To take advantage of all four associations coming together for this year’s Super Convention (AHHS, AMHA, ASHA, UPHA) to be held February 9-13 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA, a new format will be used for the traditional educational forums. Instead of breaking out into separate groups for different topics, there will be one two-day “conversation” regarding the Past, Present and Future of the American Saddlebred, Hackney Pony and Morgan Horse.
Beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 9, the respective associations will give a brief history of their breeds. From there the conversation will go into the “Present” with the noted equine promoter Patti Colbert leading the discussion. The American Horse Publications Association named Colbert the 2014 Equine Innovator of the Year. That afternoon the conversation of the “Present” continues with several industry related topics and professionals (vets, blacksmiths, trainers, breeders, media experts) leading the discussion and answering questions from the attendees.
On Saturday the conversation will focus on the “Future” and that will begin with Jay Hickey from the American Horse Council updating us on legislation. Again, that conversation will take place in the morning and continue that afternoon.
All in all there will be six hours of conversation on topics such as:
• How Technology has changed the industry, both for the good and bad.
• Trends: among other things, discussions on clothing, saddles, and “the look” for equitation. Also, there is a discussion on the importance of keeping up with the changing times without losing the tradition of our breeds.
• Marketability – the need to find more avenues for our show horse breeds to be useful. There is a look at opening up a better network within the breeds, but especially within disciplines to help find every horse an appropriate job, whether that is a show horse, a sport horse or a backyard trail horse.
• Lesson Programs – the future of the industry! How do we get more people to want to teach and not just want to be trainers?
• Breeding Programs – discussion on the trend of dropping registration numbers with all the breeds and how to turn that trend around.
• Open Horse Shows – discussion on the importance of cohesiveness between the show horse breeds. How do we combine efforts so we all work together to grow the sport of showing horses.
• Self Promotion – discussion on how to promote to the general public and other horse avenues (racing, hunter/jumpers) to sell them on the romance of our disciplines.
• Public Perception – continue to find a way to educate others about the difference between us and breeds that are in the spotlight for cruelty as well as how to deal with the animal rights activists.
• Doing A Great Good – discussion on how to do a better job of “tooting our own horn” for all of the great work that has been done with programs like Ribbons Of Service for St. Jude’s Hospital and the Pink Ribbon Program, which raised so much money for breast cancer research.
• Taking Care of Athletes – discussion on proper training and maintenance (vet work, shoeing, etc.) for both the horse and riders (workout programs).
These will be some of the highlight topics that will be discussed among the attendees and professionals. The idea to bring this all together as one continuous conversation came from several committee meetings and the idea that we should all be sharing in this knowledge in order to ensure the healthy future of our respective breeds and disciplines.
“This is everyone’s chance to be heard and to share knowledge among our various breeds and interests,” said Forums Chairman Gary Garone. “Instead of just lecturing on these subjects this will be a ‘structured conversation’ with various professionals there to give feedback and answer questions on the topics. The fact that it will be held over a two-day period in four different sessions will allow for attendees to discuss these topics in between sessions and come back with ideas.
“We invite everyone to be in Boston and be a part of the solution!”
To register for the Convention go to www.TheSuperConvention.com. Register by January 18th to receive the lower rate.