AHPA Current News

The National Horseman – AHPA Feature

Q&A with the Arabian Hunter Pleasure Association

How did the AHPA get started?

It started with an instant message conversation between Samantha Hilliard and Chelsea Wesson about two weeks before the 2016 U.S. Nationals. Then, Samantha and Chelsea had a two-hour conversation while Samantha was driving to Nationals. It is amazing what you can get accomplished when you know that so many were wanting this program to materialize. We knew many had talked about it on Facebook threads, but the coordination and timing hadn’t been right. Samantha and Chelsea are both passionate about Arabians and Hunter Pleasure, so they were both ready to commit the time and energy to get the ball rolling. People wanted a program that focused on the hunter pleasure horse, so we decided to have our inaugural meeting at Nationals to get a feel for what people wanted the program to look like. We had the basics, but just wanted to make sure that we were headed in the right direction.

When will the program start?

It officially started in November 2016, but we did not start accepting Founders until the end of December. Our class debut will be at the 2018 U.S. Nationals.

Who is on the Board of Directors? 

Samantha Hilliard, president; Chelsea Wesson, vice president; Josh Schildroth, secretary; Ashley Reimer, treasurer; Tom Theisen, Elizabeth (“Bitsy”) Jenkner, Tom Hansen, Cat McKenna, Abe Cotton

What is a “Founder?”

A Founder is an initial supporter of the program. The Founder is entitled to one purebred and one Half-Arabian slot each year in the program. Slots may be used by the Founder, sold or donated each year.

How many Founderships are available?

There are 50 available, and they are sold on a first come, first-served basis. We have already sold over 20 Founderships to date.

Who was your first Founder?

Our first official Founder was Lori Conway of Conway Arabians.

Who is eligible for the AHPA Futurites?

The Futurity classes will be open to 4-year-old Arabian and Half-Arabian horses.

When is the nomination deadline, and how much does it cost?

Horse nominations are due March 15th of the horse’s 3-year-old year and are $250 for Founders and $1,000 for non-Founders. Late nominations are due by July 15th of the horse’s 3-year-old year at a fee of $750 for Founders and $1,500 for non-Founders. There is also a third nomination deadline on October 15th. The fees will be $2,000 for Founders and $3,000 for non-Founders.

Will there be stallion nominations?

No. The AHPA has decided not to have nominated stallions; therefore, all horses born in 2014 and nominated in the program are eligible for the 2018 classes.

What is the payout?

Payout will be $75,000 to the purebred class and $75,000 to the Half-Arabian class. The payouts are as follows: 10th – $3,750; 9th – $4,125; 8th – $4,500; 7th – $4,875; 6th – $5,250; 5th – $5,625; 4th – $6,000; 3rd – $7,125; Reserve – $11,250; Champion – $22,500.

How will money be raised for the program?

Initial funds will be raised through our Founder payments, along with annual horse nominations. We have sponsorship opportunities, too, and more information will be forthcoming throughout the year. We also will have an annual auction to raise funds.

How many judges will be used to judge the class?

The AHPA Futurities will use a five-judge system. Five judges will be randomly selected from the AHA’s U.S. Nationals judging panels.

What is the judging criteria for the class?

Judging criteria will be in this order: quality, performance, suitability as a hunter, manners and conformation.

How will the class be run? 

It will technically run in two phases. The first phase will run the same as a Hunter Pleasure Junior Horse class and will account for 80 percent of the judging. The second phase will be a lineup
with stripping of tack and an in-hand trot for 20 percent of the judging. Horses will be required to strip tack and be assessed for quality and conformation as appropriate for a hunter. One
attendant will be permitted to assist with this. Riders will then be required to trot the horse out of the arena (still untacked). All entries will retire to the paddock to be re-tacked.

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