With more than 5,600 international members and 23 clubs and affiliates outside of the U.S. and Canada, the American Paint Horse Association’s scope is truly global. The international market is one of the fastest growing segments of the APHA, where men and women with a passion for the breed are raising, showing and enjoying their Paints from Australia to the United Kingdom. APHA’s international clubs have been especially active and successful in the past year. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from 2012. Italy
. Founded in 1987, the Paint Horse Club Italia (PHCI) marked 25 years as an APHA-approved affiliate July 14-15. APHA President Scot Jackson and APHA Executive Director Billy Smith traveled to Italy to present a commemorative plaque and commend the club’s efforts to champion Paints in Europe.
“They are very passionate about Paints in Italy,” Billy said, “and the club is always looking to expand and promote Paints. Such trips would not be possible without the United States Livestock Genetics Export (USLGE) funding that APHA receives and which is used to help promote Paint Horses internationally.”
PHCI enthusiasts reciprocated the anniversary recognition, gifting APHA with a plaque to honor the association’s 50th celebration and a PHCI-labeled bottle of champagne to be opened at APHA Convention, October 4-6 in Fort Worth, Texas. Austria
. The Austrian Paint Horse Association (PHA) celebrated both its 20th and 25th anniversary in 2012. While the APHA granted the club’s charter two decades ago in 1992, the PHA was actually founded five years earlier.
The club celebrated both milestones by hosting a free banquet for members, as well as sponsoring food, drinks and an Austrian band at the exhibitor party held during the European Championship last September. During that event, Director of International Affairs Lex Smurthwaite presented PHA President Franz Vorraber with a plaque commemorating the occasion.
According to PHA spokesperson Gabriela Hirschbichler, the club has 190 members today, including two of the original founding members. “We honored eight members for their long support to the club and gave them special plaques,” she said. “We also offered reduced entry fees at our two shows—the same price we had when the PHA had its first show.” Costa Rica
. Costa Rica joined Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Panama to become the fifth Latin American country with an APHA affiliate. The initiative was the brainchild of APHA member Jerry Thompson—originally from Texas and now living in Costa Rica—and APHA Executive Committee member Ron Shelly.
Last June, Shelly and APHA Executive Director Billy Smith traveled to this tropical paradise and met with President Victor Wolf and other officers of the Asciacion Criadores de Caballo de Campo y Deportivo de Costa Rica (Sport Horse Breeders Association of Costa Rica). Following a favorable recommendation by the APHA International Committee, the application for APHA recognition was approved by the Executive Committee on June 28.
The Costa Rican club currently has 20 members and hopes to host shows and clinics in the future. The country has approximately 45 APHA members and 25 registered Paint Horses, the majority tracing to American-bred stock.
Director of International Affairs Lex Smurthwaite says this is a significant milestone for the Association. “Costa Rica could serve as a focal point for growth of the American Paint Horse and the APHA programs in Central America,” he said.