AQHA Executive Director Craig Huffhines speaks at the general meeting on Saturday at the association's annual convention. • Photo by Molly Montag.

AQHA Convention: New Computer System, Website Key to Organization’s Future

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) will soon be implementing a new computer system and rolling out an enhanced website aimed at providing members a more efficient, customized experience in their interactions with the Amarillo, Texas-based organization.

Craig Huffhines, executive vice president of the association, revealed details of the improvements, and how they will work together, this week at the AQHA Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Our mission as an AQHA organization is truly to serve and support the American Quarter Horse and a global horse community. That goes beyond 8-5, Monday through Friday, Amarillo, Texas time,” he told convention goers on Saturday. “I mean, we are truly a global organization and in order to better to serve the global organization, a massive equine industry, things have to modernize.”

Modernizing meant upgrading the organization’s 27-year-old computer system, which Huffhines said dates back to 1991. He said the upgrade is being done in conjunction with a revamp of aqha.com that will allow members to conduct more business online.

The two changes, which are set to occur this summer, will result in a website that, among other things, enables members to go online to pay invoices, research available foal names and update their contact information. It also will provide an online notification system to alert members to paperwork problems – and tell them what the issues are – so problems can be resolved more quickly, Huffhines said.

“If you had a hiccup in a transfer or hiccup in a registration, there’ll be a way for you to go find out what that hiccup is about,” he said. “It’s going to send you a notification and you can go on site, pull up the report and say, ‘Oh, forgot a signature.’ Or, this foal doesn’t have a birth date or that birth date’s wrong.”

The site also will allow for online entry of the AQHA World Show.

“This is going to be a product that’s on the website so you can go back in there [and] you can pick out your class that you’re interested in,” Huffhines said. “It’ll set up a billing for you. You’ll be able to pay your entries right online, and so this is a nice little feature and eventually we want this to be on an application where you can carry it around on your phone.”

The AQHA also is exploring smartphone applications to deliver personalized information such as real-time show results or notifications about accomplishments by a particular horse or rider. An area of particular interest is barrel racing, and Huffhines said the AQHA has received positive feedback from barrel racing organizations about an app’s potential interest to participants.

He said those projects, and many more other possibilities that data could allow AQHA to do, are all about taking AQHA’s information and using technology to get it to the members in a way that will be beneficial to them and provide new services that can create new memberships for the organization.

“Data’s big, and tying that information together to create an experience where you check in a show and your Coggins report gets pulled in…How remarkable will that be,” he said, of the possibilities data could provide. “The technology’s available where you can tie Coggins reports to your performance record. It’s available. We just need to roll up our sleeves and move forward on it.”

The AQHA convention concludes Monday with the membership business meeting, which will include reports from a number of committees that met over the weekend, and the Board of Directors meeting.

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