"This is my first year with a Paint "I'm hooked"
- Lisa Robin, APHA's 100,000th member
FORT WORTH-When Lisa Robin of Fox Lake, Ill., purchased a Paint Horse for trail riding last year, she never realized where that special animal would lead her.
An avid rider for the past 30 years, Robin had never thought much about owning a Paint Horse, but had always admired their bold and splashy colors. "So, I thought I'd take a chance and take a look at a Paint that someone had told me about," she said.
A look was all it took. "It was just love at first sight," said Robin when she came face to face with an 8-year-old blaze-faced Paint gelding aptly named JB Blazer. "I remember I got up on him and I could just tell by his disposition that this horse would do anything I asked of him."
Robin never asked, but JB Blazer helped her ride right into the record books of the American Paint Horse Association (APHA). Her love for the horse motivated her to join the APHA last December 21, making her the 100,000th member of the rapidly growing association.
"I really had no idea the association was that big or that my membership was anything special," said Robin. "All I wanted to do was become a member and get involved. I wanted to enter my horse in Western pleasure and halter competition at APHA shows."
To ensure that she has the chance to do that for many years to come, APHA awarded Robin a lifetime membership.
Robin was quick to take the association up on its offer. "This is my first year with a Paint, and I can tell you, I'm hooked. There will definitely be another Paint Horse for me further down the road. I want to earn some show points with this horse, and, for me, Paint Horses are the way to go. I love their personalities and their colors."
Robin said she looks forward to trail riding, showing and giving lessons to youngsters on JB Blazer and the future Paints she plans to buy.
"We're delighted to have members like Lisa," said APHA Executive Secretary Ed Roberts. "And I'm glad she plans to stay active with our association for years to come. Awarding her a lifetime membership is, for us, a celebration of reaching a goal we knew we would one day achieve, we just weren't sure when.
"I'm proud of our staff for their accomplishments over the years of reaching out and serving that many members."
Roberts credited APHA's strong growth to many factors, including the inherent beauty and success of the Paint Horse. With Paints increasingly making their presence known at many venues around the world, including show rings, trails and racetracks, more people are becoming aware of the colorful horses every day, he said.
Jim Kelley, APHA's assistant executive secretary who also oversees membership and registration activities, agreed.
Kelley said the association is focused on retaining existing members and attracting new ones, and added that APHA is making major strides forward in delivering quality services to its members. For example, two years ago APHA upgraded its Web site to provide information regarding pedigrees and records at no extra charge to members. In addition, yearly memberships no longer expire each December, but extend for a full 12 months from the date of purchase. Special incentives have also been added for long-term membership. "And this is just the beginning of what we plan on a long list of improved services and benefits to our members," said Kelley.
Paints by the numbers
The year 2000 membership total represents a 19 percent increase over the 84,470 members the association had by the end of 1999. Compared to 1995, when APHA had 54,746 members, the association has seen a membership increase of 84 percent. From 1995 to 1999, the association attracted between 5,000 and 9,500 new members each year.
APHA's horse registration statistics are also showing steady and sizable gains. For the year 2000, APHA registered 62,511 Paint Horses. Compared to 1995, when 34,843 Paint Horses were registered for the year, registrations have risen 79 percent.
As membership and registrations continue to increase, the sales market for Paints also shows a historic rise. In 1962, the first six registered Paint Horses, including four show winners, sold at a public auction for an average of $871 per horse. At the 2000 APHA World Showcase Sales, held July 1 and 2 in Fort Worth, Texas, the top 10 Paint Horses sold for an average of $23,010 each.
A colorful history
The Fort Worth-based non-profit association employs 165 people and maintains an operating budget of more than $15 million for activities worldwide.
For more information about APHA or APHA programs, call (817) 834-2742, ext. 788, or log on to http://www.apha.com/.