Arabian Horse World presents
A H A C a n d i d at e s
by anita enander
In November, our breed (and our country) will hold elections at a most critical moment in our history. There is, perhaps, more at stake than ever before. What can stop the decline and improve the future for the Arabian horse? Discussions within these pages (see “Where Have All the Arabians Gone? Your Turn” in the September 2012 issue, page 130) and through online forums and chat groups are filled with ideas. Who can bring together the diverse views and wide-ranging interests of breeders, owners, and trainers from a multitude of disciplines and set AHA on a path for growth? Next month, delegates to the annual AHA convention will have a choice of two candidates for President: Dale Harvill, currently AHA Vice President, and Cynthia Richardson, currently Chair of the Registration Commission and Region 8 Director.
Arabian Horse World invited Dale and Cynthia to share their thoughts about the breed, and their plans for leading AHA if elected.
How did you become involved with Arabian horses? Describe some of the highlights of your involvement since then. Dale Harvill: My son, Chase, after seeing “The Black Stallion” movie, insisted that I get him an Arabian horse. We bought two Arabian horses from Robert Vickers shortly after that, one for Chase and one for me. Chase and I spent many years together traveling and showing horses. We have much family enjoyment watching Chase, his clients, and others show. I love challenges and after many years away from horses practicing law, I showed in western pleasure, reining, and cutting as an amateur. We own, breed, and show 15 horses of our own, plus Chase trains horses for clients. I enjoy the beauty, intelligence, and great talent of Arabians and Half-Arabians, in many different disciplines. A special joy is how our horses bond with us as we go about caring for them. Cynthia Richardson: My mother always said my first word was “horse” and, honestly, I can’t remember a time when horses were not a huge focus of my life. I was hooked on Arabians from reading all of Walter Farley’s “Black Stallion” books and I made it a major goal to someday own an Arabian. As many did in the 60s, I started with a Half-Arabian and went on from there to become involved in all activities with my Arabians (training and showing, race conditioning, distance riding, club/regional/ national events, etc.) Please note that when I say Arabian, I mean all of our horses including the purebreds, Half-Arabians, and the Anglo-Arabians. Do you currently own Arabian horses and, if so, what activities do you enjoy with them? Dale Harvill: Yes, caring for them and pleasure and trail riding. We enjoy watching kids in our area interact with Arabian horses and introducing grandkids and other kids to learning to ride our Arabian horses. Our preacher’s wife says, if there were such thing as reincarnation, she would want to come back as Debbie Harvill’s horse. Cynthia Richardson: I have two geldings that I bred. Starovin (*Piaff PASB x Star Of Sonya) is five years old and competing in western
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Left: Dale Harvill of Magnolia, Texas, and That Cowboy Look (*Uranio x SX Joys Genii) with granddaughter Catherine Grace (Katie) up, and her dad Chase standing beside her. Above: Cynthia Richardson of Longmont, Colorado, with her gelding Starovin (*Piaff PASB x Star Of Sonya).
pleasure and halter, and his full brother Stars Reflection is four years old and will make his debut in working cow this week. (Although I sold my mares, I do have an embryo and hope to return to breeding in 2013.) When elected president, I will not show my horses nor will I judge Arabians. It is important that the AHA president does not have even the perception of a conflict of interest.
I enjoy the beauty, intelligence, and great talent of Arabians and Half-Arabians, in many different disciplines. A special joy is how our horses bond with us as we go about caring for them. — Dale Harvill
What led you to volunteer in AHA — and what has kept you involved through the challenges of the past years? Dale Harvill: Family fun, family values, love for Arabian and Half-Arabian horses and people in the industry. AHA members have been a driving force in urging me to volunteer and run for office. I value a positive future for the horses we represent and have the education, experience, and time to make a difference in the future of the Arabian horse. I have the time to work for AHA, and the skills to make a difference in the future. I started with nothing and managed, led, and succeeded in law and business. I want my kids and grandkids to experience the fun that my wife, Debbie, and I have with Arabian horses. Cynthia Richardson: The horses and the people keep me involved with AHA. We have an incredible horse and it deserves our dedication. I started volunteering for my local club
at 18. I was training a gelding and the owner was a show secretary. She enlisted my help as a “gofer” during a show and I have been going strong ever since. Tough times have just made me more motivated to help AHA and the Arabian horse become the leaders in the equine industry.
Describe one or two things you have accomplished with regard to Arabian horses that you feel good about — and that have helped the breed. Dale Harvill: I have helped keep AHA out of legal trouble. I have helped many of the Regions, clubs, AHA, and AHA members when my advice and legal expertise were needed. I helped Sweepstakes become a 501©(5) tax-exempt entity that is legal and operated legally and correctly, contrasted to the way it was operated for over 15 years before I was involved. I did the legal work to obtain the charter for the Horsemen’s Distress Fund, Texas Arabian Cutting Association, and the current Arabian Horse Foundation as a Colorado 501©(3). Cynthia Richardson: AHA activities run on the backs of volunteers, so any time spent in helping a club, show, event, committee, etc. is critical to the future of AHA and the Arabian breeds. A huge “thanks” to all of you out there for your time and efforts on behalf of AHA and the horses! Directly following the merger, I spent three years as the
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A H A C a n d i d at e s
examples of these characteristics, like chair of the Market Development and carefully packing around our walk/trot Promotion Committee. Since IAHA really For too long, the kids, winning the National Champion didn’t have any promotional program leadership has made Country English Pleasure class, partnering or money, this was an effort of seven assumptions about what with you out on the trail, working cattle individuals to start from scratch and build on the ranch, etc. a marketing program for AHA. The last is best without enough We need to share our horses with the four years, I have chaired the Registration input from the folks public and replace the old reputation of a Commission. The commission takes our who are out there high-strung, flighty horse with the much meetings on the road and combines them more accurate mantle of a breed that can with opportunities to meet and work with trying to enjoy their do anything for anyone. For example, our breeders — a key component of the horses. That must stop. many horse owners are currently looking AHA engagement with Arabian owners. — Cynthia Richardson for the family horse that they can enjoy Our breeders hold the future of the breed in or out of the showring. Currently the in their hands. majority of our breeders are breeding for On a personal note, Tevis was my first show horses and we need a market for the endurance ride. Looking back it was a bit ones that don’t fit that picture. Our horses are the perfect family crazy to start on arguably the toughest ride in the world. But I horse and, in fact, they soon become a part of your family. By had lots of help, a measure of true grit, and luck, which I used developing this market (family/recreational horse), it to finish 44th out of 250. Distance riding became a big part of will become a secondary market for our horses. This will my life and I was able to give back by chairing the endurance stimulate breeding. committee for five years. If you haven’t done distance riding, This diversity of use and desire to interact with humans are give it a try. It is a great chance to know yourself and your horse, the values of the Arabian horse I love to share with everyone I plus it is a blast to share in the camaraderie. talk to. What do you love most about the Arabian horse and Serving as AHA President in these times of economic what do you wish more people knew about the breed? downturn and social change is a tough job — why do What’s your best sales pitch for the breed? you want to do this? Dale Harvill: Arabian horses are living, beautiful, Dale Harvill: I embrace challenges and have been intelligent, works of art perfected during the last 5,000 years, successful starting and running for-profit businesses for many who bond readily with people and perform more disciplines years. I am working on a strategic and integrated business plan with excellence than any other breed. I use them for rounding for AHA that will make a difference and do not want to leave up cattle and find they have a lot of cow sense, and they excel until these plans are fully prepared and correctly implemented. in endurance. They are great with kids and are great fun to be These plans will have substance and potentially contain around on the property. They are truly the world’s family horse. “breakthrough” paths to success for positive results in number Cynthia Richardson: You can’t help but be of members, registrations, value of Arabian horses, and overall captivated by their beauty and grace, intelligence, stamina, and leadership and operations of AHA. athletic ability; but I love most their devotion to their handler/ Collaboration with Glenn Petty and professional staff is a owner. Nothing can lift my spirits more than to open that barn key to success. I intend to be proactive and do what it takes to door and be greeted by my best friends with their unconditional love. Arabians have a tremendously high work ethic and will be of help as an excellent CEO of AHA. About 85 percent of do everything in their power to please you. There are so many corporate strategic and business plans do not work because they 3 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b october 2012
I value a positive future for the horses we represent and have the education, experience, and time to make a difference in the future of the Arabian horse. — Dale Harvill
are templates by people who really do not know the business irreparably broken and needs a major overhaul? Dale Harvill: I say such talk is misguided. Do they for which they are planning and mandating well enough. We really know the internal structure, processes, and procedure will have a detailed communications and marketing plan to and the work AHA does at this time? I have been a director for perform our mission of service to our members, customers, eight years and vice president for four years and am familiar and clients with excellence. All media will be energized to with the way AHA works and the work AHA does. AHA is the benefit of AHA and its members, customers, and clients. certainly not irreparably broken and any fixing that needs done Our plans will be road maps to predictable success of AHA. I will be done in such a way that is productive, not destructive. would like to see each member of AHA recommend ownership Properly analyzed, any need for change in structure will become of an Arabian horse and a membership in AHA to friends, obvious from proper planning without trying to dynamite the acquaintances, family, and people with whom members come whole thing. I am not a “knee-jerk” kind of person. I think in contact. Person-to-person contact is a very good way to AHA has an excellent executive vice president in Glenn Petty, as advertise and market. Most of my business over the years has well as department heads and supervisors. Where improvement come from person-to-person referral. We cannot do much about is needed, I have the experience, know-how, and will to help the environment but we can do much about our response to the employees and AHA plan, get better and they will get better. environment and the outcome, E + R = O. AHA has improved a lot in recent years. We can all improve Cynthia Richardson: I know I can make a and we will. AHA is not broken and such gossip (complaining difference. Many people are unhappy with AHA currently. to someone who has no authority to change AHA) is harmful They have voted with their pocketbooks and either left Arabians to the future of AHA and the Arabian horse. We need to work completely or moved on to other opportunities to participate together for improvement. The smart thing to do is talk about with their horses. We need to really evaluate what AHA is doing, AHA as if it were our own business because it is the business of how it is getting things done, and if it is the best use of our every member to help make it better. resources. We have some good things we need Cynthia Richardson: I have to make better and we have totally neglected been asked a number of times, “Why not just some areas that interest our members. I want Ultimately, AHA let AHA fail and then use your energy to go anyone with an Arabian horse to belong to forward from scratch?” My belief is that we must minister to AHA and be part of our family. They won’t can save AHA. If AHA failed, then we might the needs of the stay or come back if we don’t offer them a never again be able to gather together those reason to belong, thereby making an AHA Arabian owners in members that don’t actively show or compete membership a good value. I will reach out (the majority of our membership). Each and all of their many every one of our members is important to to others to help determine what AHA guises, with their me. We need to give every member a friendly must do to welcome everyone and build welcome, many opportunities to enjoy their varied reasons unparalleled loyalty to our association and horses, and support throughout the ownership breed. Ultimately, AHA has to be a service for owning, and life cycle. Again, AHA is a service organization organization that ministers to the needs of the throughout the and must provide the very best value in Arabian owners in all of their many guises, range of ownership service to our members. We must eliminate with their varied reasons for owning, and the attitudes of “Oh well, the members will throughout the range of ownership activities. activities. — get used to it” and “The members don’t have Cynthia Richardson a choice.” They do have a choice and have How do you respond to people who proven it by walking away. We have value say the whole structure of AHA is 4 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b october 2012
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in the current AHA that we must deserve a judge with expertise in leverage, and in some cases rehabilitate, I am working on a strategic all disciplines. They also deserve an to better meet the needs of our and integrated business plan unbiased opinion. This is a situation customers (members). where perception becomes reality for AHA that will make a There are both strengths and for many and the current perception weaknesses in our current structure. sometimes is that the judge is partial difference and do not want Often it is frustrating to try to to leave until these plans are to a particular trainer, his/her friends, make changes when we have a very or future clients. I do think that the large board of directors and a yearly fully prepared and correctly judging is much improved from years convention to determine rule changes. past and that Stan Morey and the EEC implemented. — Dale Harvill This makes it very difficult to react are continually improving the clinics quickly to changing times. Some of our and training sessions. If professional committees are very active, while others judges are the will of the membership do almost nothing during the year. Our and will benefit the organization, clubs are our major strength. They are the ones that have day-to- then I would work to make that change happen. day contact with about 50 percent of our members. AHA needs to help to strengthen the clubs in their abilities to build affinity What’s something that AHA has gotten right, and to AHA and the breeds. what’s something new you’d like to try? We need to be willing to make changes. Could we do with Dale Harvill: AHA has gotten many things right. less than 18 regions? Should we consider a different format to Thanks to the effort of CPA Dave Corning, Treasurer, Brad our U.S. National shows? Why aren’t we doing more for the Short, Controller, and Lance Walters, Glenn Petty and the recreational rider? The list goes on and on. My leadership style Budget and Finance Committee, AHA finances are substantially is to put everything on the table for discussion, see what best in order and will be completely in order with a little more time. serves our membership, and then go forward. If I am CEO, AHA finances will stay in order and improve due Where do you stand on the idea of professional judges? Dale Harvill: In my twenty years of showing horses, I have gotten the gate as much as anybody. Never once did I think I got the gate because of politics or incompetence of our judges. My thought was that my horse and I needed to get better. Have I seen what I thought was error in judging? Yes, but very rarely. Judges are human and can make mistakes. I see no need for changing our judges and system. I have no proof that changing our judges would make any difference for the better. Stan Morey is doing an excellent job as Commissioner and I think we should support him and our judges in the job they are doing. Cynthia Richardson: It should be considered and I would like to see just how it would work. I have been a judge since 1985 while being both a professional and an amateur. I also judge several other breeds. Arabian shows demand a broader experience level from their judges than other breeds. Everyone complains about the size of our rulebook. Our exhibitors
to continued planning. No funds will be out of place once fixed in place if I am President. I know the legal way to do things and that is the only acceptable way funds will be handled. I want to see a groundswell of positive ideas and comments for the future of the Arabian horse and AHA since each is dependant on the other. I want to encourage members to talk to family, friends, and acquaintances about the awesome attributes of Arabian horses and encourage them to join AHA to ensure a bright future for the Arabian horse. We must post a list, to be seen by all, of the attributes of Arabian horses and the things of value from being a member of AHA. We must provide excellent service and properly focus our advertising and marketing like a laser when and where we get the most bang for our buck. Cynthia Richardson: Youth Nationals is one of the best decisions that we ever made. We need to better take advantage of promoting this event to the public. Seeing our young exhibitors on their beautiful horses will go a long way to proving that the Arabian is suitable to all — young and old.
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I would increasingly use our youth in advertising and articles to need to sit down and see how we can work together. For too promote the Arabian horse. I would also do everything possible long, the leadership has made assumptions about what is best to continue to improve the Youth Nationals to keep up the high without enough input from the folks who are out there trying to level of enthusiasm. If you have never been to Youth Nationals, enjoy their horses. That must stop. We don’t have the financial you should definitely go to the next one and the associated ability to change everything, but we can certainly get started. I Youth Convention. You will come am known as a communicator and away energized to work harder for I pledge to continue in that mode. the youth and our horse. If folks know the actual situation, Youth Nationals is one of the I want to offer more they will make a greater effort best decisions that we ever made to help. Together we can make a educational opportunities. Even the casual horse owner wants to ... our young exhibitors on their difference for the good of the horse. learn more about their horse (care, beautiful horses will go a long feeding, horsemanship, breeding, Why will the delegates who training, distance riding, etc.). way to proving that the Arabian know you vote for you? Just look at how many folks are Dale Harvill: Many of is suitable to all. — Cynthia willing to pay for horsemanship them have asked me to run for Richardson clinics. We need to offer more President because they think I can venues that feature Arabians as the make a positive difference. They demonstration horses and then know I am reliable, hardworking, invite the public. We have to toot honest, and have the experience our own horn with examples of how wonderful our horses can and intellect to make a positive difference. In fact, I have given be as well as help our current members to have a better time legal advice to a Region, a club, two members, and AHA this with their horses. Let’s be proud to own an Arabian and share last week. I am peer rated as very high legal ability, honest, and that with others! preeminent as a lawyer (AV Preeminent), the highest rating for a lawyer. I listen to the delegates’ ideas and talk with them Describe something you want to do soon after the honestly. election that will set the tone for your presidency. Cynthia Richardson: There isn’t a part of the Dale Harvill: Treat leadership planning as a way of life Arabian industry that I have not participated in over the years. and implement the plans to improve the value of Arabian horses, I have truly walked in your shoes whether you show, distance turn declines to inclines in value of horses, membership, and ride, race, manage shows, put on clinics, etc. You name it; I registrations. Plan the work and work the plan. have done it. Whatever I have been able to accomplish has Cynthia Richardson: We need to build AHA. always been a joint effort with a club, region, committee, or Membership and breeding are tied hand and hand — supply commission. Those I have worked with know that and will and demand — the more folks who purchase an Arabian, the support me because of it. I can’t possibly know everything and more the breeders will breed and the more members AHA will have always looked to others for their knowledge and insights. I have. I will reach out to the different groups that are involved have never asked anyone to do more than I’m personally willing with Arabians. We must build bridges and give these folks a to do. My fellow workers know my integrity and work ethic and reason to welcome AHA as a part of their function. I would they trust me. As President, none of that will change. A vote for like to meet with various groups to start this rebuilding process me will mean your commitment to help AHA grow because you as soon as possible. It might mean having a forum in Denver know I will be asking you to participate at many different levels. or my traveling to meet them on their own turf. Whatever is Together we will make a difference. I appreciate your vote of necessary, will be done. There is common ground and we just confidence in November. See you at the Convention in Denver. 6 b ARABIAN HORSE WORLD b october 2012