Frankly Speaking: Why Don’t You Take The Day Off?

orren-mixers-horseOrren Mixer’s horseI write this column a month in advance of its published date so, I can only guess at the outcome of the upcoming American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Convention. By now, all of you will have heard the news as to who has been elected to serve AQHA’s membership on the executive committee, board of directors, changes in the rules and other pertinent information that has been decided on during this annual meeting.

One thing you can be sure of is that the membership’s voice has been heard and they have had a chance to vote on the various committee reports (every member has the opportunity to attend the Convention, speak and vote). The new board of directors has met and the directors’ opinions have been voiced, their votes casted and the results recorded.

As always, now comes the time when many of you take the opportunity to criticize the actions taken at this meeting. That is your right to do so. The only problem that I see in this annual free-for-all is that the individuals who cry out the loudest are always the ones who don’t attend or participate in the process. You really can’t complain too much if you never take the time to craft your thoughts into words, either written or by voice, and make them known in the membership forum provided to you by your association.

As long as I have been involved in association business, in any of our several equine organizations, the same dynamic occurs right after the annual meeting. Complaint! It’s one thing if you are unhappy with the results of your association’s meetings and you are a member; It’s a whole different thing if you aren’t a member, or you are and you didn’t bother to make the effort to attend the meetings and voice your concerns on the issues. In other words, I say, “Attend and be part of the process, or stand down until you are!”

In regards to the recent AQHA Convention, why don’t all of you take a different approach? Especially this time, when the AQHA has fresh direction with the recent hiring of its new executive vice president, Craig Huffhines, along with the election of at least two new members of the executive committee (the passing of George Phillips caused a second vacancy). I ask that each of you give them and your association a little breathing room, for at least this year. Give them a chance to positively affect the AQHA’s future. At the end of 12 months, if you don’t view their actions in a better light, then let them know your concerns with constructive criticism in the proper course of action.

The AQHA faces many challenges. We – you, me, AQHA leadership and everyone involved with Quarter Horses – all have opinions on how to solve some, if not all, of those problems. If your thoughts and feelings are strong and you are passionate about the direction the AQHA is taking, ask to be considered for a committee appointment. Attend the convention and go to the committee meetings. Study the agenda and determine the topics that interest you most, then attend the meetings and listen and/or speak. It’s your right as an AQHA member!

In all my years of participation with the AQHA and its governance, I have never been witness to a single member being barred from attending the convention, any of the meetings or functions that surround the annual event. Everyone who has something to add or desires to comment has been afforded the opportunity to do so. After all, folks, it is your horse and your association! Don’t sit on the sidelines and let others dictate policy and direction if you don’t agree with what is being planned. Let the president, executive committee, board of directors, and membership know how you feel. Believe it or not, it really does make a difference. Plus, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you made your point and you were part of the process of steering your association in the proper direction.

The very real problem today is that few members, on a percentage basis, attend the AQHA Convention or any other equine convention. I’ll wager that most of you reading this column didn’t make it to Fort Worth for the 2015 AQHA Convention. Your ideas were never presented. Your opinions were never heard. As a result, the association’s membership is left with consequences that perhaps don’t reflect the wishes of the majority – the majority being all of you who chose to not attend the convention. The fix for this is simple: If you have a beef or you think you have something constructive to add, then ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE.

You just might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome!

As always, I remain,