Around the World With AQHA President Sandy Arledge

Fall is the perfect time for ranch production sales and great events in the American Quarter Horse industry across the globe.

While traveling to many places, the same message is heard around the world: People cherish their American Quarter Horse!

It’s the time of year that the big ranches hold their production sales, meaning it’s the perfect time to find a well-bred colt or filly for your herd. Flying north, the Sierra Nevada passed underneath as my plane made its way to Great Falls, Montana, the home of my friends and fellow AQHA Executive Committee member Stan Weaver and his wife, Nancy.

I attended the 22nd annual production sale at Weaver Quarter Horses in September and was treated to the sight of some mighty nice foals! These babies are raised the “old-fashioned” way, out on the mountainside, in the forests and on acres and acres of land. The mares and foals come off the range and the babies are handled a little before being hauled to the Montana Expo Park for the sale. The bleachers were full with standing room only around and behind the ring, and the bidding was spirited!

Standing in the pens of these fine colts and fillies is a horseman’s dream. If you love stout, good-boned pretty babies, pencil in a ranch production sale on your calendar next fall. The big ranches hold the history and heritage of the American Quarter Horse, and you will enjoy treating yourself to a snapshot of history! Most of the ranches are AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders who nominate their foals to be eligible to compete in Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges. The challenges help showcase the Ranching Heritage-bred horses and offer significant purses and prizes.

Over the course of the years, my friends and clients disbursed around the world. I’m fortunate to have friends in almost every state and several countries. While in Montana, I connected with Alida Tinch, friend and former client, who lives in Bigfork, Montana. After enjoying the sale, we drove to her home with stops along the way for various photo ops. The country is rugged and beautiful with mountain after mountain towering over crystal-clear lakes. I was also able to visit with my friend and former employee, Lynne Undraitis of Kalispell, Montana, while I was in town.

The two days were packed with side trips to horse farms, lakes and other points of interest. A few hours spent in Glacier National Park only whetted the appetite for more. What a remarkable country we live in!

I returned back to my home in San Diego, and after a couple days, I left for Aachen, Germany, and Q-16, the German National Championships, sponsored by the Deutsche Quarter Horse Association. I had attended Q-11 as an AQHA steward, so I was familiar with the show and facility. DQHA does a terrific job with this huge show and holds a full complement of classes, including all the rail classes, cutting, cow horse and reining. The Europeans are avid horse enthusiasts, and their favorite is the American Quarter Horse. There were large numbers of foals entered in weanling halter futurities. They also held a huge longeline futurity for 2-year-olds (2-year-olds are not shown under saddle in Europe) and an in-hand trail futurity for 2-year-olds that had 56 entries. The under-saddle trail futurity was for 4- and 5- year-olds and had more than 70 entries. The ranch riding classes were very large, as well, with more than 75 horses entered.

(Photos with Peter Beltz at the DQHA Booth and DQHA International Director Ullrich Vey at Q-16)

In addition to the show, a körung of the breeding animals was held, and I enjoyed watching the procedure. In Germany, all breeding stock is evaluated and graded by a team of judges and veterinarians for breeding quality. Every horse’s grade is a part of its permanent record and goes on its passport. Every horse in transport or presented at a show must have a passport that shows, along with its owner, pedigree and health history. It’s an interesting procedure!

The city of Aachen is a lovely, ancient city. The cobblestone streets and narrow passageways compliment the walls of the city and the Old Dom (the oldest cathedral in Western Europe), which was built around 790 AD. While there was not much time for sightseeing, I was able to see some of the city and the very ornate Dom.

This part of northwestern Germany is adjacent to the Netherlands and Belgium. There is a point just outside the city of Aachen where the three countries come together. There is no border control, and one can drive or walk into each country without any documentation or questions asked! The countries merely change languages as you pass over each border.

One of the things I enjoy about Europe is that well-behaved dogs are allowed anywhere! I have included a snapshot of a very nice hound that dined in the hotel restaurant with us every day.

Here’s some trivia for you: Do you know where American war hero General George Patton is buried? If not, you will be interested to learn that he died and is buried in an American National Cemetery in Luxembourg. He was killed there in an auto accident. There is a statue in his honor, and he is buried with 5,000 of his men who also perished in the war – I believe this would be a good Jeopardy question!

From Germany, I travelled to the All American Quarter Horse Congress, which celebrated the show’s 50th anniversary. There were several special events held at the Congress, including a Professional Bull Riders bull riding and the famous freestyle reining. Both had a packed house and kept the audience entertained. In addition, there was a luncheon for the para-athletes and a moving tribute for veterans. The AQHA booth did a terrific job helping folks with registrations, transfers and memberships, as well as general information.

(At Congress with AQHA Past President Ken Mumy and AQHA First Vice President Ralph Seekins)

Soon after that, I made my way back to Amarillo for the presentation of the beautiful bronze statue named “They Bred Good Horses,” donated by the Bell family in honor of Amy Doris Bell and AQHA Past President Roy Parks Sr.

While I was in Amarillo, the AQHA Executive Committee held its quarterly meeting, and we all attended the 50-Year Breeder Banquet held at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum. Shortly after that, it was time to head to Oklahoma City for the 2016 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show. If you missed any of the action at the Lucas Oil World, be sure to check out www.aqha.com/worldshow for great stories and awesome videos.

(Presenting the world champion award in the junior hunter under saddle at the Lucas Oil World. Journal photo)

While traveling to many places, the same message is heard around the world: People cherish their American Quarter Horse!

Until next time, I remain AQHA proud!

 (Receiving my AQHA World Show ring, presented by Alex Ross and Pete Kyle. Journal photo)