Horse Breeds Association Recreational Riding Programs

There are many advantages to participating in a breed association’s recreational riding program. Photo courtesy of the American Morgan Horse Association

Recreational riding programs have long been an essential part of the offerings of most horse breed associations, as they help attract and retain members. Program participants often praise the tracking logs as a way to keep track of time spent with their horse, and once milestones are reached, riders are presented with fun and useful prizes.

Unfortunately, many of these programs suffer from low participation rates. Breed associations want to change this by making horse owners aware of the variety of activities they can participate in with their horse. Whichever breed you choose, here’s what three of the country’s top breed associations have to share about their recreational rider programs.

Why participate in recreational horse riding programs?

There are various reasons why a fan of a particular breed of horse should participate in these recreational riding programs.

  • Owning a horse is not mandatory, and multiple horses can help save hours of time to accomplish important goals.
  • Participation time logs help participants keep track of their hours earned.
  • While some associations make a distinction between competitive and non-competitive hours and which can be included, typical examples of eligible hours include those spent hiking, training, participating in parades, taking classes. horse riding, etc.
  • Achieving a milestone level of success offers practical prizes that are different from those typically won in horse shows.
  • There is often no time limit on reaching milestone goals.
  • All costs involved are generally nominal.

Here are some examples of recreational riding programs offered by breed associations:

Appaloosa Horse Club

Keri LeForce, Supervisor of the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) Performance Department, believes that her organization’s Saddle Log / Driving Log program benefits the most ApHC members who do not regularly attend organized events.

“It’s an opportunity for them to get involved in the association and to be recognized for what they do,” she says. “It’s a way for them to maintain a connection with the breed association.”

Participating adult members pay an annual fee of just $ 25, while youth receive a one-time fee of $ 20. Membership in the Appaloosa Horse Club is required and, although ownership of the horse is not required, logged hours must be accrued while riding or riding a registered Appaloosa. Hours are tracked online or through a printable journal.

All program participants receive a patch. Subsequently, chevron bars are earned at the milestone achievement level. Although milestone achievement levels differ between drive and drive programs, common examples include 25, 50, 75, 100, 200, 500, 1,500, 2,000, and 2,500 hours. Examples of prizes won in addition to herringbone bars include brushes with engraved handles and achievement level embroidered items. Any time spent riding or driving, including participating in shows, training and hiking, is eligible to be included in the log and count towards the prizes.

Arab Horse Association

Current members of the Arabian Horse Association who enjoy riding their registered Arabian or Semi-Arabian horse are eligible to participate in the association’s Frequent Rider program. Members collect a one-time fee of $ 25 and log their hours online or through a printable journal. Similar to other breed associations, participants are not required to own their own horse, but can instead record their hours on any number of registered horses.

Recreational Horse Riding Programs for Horse Breeds - Arabic
Current members of the Arabian Horse Association who enjoy riding their registered Arabian or Semi-Arabian horse are eligible to participate in the association’s Frequent Rider program. Photo courtesy of the Arab Horse Association

According to Abby Carpenter, Awards and Show Results Coordinator at the Arabian Horse Association, participating members win awards at achievement levels as high as 25, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 2,500, 5,000, 7,500 and 10,000 hours. While each level of achievement earns a bridle tag, as the number of hours saved increases so does the value of the prizes, starting with travel mugs and going through photo frames, leather wallets, accessory bags, coolers and even a jacket at the highest level. Like most representatives of breed associations, Carpenter sees the benefit of allowing Arabian horses to promote themselves in a wide variety of recreational equestrian activities and would like to see even more members participate in the program. As an incentive, the AHA has updated a Recreational Riding Program where members will be able to record competition times of open shows, as well as non-competitive times.

American Morgan Horse Association

Recreational riding programs for horse breeds - Morgan
Some key differences in the American Morgan Horse Association program are that membership is not required and any time spent with a Morgan horse, not just time spent riding or riding, counts toward significant achievement. Photo courtesy of the American Morgan Horse Association

Known as My Morgan and Me, the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) takes a slightly broader approach to its recreation program. After some trial and error to find the most practical solution to host the program, the latest AMHA program guidelines now require members to submit a payment of $ 25 only when key milestones are reached. Gone are the days of one-time registration fees.

“Some program participants did not submit miles because they were not eligible for a reward,” said Carrie Mortensen, AMHA Executive Director. “It was confusing. Now when you hit a milestone, you send $ 25, whether it takes three years or three days to achieve success.

Participants can download the My Morgan and Me brochure, which includes a printable journal, from the association’s website. But it is not mandatory to use this form.

“When I did, I created my own spreadsheet,” says Mortensen.

Unlike other associations, the AMHA does not require that the logs be submitted when reporting a milestone. Journals are more for the member’s records and benefits.

“It’s an honorary system for us,” Mortensen explained.

Once the achievement has been reported, the participant receives rewards directly from the association’s headquarters or an electronic coupon for the AMHA marketplace where he can purchase t-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets.

“You can decide on the color and whether you want your name embroidered on it,” she adds.

When a participant reaches the highest levels of achievement, for example 10,000 hours, he receives a short report and is featured with his photo in the association’s magazine.

“We love people [of any achievement level] to submit electronic photographs with their application, ”he said. “When a candidate signs up for a milestone, we always feature them on our Facebook page if they include a photo.”

Other key differences in the AMHA program are that membership is not required and any time spent with a Morgan horse, not just time spent riding or riding, counts toward significant achievement.

“The majority of people who participate do not compete, they do trail running,” explains Mortensen. “They hang out with their horse at home. The majority, if they do a show, it is at the local level.

She said Morgan horses often have a long lifespan and the more flexible program requirements allow members to record time spent with an older horse that may no longer be in good condition, but that their owners still want to feel like they’re part of a bigger organization.

Have you participated in a breed organization’s recreational rider program? Tell us more in the comments below.


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