Describe your involvement in the Arabian horse breed as a volunteer, and what your accomplishments are:
The Arabian breed has been the focal point of my life since I was seven years old when my parents acquired a purebred Arabian after an initial stint with a pony and a Quarter Horse. Growing up in the world of Arabian horses, my parents demonstrated a commitment and my mother in particular modeled the rewards of volunteerism. By the time I graduated from the youth ranks, I was already serving as a delegate to the AHA Convention and that was the start of it. Having received so much from the Arabian horse and having been exposed to so many of the disciplines I felt the need to give back to the industry that had already given so much to me. It didn’t take long to get involved at the regional level volunteering for various committees and demonstrating the commitment to deliver results and keep people involved in the process.
Over the years, gaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Communication and leading other non-profit organizations offered me opportunities, trainings, challenges, and successes all pertaining to leadership as a volunteer. I can’t say thank you enough to Tri Delta Fraternity and the Association of Junior Leagues International, specifically the Reno league, for all they have provided to my professional development.
All of that background has significantly impacted the way I have approached volunteerism at the Arabian Horse Association and the outcomes I have seen from all of the opportunities I have had. As a regional director I felt very strongly about the fiduciary duty to the region and its members, volunteers and fiscal success as well as the bigger picture of the AHA, the breed, its members, volunteers and financial responsibility.
The region brought on several new programs during my leadership (Performance Futurity, Silver Sire, Out-of-Region qualifiers) that were beneficial to the championship show because they led to increased participation from not only our own regional members but also our surrounding regions members.
As Director, I began a Mini-Convention and it has held for four years and was very well supported each year and involved members who had not previously volunteered or participated on a regional level before. It was exciting to see the growth of volunteers in the region. I am proud to say I have been an integral part of each of the three Conventions that have been hosted by Region 3 in Reno, Nevada. Each of the Reno Conventions had excellent attendance and thus the outcomes were achieved because of the large number of delegates and attendees that supported them.
On an AHA level of volunteerism I have had the opportunity to serve in many capacities with several great accomplishments. In the last three years I have served as the Chair of the Equitation/Showmanship Committee. I am humbled to serve as the chair and the talents and commitment of our committee continue to inspire me to excellence as their leader. We have taken on many tasks and our endeavors touch not only every show from the local and regional level to also every national show and every judges school and seminar. We have accomplished development of new patterns in every discipline. We have clarified and updated every section of the Equitation Manual. This one is very special to me in that my mother began the first production of the Equitation Manual when she served as the Equitation Committee Chairman for the IAHA.
Another significant accomplishment for our committee is the development of Showmanship. We have seen resolutions passed to bring this division to international standards and we are currently training and educating our judges, stewards, trainers, exhibitors and public in this discipline. This has been a huge collaborative effort and I couldn’t be more proud of the work of our committee’s members. By the end of 2016 the effort to align all Equitation/Showmanship documents (manual, seminar/school training, USEF/EC rules, judging notebooks, documents and scoresheets) will be complete. This has only been a credit to the collaborative effort of the Committee, the Judges and Stewards Commissioner, the Education and Evaluation Commission and the AHA President. Finally, this Committee has seen the efforts of its members rewarded in the development of adult equitation and showmanship classes from local shows to regional shows to Scottsdale, Canada and United States National Championship Shows. These efforts truly further engagement of people involved with the Arabian breed. We have been successful in bringing these important issues forward and getting the Arabian community together to advance our breed.
The Market Development and Promotion Committee holds a special place in my heart as we all know as small business owners, we must always cultivate new individuals to our Arabian breed. I have been honored to serve on this committee since 2008 and I am looking forward to the outstanding new initiatives for 2016.
Another committee in which I volunteer is the Agenda and Resolutions committee that is appointed by the President of the AHA. There is quite a qualification list you must pass in which to serve, and I was honored when Lance Walters asked me to serve on this committee. I am always happy to help our resolution proponents move their resolutions through the process prior to and during Convention. There is a lot to be done each year to gain consensus in the body bringing forward the resolution and ultimately consensus with the delegates at the Convention.
The Nominating Committee is one committee that I happened upon by my Regional Director stepping up to the microphone at a Convention to nominate me. I didn’t know what I was getting into, but of course I said yes to AHA. At this point in AHA history the committee solicits nominations and self-nominations to the Executive Committee.
In spring of 2013 I was asked to serve on the Strategic Planning ad hoc committee. This was an incredible honor and I was very enthusiastic to serve on this visionary committee. There is such an incredible balance of volunteer service to understand any organization in its “weeds” level and then to also have the ability to see at the 30,000’ level 5-10 years ahead of the moment in which we sit.
Most recently Cynthia Richardson placed me on the Budget and Finance Committee of the AHA. I am very excited about the service as it will expand my business acumen in our association and continue to expand my competencies as a volunteer in our organization.
Of course, based on my involvement with the youth segment of our industry I served on the Youth Committee and the Youth of the Year Selection Committee. I am very proud of what our AHYA continues to do and I support and mentor our youth as they begin their service as volunteers in the Arabian industry.
During my time on the Board of Directors of the AHA I was placed on the Competitions Advisory Committee. This was a very active committee, who met on the day before every Board meeting to discuss any concerns, issues, and opportunities in the recognized events of the AHA.
As a professional in the industry since 1995 I have always been a member of the Professional Horseman committee, but due to my obligations in other areas I have always felt this committee has had the best of our professionals in our leadership roles and it is in great hands!
Finally, there is the Working Western Committee. I have served as Vice Chair for many years on and off again and I love judging all the working western events and I am of course always ready to show a working cow horse. I have had the pleasure of owing several great ones and it is always inspiring to adjudicate this division at our national events. This committee is one of the most effective at the AHA and I am always proud of its leadership!
A little closer to home, I have served Region 3 as a Director, Vice-Director, Secretary, Youth Coordinator, Judges Selection & Scholarship committee chair. To further promote the breed, I am a director on the board of Silver Sire Breeders.
Lastly, my attainment of getting so many diverse, qualified people to come together for the betterment of the breed and to come to consensus is personally rewarding. It is an amazing accomplishment when you see a team of people do this for the betterment of the breed and our industry and I am so proud to have been a catalyst for this to occur.
What are some of the highlights and successful moments involving the Arabian horse for you in 2015?
In terms of engaging people who have not had a connection with the Arabian breed we have 37 new clients who joined the riding academy in 2015. We changed their lives each and every time they rode our horses during the 2,966 lessons we completed in 2015. More rewarding was the fact that many of our riders have stepped it up into competition and leasing. We are proud to be able to offer a way for all socioeconomic classes to have a way to participate with the Arabian breed. We offer a unique billing methodology that allows our clients to pay a monthly fee that includes leasing, lessons, and the show fees for the shows they are attending. It is a levelized system that is completely up front and it is allowing new people access to the wonderful Arabian horse. Many times this has led to the most logical next step of our business model – new owners and members to the AHA.
Some of the most successful moments in 2015 for me were more personal in nature. In January I was setting the course for all our riders and matching them with horses for the competition season. This is the most exciting time to see the talents of each rider and horse become committed to the show year. In 2015 we had the pleasure of working with several outstanding training horses and it was a pleasure to see them develop throughout the year. In February I had the pleasure of adjudicating the Scottsdale show on panel 2 – Western Performance. It is always an honor to serve at this level and to have been selected again for my knowledge, skills, abilities and integrity. Spring was filled with all levels of horse shows from our entry-level students at Arabian Community Shows to various shows in Region 3 leading up to Regions 2 and 3. We had several shows with 4-5 brand new competitors in walk-trot each determined to improve and move forward with Arabian horses. Summer brings on our regional season along with summer camps. We have the “fun” camps and “show” camps and I am always pleased to see the appreciation and knowledge gained by our eager participants. This competition year, we had very good results and those that have purchased Arabian and Half Arabian horses have had a fantastic time – learning, appreciating and competing.
While it is always exciting to see people win ribbons with their horses it is always heartwarming to celebrate in the smaller wins. I taught a new horse owner, who is 68, to canter her very talented and young Country English Pleasure horse for the first time. I get intense joy in watching our “Saturday and Sunday” girls. Simply, they come to the barn (instead of the mall) and hangout helping with tasks. Our barn had a regional youth scholarship winner and I’m extremely happy to see her doing so well in college because of the assistance of Region 3. I have developed a teaching model at the barn where they are all “from the ground up” and are providing the highest level of teaching and coaching. It is this mentoring that I believe will continue to develop our best teachers, trainers, volunteers, leaders and ambassadors for our Arabian breed. And, as always, as all trainers are aware, I continue to act and support these fine children when times are hard at home. I work with the parents to help them through some very tough times.
One of the biggest things we discussed and focused upon in 2015 is the promotion of our tagline “Where it is more than riding a horse…” From my background and teaching at the University of Nevada in communication study, I am always intrigued by the ongoing research in the field. There is concern with the use of technologies as a medium of communication, particularly for the younger people. Studies have shown that young people are lacking the development of empathetic communication due to their amount of conversations via text. They are missing the value of face-to-face communication where you can see the emotion of the other person when you are delivering a difficult message. This is where RTEC is really fulfilling a community need. Our arena is a phone free zone and we believe the Arabian horse can fill the void and teach our children the skill set of empathetic listening and communication. The Arabian horse is a great communicator and I am excited to see how we can make a difference in people’s lives every day thanks to our Arabian horse.
Ultimately, each and every day at RTEC is in its own way a highlight and successful moment. I cherish every moment with our horses and our students/clients. I consider myself very lucky to be in a position to help develop these horses and students to their potential
3.) If someone were to describe you, what would they say about you?
I would like to say people would say that I am a team player who isn’t afraid to help out to get the job done. They would say that I have the highest ethical standards and am respected by my peers within the AHA, Delta Delta Delta and the Junior League of Reno. I would believe they would say that I have the skills to act as a situational leader for AHA when there is a conflict or a non-critical decision to be made. Based on many situations I believe they would say that I am dependable, efficient, hard working, dedicated, organized, and always reliable to deliver the results of the task at hand.
I would like to cite a few testimonials from letters I have received in the past year from my students as this is what they have said furthering their love of Arabian horses.
• I have always loved horses, but these past few years with you as my trainer have inspired a true passion that I know will never leave me. Riley
• You have always been there for me as a mentor and someone I have and always will look up to. I am so grateful for every single opportunity you have given me. Emily
• It has been three years since Diva’s death, yet not a day passes when I do not think of her. I now know that Diva was placed in my life for a reason: Looking back at my time spent with her, I realize just how greatly she shaped the person I am today. As an equestrian Diva taught me the importance of being calm in the saddle. She taught me how to feel the horse underneath me to make riding a partnership rather than simply “sitting along for the ride.” As a person, she gave me a fierce determination’ an assurance that I can achieve any goal I set my mind to. Furthermore, Diva installed me with a love of all the complexities of the Arabian horse – from its tender sensitivity to its lovely proud spirit. – Erica
These statements are just the tip of the iceberg of reasons why I do what I do.
Finally, I met my husband on an airplane while flying to judge the US Nationals in its last year in Louisville, KY in 2006. Jim didn’t know anything about horses, but after the past ten years, he gives the best birthday party in the business. I am so proud of his love for the Arabian horse!