Oklahoma City, OK- November 25, 2009 - This weekend the USEF highlighted its new National Affiliation with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) during a presentation of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) disciplines at the AQHA World Championship Show. Bobby Murphy of Kentucky Horse Shows LLC was brought in as the producing director for the USEF showcase, which was held on Friday, November 20. The event showcased the disciplines of eventing, show jumping, endurance, reining, dressage, combined driving, and para-equestrian.
Top riders were flown in from across the country to represent each discipline. Phillip Dutton has been a member of two Olympic Gold Medal teams and four world championship teams in eventing; Will Simpson was a member of the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal in show jumping; Valerie Kanavy has participated in five World Championships and won Individual Gold twice in endurance; Pete Kyle was part of the 2008 Silver Medal Reining team at the World Championships; Holly Bergay is vying for a spot on the 2010 WEG Para-Equestrian Dressage team; and Mike McLennan is ranked 5th in the nation and is also vying for a 2010 team spot in Combined Driving.
The event featured an exciting twist at the end, when Kyle re-entered the arena during the show jumping demonstration to the Toby Keith song, "Should've Been a Cowboy." Kyle offered his cowboy hat and challenged Simpson to ride his top reining horse, Gimme More Bucks.
The cowboy was evident in Simpson, and reining seemed to come naturally to him. The riders then all came back into the arena and spread the importance of the World Equestrian Games on American soil by throwing autographed prizes into the crowd. On the way out the ring, the AQHA presented the riders with gifts and a proud handshake for what had been accomplished for the horse industry in this partnership.
"There was a lot of symbolic meaning when putting this production together," said Murphy. "The moment that Will got on that reining horse a feeling came over every person in that coliseum, a feeling that we are the generations that decide the future meaning of the horse in this country, and it didn't matter what discipline you represented - a passion for our equine partners is universally the same."
Later that evening, the riders went on to sign countless autographed pictures at the USEF display, and the AQHA raffled off 2 tickets to the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Another great moment took place when Joanie Morris, Director of Communications - International High Performance for the USEF, and Brad Ettleman, the Reining Discipline Manager for the 2010 WEG, exchanged coats, with Morris sporting one from the AQHA World Show and Ettleman wearing a new red and blue USEF coat.
"As more and more equestrian organizations come together, we can develop a unified force to show the world that America has grown into one of leaders at International Equestrian Sport," said Morris. "During those 16 days at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, we will all get the opportunity to prove what these horses mean to America."
The AQHA is located in Amarillo, Texas, and has registered more than 5 million American Quarter Horses and serves more than 350,000 worldwide members. AQHA functions as the official governing body of the American Quarter Horse industry. This newly formed partnership is a giant leap forward in the progression of horse sport in the United States.
This new partnership is perfectly timed with the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) coming to the America in less than a year. On September 25th, 2010, history will be made when the first WEG held outside of Europe makes landfall in Lexington, KY, at The Kentucky Horse Park, which has recently taken on the brand identity as the number one equestrian facility in the world, and also the home of the USEF.
Kathy Meyer, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the USEF described it best when she said, "Whether we're talking about today, tomorrow, 2010, or beyond, its when we are all working a unified force that we can truly see the potential of our horse sports."