MARCH 1996 BACK ISSUE
Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 3/1/96; 10:00:00 AM.
The APHA: A Breed Association's History
American Paint Horses have been favorites with horsemen since time immemorial, treasured for their ability and highly individualized markings. Prehistoric man scratched the likeness of these animals on the walls of caves. The Egyptians paid tribute to their popularity through murals on tomb walls, paintings, mosaics and sculptures. Illustrations of these colorful horses have been discovered in the memorials unearthed in ancient Chinese burial mounds.
Long popular on the European continent, Paints were ridden and appreciated by kings and commoners alike, favorites in war and peace. Their beauty and unusual appearance was again repeatedly depicted in the art of each period, recording the popularity of these colorful animals.
Horses were reintroduced to the Americas in 1519 by the Spanish explorers. Paints were recorded as being among the original group of animals that played such an important part in the conquest of Mexico. This began the tradition of western horsemanship which has continued, unbroken, to this day. The American Indians, considered by many authorities to be the greatest horsemen the world has ever known, are documented as preferring Paints above all other horses. Cowboys, from time of the trail drives in the late 1800's through the present day, favored Paints and rode them whenever possible.
Organized in 1962 by a group of forward thinking horsepeople, the American Paint Horse Association is dedicated to the continuance, registration, performance, record keeping and promotion of the stock-type American Paint Horse. Beginning with only 250 registered horses and a membership of some 150, the APHA has become international in scope. During its 25th anniversary in 1987, the APHA had registered more than 140,000 animals, and membership swelled to nearly 25,000.
Some 84 affiliate American Paint Horse clubs promote activities on a regional, state, national and international level. APHA has affiliate clubs in Canada, Mexico, Australia, Germany and Italy, with several applications for affiliation pending. Many of these clubs maintain records of their members' annual show and race activities. Members of the APHA take active parts in these affiliated clubs by participating and by enjoying their horses and the people who associate with them.
American Paint Horse activities are varied. Many members participate in the show arena, breeding, racing, trail and pleasure riding and promoting the breed. During 1987, the APHA sanctioned 944 shows with 219,805 total entries in the various classes. In addition to the show program for adult exhibitors there are strong amateur and youth divisions.
The Amateur division for adults was formed in 1980. In 1987, the APHA issued 2797 amateur cards to American Paint Horse exhibitors who sought the opportunity to enjoy their horses while competing with their peers.
The American Junior Paint Horse Association, composed of young horsepeople under 18 years of age, elects its own national officers, sanctions a full slate of showring activities, hosts a National Youth World Show and names its own Youth World Champions in each event.
Racing, long a major interest with American Paint fans, is steadily gaining in popularity. During 1987, there were 320 APHA approved races with a total purse of $814,961. National Championship Maturity and Futurity races are held annually and attract widespread attention. Five states have approved pari-mutuel wagering for Paint racing: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma and Washington.
The APHA annually recognizes the outstanding show, contest and race animals through various awards programs such as the Register of Merit, Superior Horse, APHA Champion and APHA Supreme Champion.
Responsive leadership by elected officials, plus a service-oriented staff at the American Paint Horse Association headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, are an assurance of the continued growth of this breed Association. Actively promoting owner participation, the APHA has proven itself a people-oriented organization.
In the 25 years since the formation of the American Paint Horse Association, registered Paint Horses have taken their rightful place as one of the most popular breeds. They have demonstrated their ability on the ranch, in the showring, on the racetrack and in the arena. American Paints are equine athletes with a distinctively different coat pattern which sets each apart from all others.
PO Box 18519, Forth Worth, Texas 76118. 817/439-3400.