The benefits of being involved in equine organizations
Photos courtesy of NQHA
Horses are one of those animals that serves a variety of purposes, from friend to competitor. Owning a horse is a great joy for many people, and the opportunities to interact with these gentle giants can be addicting. In Nebraska, there are several organizations that people can become involved with, and share their love of horses with others.
One organization that people can join is the Nebraska Quarter Horse Association. This is a group for anyone who is involved with quarter horses, and is interested in showing or even just supporting the breed.
“The basic function of our organization is to put on horse shows. We have several that we are in charge of organizing. They all have points that are counted toward end of the year awards,” said Debby Brehm, President of the NQHA.
She continued, “We have a big awards dinner and banquet, and give out prizes to people who have won during the year and accumulated points.”
Everyone who works at the association is a volunteer, and does it because they believe in what the organization has to offer. “NQHA welcomes everyone with open arms. We are a fun group of people who have fun at the horse shows. Everyone is a competitor inside the ring, and everyone is a friend outside the ring. We want to help people out. We all have the same goals in mind, and that is to have a successful horse show and have fun,” she said.
Brehm has been involved in NQHA for many years, and continues to stay because of the competition. “I’m very competitive and I love to show. I am very active with my daughter showing as well, and I’ve loved watching her show and cheering her one. I show halter and she shows halter and the all around,” Brehm said.
The shows offer both youth and open classes, and competitors accumulate points over the course of the year. Showing at the NQHA show also allows members to qualify for the AQHA World Show, which is held in November in Oklahoma City every year.
“Our shows are used to qualify to come to world show. We take the best to the world show. We have a youth world team, as well as many individuals who compete. There are quite of few of us that come down every year. A lot of Nebraska is down here competing,” she said.
In addition to showing, the association also has a recreational riding committee, that puts together events for those who do not want to show. “This year we did add that committee, and they put on trail rides. AQHA was pushing recreational riding, so we wanted to make sure to have that available to our members,” she said.
There are also many members who do not compete or trail ride, and are involved because they love the breed. “We do have a lot of ranchers and breeders who have the true cow horse aspect of the association that support the breed,” Brehm stated.
The association has around 275 members located all across the state. “We have tried to increase this year and I think we have done a pretty good job,” she said.
The cost to join is $40 for an individual, or $60 for a family. Members receive the magazine put out by the association, which comes out 10 times a year. They also become eligible to win prizes at the banquet.
The banquet is held each February, in conjunction with the Nebraska Rope Horse Association. “We started that last year and because it was such a success, we decided to do it again. It works out well for camaraderie and developing friendships,” she said.
The Nebraska Rope Horse Association is another group that people can become involved with. “Our association is the only rope horse association in the country. As far as being involved in the horse shows, we have special events we put on,” said Jeff Straight, Vice President for the association. “We take $1 from every run on the cattle charge, and provide year end awards with that we try to put on a good show. We have guys that come up from Texas and they enjoy how they are treated, and it’s just a bunch of run ropers”
“The Nebraska Roping Horse Association is an incorporated non-profit organization established in 1991 for the purpose of promoting calf roping and team roping at both AQHA shows and regional jackpots,” according to their website.
The goals of the association are to enhance the image of roping across the state, increase the quality of the roping and to increase the number of people who participate in the roping events.
“All approved quarter horse shows in the state of Nebraska, as well as several shows in Iowa and South Dakota, are pointed for the association’s year-end awards program. Pointed events are heading, heeling, calf roping in open, amateur and youth divisions, and Breakaway for the amateur and youth divisions. Participants in the awards program must be members of the association and must have paid a nomination fee per event,” the website states.
It continues,” Trophy saddles are awarded to first place in any event with 10 or more nominations. Other prizes are awarded for second, third and fourth places.”
Last year, a new limited amateur division was added. “We added that division for those who were first time competitors and wanted to get a feel for what the events are like,” said Straight. “It gives them a chance to get their feet wet.”
This organization is also run by it’s members. “It’s run by ropers. It’s a good bunch of guys who have been in the business for a long time and just have fun,” he said.
The association holds a special roping event each year called the Ray Warren/Tom Forst Memorial Roping. This event is held in honor of Ray and Tom, life-long horse enthusiasts who supported the sport of roping. “Proceeds from this event are used to fund the NE Roping Horse Association $750 memorial scholarship. All high school seniors in the state of Nebraska are eligible for this scholarship,” according to the website.
“The NE Roping Horse Association is a family oriented organization. Good competition, good sportsmanship, and good friendships are benefits of joining,” stated the website.
“If you want to be involved showing quarter horses and showing at jackpots, this is a great organization to do that with. This is a great organization to learn about showing horses. There are a lot of people who will help you out and give you any advice that you want. I’ve been going to these shows for over 10 years, and I still enjoy it,” Straight said. ❖