHA publishes a number of educational and informational materials which are free to members. All transactions and services through the association are also discounted to those who belong to the association.

American Paint Horse Association, P.O. Box 961023, Fort Worth, TX 76161-0023; (817) 834-APHA; www.apha.com.

The Jockey Club

The Jockey Club, with executive offices in New York City and registration offices in Lexington, Kentucky, is the official breed registry for Thoroughbred horses in the United States. The Jockey Club represents the third most popular breed in this country, with an estimated 36,800 horses registered. Started in 1894, the Jockey Club is also the oldest of the popular breed registries.

The Jockey Club was originally formed to bring order to the Thoroughbred racing industry. But today, more than 100 years after its creation, the organization serves to do much more than that. The Jockey Club maintains the American Stud Book for the Thoroughbred breed, and includes horses foaled in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico as well as imported Thoroughbreds from a number of other countries. To facilitate registration of Thoroughbreds, the Jockey Club provides a unique Internet registration system called The Jockey Club’s Interactive Registration, which allows horse owners to apply for registration online.

The Jockey Club also has what it calls a Family of Companies, which are affiliated organizations that provide various services to horse owners. The Jockey Club Information Systems, which offers members access to information and expertise regarding Thoroughbred management and promotion, is one of these organizations.

Another of these organizations, Equibase Company LLC, represents a partnership between The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America. Equibase provides the Thoroughbred industry with an official database of racing information. Part of Equibase is TrackMaster, a wholly owned subsidiary that provides a line of handicapping products for the Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse and Standardbred breeds.

The Jockey Club Foundation, a charitable trust designed to provide financial relief for people within the Thoroughbred industry, is another Jockey Club affiliate. The foundation has given more than $8 million in support over the past decade.

The Jockey Club does not accept individual memberships, but only registers horses. Those who own Jockey Club-registered Thoroughbreds can take advantage of the organization’s programs.

The Jockey Club, 821 Corporate Drive, Lexington, KY 40503-2794; www.jockeyclub.com.

The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association

A breed that has recently started to grow in numbers is the Tennessee Walking Horse, represented by the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. Started in 1935 in the small town of Lewisburg, Tennessee, the organization has brought the Tennessee Walking Horse breed to fourth most popular status, with 14,479 horses registered in 2001.

To become a member of the TWHBEA, an individual must be approved by the organization’s Executive Committee. Breeders, owners, trainers, and exhibitors have the most to gain from membership in the TWHBEA. Adult and Lifetime members of the organization can take advantage of the Free Foal Registration program, which allows one free foal registration for each dues period if the dam is owned by the member. Members also receive a subscription to the “Voice of the Tennessee Walking Horse” magazine, a monthly publication with information on events and issues relating to the breed.

TWHBEA members are permitted to conduct breed business at reduced rates through the association, and receive new foal registrations, transfers, blood typing kits, certified pedigrees, duplicate certificates, name changes and other services at a significantly discounted rate. In addition, research and educational opportunities are also available.

Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association, P. O. Box 286, Lewisburg TN 37091-0286; 800-359-1574, www.twhbea.com.