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Association celebrates 40th anniversary in a big way

Colossal bronze Paint Horses grace APHA headquarters in Fort Worth

FORT WORTH, Texas-The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) celebrated its 40th anniversary in grand style May 30, when it unveiled four larger-than-life-size bronze Paint Horses at its Fort Worth headquarters.

APHA's new Legacy of Color bronze sculpture was unveiled recently to commemorate the association's 40th anniversary.

APHA commissioned the project three years ago, with the goal of creating a lasting icon of the American Paint Horse breed, which has grown rapidly in popularity over the past 40 years. The association started with humble roots in Texas and has grown to include about 100,000 members in 36 nations. Since its formation in 1962, APHA has become one of the fastest-growing horse breed registries in the world, issuing pedigree certificates for more than 660,000 horses.

Renowned cowboy poet Red Steagall served as master of ceremonies for the unveiling, which was attended by several hundred Paint Horse enthusiasts from throughout the country.

During his talk, Steagall said, "I can certainly see that when the American Paint Horse Association sets out to do something, they do it in a big way."

He went on to discuss how far the association has come in 40 years and how the "grit and determination" of its founders helped shape the future of the American Paint Horse breed.

"Isn't it incredible how people can make great things happen when they truly believe in a horse?" he said. "This is really such a young organization to have accomplished so much."

The new Legacy of Color bronze graces APHA's worldwide headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr, who was a guest speaker at the dedication, also talked of the accomplishments of APHA and the value of the bronze.

"The City of Fort Worth is certainly developing quite a reputation for being the home of outstanding bronze sculpture," said Barr. "It helps define our Western heritage and the importance we place on our history. We're fortunate to have great Western bronze pieces throughout this city, and we're very proud of that."

He said he was also proud of the fact that Fort Worth has been home to APHA for 38 of its 40 years.
"From just a few employees and a petty-cash fund, it has grown to include 160 employees today, with an operating budget of $15 million," he said.

Barr also pointed out that APHA brings in 2,000 horses and tens of thousands of exhibitors and spectators for the World Championship Paint Show held each year in Fort Worth.

"We can proudly say that, because of the American Paint Horse Association, Fort Worth is home to the largest single-breed horse show in the state of Texas- and just about every other state for that matter," said Barr.

The actual uncovering of the bronze was done by a cowboy who rode his American Paint Horse up to the draped masterpiece, attached one end of a rope to the horn of his saddle and the other end to the shroud. As the cowboy and his horse rode off, the magnificent bronze horses were revealed one by one, sparkling under the bright Texas sun.

About Legacy of Color
The new Paint Horse sculpture, titled Legacy of Color, is as different as the breed it depicts. Each bronze underwent a special chemical and heating process to bring out vibrant coat color patterns on the horses. The result is a sculpture that has the strength of a bronze, but looks as natural as the living animals it represents.

The horses are depicted loping through a field, with a powerful stallion pushing along two mares and a foal. Each of the four Paint Horses has distinctive coat patterns.

As represented in the bronze, Paint Horses are distinguished by their unique coat patterns. Over the past 40 years, they have been bred not only for these colorful coats, but for their intelligence, conformation, athletic ability and strength, as well.

The collection of four bronze horses is on a solid concrete base that measures 36 feet long and 3 feet high. The adult horses stand about 20 hands tall (nearly seven feet) at the withers-the spot above a horse's shoulders where the neck meets the back.

To support its Heritage Foundation, APHA is making limited-edition pieces in both one-third and one-eighth size available. The Foundation's goal is to preserve the history of the American Paint Horse, as well as to support educational projects that benefit American Paint Horses and their owners.
Work has already begun on obtaining artifacts, memorabilia and artwork for APHA's Heritage Foundation Visitors Center at the association's Fort Worth headquarters. An immediate goal is to expand the collection and include a library of resource materials on Paint Horses and related topics, such as equine care, breeding, genetics and information on APHA programs.

For more information about the Legacy of Color and the APHA, visit, or call (817) 834-2742, extension 788.



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