Friday, May 1, 2020

Some Thoughts On The Pinto Association and Appaloosas

                                                Twisted as Heck, 2017 ApHC grulla stallion
As some of you are aware, The Pinto Horse Association has now opened their doors to the registration and showing of regular registry Appaloosas (and POAs) in their Solid Color classification (which is now a bit mis-named, but that's hardly an issue right now). It's a lot to think about.
Even 20 years ago, the idea of registering an Appaloosa with Pinto was ludicrous. Insulting, even. It was a place for that solid gelding with high whites to go show and conveniently never be referred to as an appaloosa. But these days, it's more complicated. The reason why we think this will be a successful move on Pinto's part is that, ultimately, ApHC has not been doing their part as custodians of our great breed.
There's little point going to ApHC shows anymore if you don't run in the judge/trainer circles. You can show just about anywhere else and have more fun, get better prizes, get more recognition, and spend half the money (or less!). The World Show and Nationals are shadows of their former selves. Show and point fees are so high, and politics so heavy, that it's pretty much the same people that have been competing and winning the last decade. We breed for the open circuit, and our horses do quite well there, so we don't feel the hurt as bad, but we do miss the breed community- seeing an apaloosa at a show besides us is like spotting a unicorn!
The ApHC has also driven away members year after year by taking away beneficial programs (the payouts the performance permit were supposed to fund, for starters), being difficult about upgrading papers, even with test results RIGHT in front of them, and not caring if horses continue to fall through the cracks. After working with breed associations that do EVERYTHING to try and keep track of horses and keep owners motivated and included in the community, the ApHC feels like poorly drawn imposter of what it once was.
So that brings us back to Pinto. If ApHC won't pick up the slack and give back to the community, someone's gonna step in and fill that niche. That someone is apparently Pinto. We've heard rave reviews about their show systems, their community, their show prizes, how much fun they are. The hard truth is that there's no point looking a gift horse in the mouth. We want our foals to do well wherever they go. And if they ended up dual registered with Pinto, we'll support them all the way! Some of the old guard may be rankled, and it certainly is a bit of an initial gut punch to those of us that have been around a while.
But, more places to take your Appaloosa bloodstock increases their value. Access to fun shows with good prizes may mean that folks that left the breed for greener pastures may return. People may buy your ApHC foals to put Pinto papers on them and never look back. Anything that allows them to keep their breed identity SOMEWHERE and still have value is a blessing.
The breed sadly needs a boost like this. The owners and breeders need another market. They need an expanded community. They need access to the kind of stuff that Pinto can provide. If you're upset about it, don't point the finger at Pinto, who are welcoming us in the door and giving us a place to find more value in our horses. Point the finger at the people who should be at the forefront of innovation, community, marketing, and preservation of our breed and have failed the majority. The past 13 years under abysmal leadership and corruption at the highest levels has hurt our breed. Maybe if they feel the heat enough, we'll get some of what Pinto is offering brought back home to us. If they don't, we can at least take our toys and go play in Pinto's sandbox.

Bron Stark
Trinity Appaloosa Farm

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