By Laurie Haughton, Chair, CQHA Media, Marketing & Communications Committee
Are you a Canadian Horse Trainer, Riding Coach or Official working within Canada’s Quarter Horse Industry?
CQHA would like to invite trainers, coaches, and judges to engage with us in developing a revolutionary new program for Canada’s Quarter Horse industry (all disciplines).
Over the past few years and during the COVID-19 lockdown period, CQHA had the opportunity to speak with many industry stakeholders from across Canada to discuss our mutual pain points, possible solutions, and ideas for creating a brighter future for our breed in this country.
No matter who we spoke to, there were two common denominators:
- This country breeds amazing horses and has a wealth of equestrian skill and knowledge that we have not fully capitalized on.
- More support is needed to sustain current professional operations, and we need to give a reason for up-and-coming officials and professionals to pursue equine careers within Canada.
The CQHA Officials and Professional Development Committee has begun to draft a new program for young equestrians aged 12 to 30 that would focus on:
- Mentorship and exchange programs
- Competitive opportunities for showing and judging
- Professional development
With the help of experienced individuals currently working as professionals in our industry, this new program would support existing Canadian operations and help develop the resources to encourage the growth and creation of new ones.
CQHA invites you to start conversations with your professional peers. Ask for their perspectives and envision what you want the future to look like. Then come and share those conversations with the Officials and Professional Development Committee. CQHA needs to understand your experiences and viewpoints to develop effective programs.
Please email your thoughts and ideas to admin@CQHA.ca, and they will be passed on to the Officials and Professional Development Committee. If you would like to join that Committee, please also contact us at the aforementioned email.
Ontario Amateur is Accepted into the AQHLead Class of 2023 Program
Mallory McKewen of Burford, Ontario says that growing up with horses shaped her as a person, and continuing to have them in her life gives her purpose. When the opportunity came to apply for the American Quarter Horse Association’s “AQHLead” program late last year, it was one she eagerly capitalized on.
The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) developed the AQHLead program back in 2008 to develop the future leaders of the Quarter Horse industry. CQHA’s current first vice president, Laurie Haughton, is an alumna of the program and was excited to learn that McKewen had been accepted to the program.
“I’ve known Mallory since she was a youth competitor and have watched her in recent years assume more responsibilities with the Ontario Quarter Horse Association, such as spearheading the association’s virtual horse shows held during COVID-19 and taking on the role as the province’s youth advisor. I personally know that she is exactly the type of member that AQHA hopes to attach with the AQHLead program. She’s dedicated, motivated, and has skills that our industry needs as we step into the future,” says Haughton.
AQHLead is designed for young adults, ages 19 to 34, to help support their development as young leaders in the equine industry. During the program, participants attend leadership-focused webinars to provide additional insights into AQHA and the industry. They have the opportunity to partner with a mentor from the American Quarter Horse industry to learn about their mentor’s leadership activities in service to AQHA and the equine industry, and benefit from gaining more insight into their roles in impacting the industry.
When asked to tell us why this specific program appealed to her, she explained: “It’s in the barn, while mindlessly cleaning stalls and reflecting, where I come up with my most innovative ideas and solutions to problems which are key both in my career and as a community servant. And it’s in the saddle where I become grounded again, and suddenly my anxieties escape me.
“For the past few years, I’ve said and deeply felt that I hope to learn enough in the first half of my life to spend the second half teaching and giving back. I’m still in the first half of my life and have a ton to learn (I believe we all keep learning and changing until the day we die), but I’m starting to give back as a volunteer in areas where I’ve gained enough experience to be valuable.”
The CQHA welcomed McKewen as a new member of two of its committees in January: the Youth Committee and the Officials and Professional Development Committee. Her professional skills, experience as a provincial youth advisor, and the knowledge she has gained as a ring steward/scribe at AQHA shows in past years will be of great value to both these committees.
On behalf of the Canadian Quarter Horse community, we wish Mallory much success as she begins her AQHLead journey, and we strongly encourage other young Canadians with a passion for our horses to learn more about the program by visiting www.aqha.com/aqhlead.
Main Photo: Mallory McKewen, Credit: Nika Parsoni