American Paint Horse
Association turns fabulous 50
—The American Paint Horse Association (APHA)
officially turns 50 years old on February 16, 2012, commemorating a breed
association that has registered more than one million horses.
began as the brainchild of a unique horsewoman, Rebecca Tyler Lockhart of
, in the early 1960s. An avid admirer of beautifully colored horses of sound
Western stock horse conformation,
spoke up against the prevailing establishment and advocated the start-up of a
Paint, stock-type horse registry. Overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds and
almost unanimous disagreement from breeders, she began her quest for a breed
registry at informal get-togethers in the kitchen of her home.
on, the group, which had grown to 16 strong, gathered at a café in
and laid the groundwork for the American Paint Stock Horse Association (APSHA).
Incorporated as a nonprofit organization and managed by an executive committee
and board of directors, the fledgling association had attracted 150 members and
registered 250 horses by the end of 1962.
notable early APSHA registrations include Bandit’s Pinto, a 3-year-old tobiano
stallion, who had the honor of being registration Number 1. The first 20 APSHA
registration numbers were reserved for stallions, but Lockhart reserved Number
21 specifically for a flashy tobiano mare named Calamity Jane, who won fame in
the Quarter Horse-dominated cutting arena by being named the NCHA Paint Horse of
the Year for three years running. Lockhart declared that the mare “was an
example to the entire world of all that a Paint Horse could be.”
first registered gelding was a 1957 chestnut overo named Wahoo King, who began
his career as a top roping horse. Campaigned at halter by Junior Robertson, one
of APSHA’s founding members, the striking gelding attracted a legion of fans
to the new association.
the same period, an offshoot of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA)
called the American Paint Quarter Horse Association (APQHA) had been formed in
to register non-solid colored foals resulting from the mating of two Quarter
Horses. AQHA would not register these horses with excessive white markings,
sometimes called “cropouts,” thinking that such markings were a sign of
June 3, 1965, the two organizations merged to become the modern day American
Paint Horse Association, with headquarters in downtown
. By the end of that year, APHA had 1,350 members and 3,800 horses in its
registry. The new registry began registering horses starting with Number 2,600,
which went to Tuff Cat, the colt that won the National Championship in the 1964
Stallion Class at the national show in
with championship breeding, Yellow Mount’s (registration number 3,300)
contribution to the breed is second to none. Owned by Stanley and Jodie
, the big red dun overo stallion has contributed a total of 102,963 descendants
to APHA’s registry, accounting for 10.1% of the total. The image of his head
has become the face of APHA and is used on all logos.
1963, regional Paint Horse clubs have brought the ideals of APHA—a friendly
atmosphere, a high regard for its members, enrichment of Paint Horse ownership
and the promotion of family values—to horse enthusiasts at the local level.
Beginning with six clubs, the network of Paint Horse clubs has grown to 111
active regional and international organizations.
first glimmer of a youth-based Paint Horse organization began in 1971, when an
enthusiastic group of 40 young people representing 12 states met in
. APHA began offering Youth memberships in 1972 and that number has grown to
almost 6,000 members.
premier event—the World Championship Show— has evolved through the years and
looks quite different today than at its 1963 inception. A traveling national
horse show until 1985, the early years featured many firsts—the popular APHA
Queen contest, first show held east of the Mississippi River (Lexington,
Kentucky), first five-judge show, and unprecedented growth. In 1996, the
, became the World Championship Show’s permanent home. In 2009, APHA debuted
its dual-show format, offering a primarily Youth show in June and an Amateur and
Open show in November.
have made their mark on the racetrack as well in the last 50 years. In fact,
they were raced long before official recognition of the sport by APHA in 1966.
That year there were nine official races for a total of $1,290 in purse money.
Today there are close to 500 official races per year with a total purse money
exceeding $4 million.
the horse breeding business continued to transform at a rapid rate, APHA assumed
a leadership role, stepping to the forefront of Western breed registries. In
1997, the American Paint Horse Association became the second largest equine
breed registry, second only to AQHA. APHA was the first Western horse breed to
allow the use of transported cooled semen and was also the first to make online
foal registration available to its members.
Association has many events scheduled for this milestone year. On February 16, a
reception will be held at the Chili’s restaurant in
, site of the old Curtwood Motel, one of the places where the founders met to
plan the new association back in 1962. Memorabilia will be hung in the
restaurant and a historical marker is planned for the site.
anticipation of the anniversary, APHA recently created a Hall of Fame at its
international headquarters in
, and an inaugural class of 25 members and 25 horses will be inducted into this
Hall of Fame at the Association’s annual convention in October. APHA has
created a 50th Anniversary Gist Silversmith belt buckle, as well as a
50th Anniversary calendar detailing the history of the Association.
Both items are available through APHA’s General Store.
dedicated staff, executive committee, board of directors and members all look
forward to an exciting year of celebration and will continue to work tirelessly
to move the Association forward through the next 50 years and beyond.
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