ANNUAL MID-ATLANTIC NUTRITION CONFERENCE ANNOUNCED
Feb. 8, 2017
The 2017 Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference, the region’s premier animal nutrition conference, will be held April 5-6, 2017 at the Hunt Valley Wyndam Grand in Hunt Valley, MD. Two days of expert speakers have been lined up with the Equine Session held on the second day featuring morning seminars devoted to the aged horse, allergies, and how to boost the equine immune system. The afternoon will be devoted to the equine gut microbiome and related supplements. Veterinarians, students, horse trainers, horse breeders, and horse owners should not miss this opportunity to learn about exciting new discoveries related to their equine health and nutrition. All attendees will receive lunch and the opportunity to ask questions of all of the experts. Pre- registrations are encouraged and can be done online at: https://ansc.umd.edu/extension/mid- atlantic-nutrition-conference/registration-information
2017 Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference – Equine Session Schedule Thursday, April 6, 2017
8:00am Physiology of Aging in Horses
Dr. Karyn Malinowski, Rutgers University
8:50am Feeding Management of the Endocrine Challenged Horse Dr. Lisa Tadros, Michigan State University
10:20am Exploring Seasonal Allergies in Horses
Dr. Katherine Williamson, Purina Animal Nutrition
11:10am Can Nutrition Be Used to Boost the Immune System? Dr. Lori Warren, University of Florida
1:30pm Gut Microbiome Overview
Dr. Amy Biddle, University of Delaware
Sorting Out Common Ingredients In Equine Supplements
Dr. Melyni Worth, Foxden Equine
2:20pm Probiotics and Prebiotics in Horse Feed: What’s the Difference? Dr. Marty Adams, Southern States
Panel Discussion: Digestive Feed Supplements and the Gut Microbiome
The conference is hosted by the Maryland Feed Industry Council, University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University, University of Delaware, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Rutgers University, American Feed Industry Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture.
For more information on the entire conference, please visit our website at https://ansc.umd.edu/extension/mid-atlantic-nutrition-conference.
For information on sponsoring this event, please contact Jennifer Reynolds at 301-405-1547.
IS THE TAX COURT BIASED IN FAVOR OF THE IRS?
By John Alan Cohan, Attorney at Law
Feb. 6, 2017
The U.S. Tax Court is a critically important institution. It is the the most common forum in which taxpayers litigate federal tax disputes. The court frequently decides IRS assertions that the taxpayer understated the correct tax liability, resulting in a tax “deficiency.”
Many commentators argue that Tax Court judges are biased in favor of the IRS. Judges hear cases alone, without a jury. Many Tax Court judges have worked in the IRS Chief Counsel’s office or in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Tax Court does not assign judges randomly to cases. The procedures are extremely burdensome. The burden of proof is “preponderance of the evidence,” which is a loose standard of evidence, and highly subjective. It means the the IRS could win if 51% of its evidence is more convincing to the judge than the taxpayer’s.
The Tax Court makes budget requests to Congress’s tax-writing committees. In justifying its budget requests, the Tax Court invariably explains to congressional committees how well it is enforcing the tax laws.
A Tax Court judge, Diane L. Kroupa, was indicted on tax evasion, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction charges, raising questions about whether any of her rulings could be vulnerable to challenge as a result. (Judge Kroupa abruptly resigned prior to the indictment without explanation. Her husband, now divorced, was also indicted.) As a Tax Court judge, Kroupa heard and decided a wide range of cases, including some that came down against taxpayers in the horse and cattle industries. In October, 2016, she pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the IRS and other crimes. When sentenced at a later date, she is likely to serve a significant prison term.
Another judge, L. Paige Marvel, has also been harsh with respect to the horse industry. In a recent case, Carmody v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2016-225, Judge Marvel came down hard on a taxpayer’s efforts to run his horse racing venture profitably.
The taxpayer, Jerald Carmody, has owned race horses for more than 20 years, mainly as co-owner with others, and worked full-time as a sales representative for a helicopter company.
He owned lower priced horses which were actively raced in Washington State. Professional trainers were employed. He spent time every day on his horse racing activity, researched horses that would be in competition, and searched for other horses to purchase.
He purchased and improved a five-acre property with a 4,000 square-foot barn, horse stalls, a 5,000-square-foot arena, indoor horse shelters, and nine pastures. He personally cleaned stalls and pastures.
Some of the horses won several races each, and one was the alltime race winner at Emerald Downs with 21 wins. Mr. Carmody was named owner of the year at Emerald Downs. The races entered ranged in purses from $8,000 to $50,000.
During a 10-year period, the taxpayer’s losses were from $16,064 to $81,345, with no profit year. But there was income in each year, ranging from $17,917 to $128,068.
When horses were retired from racing, they were sold or given away. Of 36 horses sold, there was a net gain on only eight of those sales.
Mr. Carmody had a horse racing bank account, but paid for expenses out of his personal account as well as the racing account.
Mr. Carmody kept a folder for each horse with various receipts and documents related to that horse.
Judge Marvel said that Mr. Carmody did not use any of his records to reduce losses or to achieve profitability. The court noted that Mr. Carmody had no written business plan, no budgets and no economic forecasts. “In fact, the record is devoid of any credible evidence that petitioner engaged in any meaningful financial management with respect to his horse racing activity.”
The court said, “While a taxpayer need not maintain a sophisticated cost accounting system, the taxpayer should keep records that enable the taxpayer to cut expenses, generate or increase profits, or evaluate the overall performance of the operation.”
The court also faulted Mr. Carmody for commingling his personal and horse racing finances. “This commingling of personal and horse racing activity funds is not indicative of a businesslike practice.”
The court also noted that Mr. Carmody realized no profits in a 20-year period, and that “he contends that he suffered losses because he reinvested his gross receipts back into the horse racing activity and that he used his gross receipts to improve his barns, arena, and other horse racing activity property. Petitioner’s contentions are woefully insufficient to justify or even explain an unbroken string of over 20 years of substantial losses.”
The court concluded that the petitioner did not engage in his horse racing activity with the predominant, primary, or principal objective of making a profit.
The only silver lining in this case is that the judge rejected the IRS’ accuracy-related penalties because the taxpayer had reasonably relied on his accountant’s advice in taking the deductions.
One of the important lessons in this case is that taxpayers need to somehow review records so as to reduce expenses or enhance the possibility of generating income. It is important to keep track of expenses on a per-animal basis. And it is important to prepare financial statements, profit and loss projections, budgets, breakeven analyses, or marketing surveys, as the IRS considers these to be significant financial tools to aid in evaluating the overall performance of an operation.
[John Alan Cohan is an attorney representing people in federal and state tax disputes, IRS appeals, and Tax Court litigation, and is a long-standing author of a legal advice column published in numerous sporting magazines. In addition, he advises organizations on compliance with newly enacted laws and regulations. John is also author of the book, Turn Your Hobby Into A Business — The Right Way. He can be reached at: (310) 278-0203, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is JohnAlanCohan.com.]
LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST STALLION OWNERS AND VET REGARDING HERDA
SHAWN, LISA AND LAUREN MINSHALL SUE FOR FRAUD REGARDING HERDA DESIGNATION OF AUSPICIOUS CAT
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Aug. 4, 2016
Federal Court filings in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, lists a lawsuit entitled Shawn, and Lisa Victoria Minshall, and Lauren Victoria Minshall vs. Ed Dufurrena, Ed Durfurrena Cutting Horses, Anthony And Dufurrena, Hartman Equine Reproduction Center (HERC), and Dos Cats Partners dated Oct. 30, 2015.
The filed public court records allege the Plaintiffs suffered specific damages arising from the material fact that the Plaintiffs bred their mare to Auspicious Cat, a stallion owned by the Defendants, and the produced foal owned by the Plaintiffs suffers from HERDA. The court filings continue to state the Defendants specifically misrepresented the HERDA designation on Auspicious Cat in an advertisement, prior to the breeding, stating the sire was HERDA negative or HERDA N/N.
Shawn and Lisa Victoria Minshall reside in Hillsburgh, Ontario, Canada, and Lauren Victoria Minshall resides in Pine Grove, Ky. Ed Dufurrena and Ed Dufurrena Cutting Horses are in Gainesville, Texas, and according to their website, Hartman Equine Reproduction Center (HERC) have two locations in Whitesboro, Texas and Marietta, Okla.
Dos Cats Partners is a general partnership and includes the following current members and/or former members, identified by Defendants as being involved at all material times: Ed Dufurrena, Shona Dufurrena, Karen Claycomb, Tom Donaghe, Linda Donaghe, Gary Craighead, Barbra Hanselman, Michael Nolan, Tracy A. Agrall, Butch Redish and Blair Vissar.
Specifically, in the Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint, dated April 7, 2016, the Defendants represented to the Plaintiffs that their stallion Auspicious Cat (sired by High Brow Cat who is out of Smart Little Kitty by Smart Little Lena) and out of the mare Lenas O Lady, whose dam Doc O Lady was by Doc O’Lena) – meaning the stallion was double-bred Doc O’Lena) was free of the HERDA gene and not a carrier of the disease.
Click for Third Amended Complaint>>
EXPLANATION OF HERDA:
HERDA is a genetic skin disease that surfaces usually in the second year after an afflicted horse begins training and results in large painful lesions over large areas of the horse’s body, as well as hyperextensible skin and scarring. There is no cure and the majority of diagnosed horses have to be euthanized. HERDA has an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance, which means it could pop up in future generations. HERDA carriers is critical for the selection of mating pairs as breedings of carrier horses (those with at lease one recessive HERDA gene have a 25 percent chance of producing an affected foal.
However, nestled in the court documents, was a copy of a web page ad with Dufurrena riding Auspicious Cat, noting he stood at Pinnacle Equine Veterinary services, with Chelsea Makloski-Cohorn as Principal, with a $2,500 stud fee and marked HERDA N/N – meaning he didn’t have the HERDA gene.
Click for Auspicious cat ad in court papers>>
The Minshalls bred their mare, Miss Tassa Lena, to Auspicious Cat, with the resulting foal, Dr. Ozz, coming up positive for HERDA disease after the Plaintiffs incurred significant costs and expenses based on the Defendant’s misrepresentations and other wrongful conduct by Defendants, for which they are now seeking damages allowed by law.
Miss Tassa Lena was sired by Smart Little Lena by Doc O’Lena and out of Duntay Pistolena, whose dam also went back to Doc O’Lena. This made Dr. Ozz’s pedigree going to Doc O’Lena FOUR TIMES.
According to court documents, Dos Cats Partners is, upon information and belief, a general partnership with its principal place of business in Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas. Ed Dufurrena’s wife, Shona Dufurrena, Gainesville, Texas, is also mentioned “as an individual who may be served also – wherever she may be found.”
WHO IS SHAWN MINSHALL?
Minshall is the owner of a top-class Thoroughbred racing operation, which is ranked and held out as one of the top Canadian breeding and training operations for cutting horses.
Click for article on Minshall family>>
Click for Equine sport finds cutting edge>>
Court documents involve Dr. David Hartman of Hartman Equine Reproduction Center. During a deposition of Dr. Hartman on April 6, 2016, it was learned that Dr. Justin Voge and Dr Hartman performed the extraction of semen from Auspicious Cat for use in artificial insemination and he was responsible for handling the logistics of inseminating the mare with Auspicious Cat’s semen. They Plaintiffs claim that Hartman knew that there was a high likelihood that Auspicious Cat was a HERDA carrier while Auspicious Cat was stationed at his vet clinic. He testified that “most good sons of High Brow Cat were HERDA carriers” and he told Dufurrena such in an effort to encourage him to be responsible and test Auspicious Cat for HERDA in 2011.
The case is being held in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, because the Defendants reside in the Eastern District of Texas. Also, the Stallion Service Contract provided by the Defendants, purports to fix venue in Grayson County Texas, because “all of the terms and provisions of (The Agreement) are performable in Grayson County.
DR. HARTMAN’S RESPONSE:
Hartman’s response to the Third Amended Original Complaint filed by the Minshalls, filed April 20, 2016, denied that he engaged in any material misrepresentations and false advertising that resulted in injuries and damages to the plaintiffs related to Auspicious Cat. He denied representing that Auspicious Cat was free of the HERDA gene. He stated he did not have sufficient knowledge of most of the other allegations and although he admitted he was a Texas professional association, he denied that his principal place of business was in Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas.
Click for Dr. Hartman’s response>>
DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE:
In the middle of the case, Edward L. Dufurrena, Edward Dufurrena Cutting Horses LLC, Anthony and Dufurrena, Inc. and Dos Cats Partners, settled with the Minshalls. Therefore on April 28, an Order Of Dismissal with Prejudice was granted by United States District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, dismissing all parties in the suit except for Defendants Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A. and Shona Dufurrena. Dismissal with prejudice, means the plaintiff is barred from filing another case on the same claim.
Click for Dismissal With Prejudice>>
PRESS RELEASE FROM PLAINTIFFS’ LAWYER:
Following the dismissal of the case, the Plaintiffs’ lawyer, Aaron J. Burke of Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer LLP, Dallas, Texas, put out a press release on July 11, 2016, regarding the settlement of the case, stating “the owners of a nationally ranked stallion have paid $60,000 to settle claims that they made false and material misrepresentations and failed to disclose the status of their stallion as a carrier of HERDA.”
Burke said that he learned through discovery that the defendants’ stallion had indeed tested positive for HERDA years before and those results had never been revealed. He also said that “sometimes stallion owners, incentivized by large breeding fees, have been known to intentionally misrepresent a stallion’s status, claiming the stallion is not a carrier of HERDA or hiding test results.”
He also claimed his clients “had offered to settle prior to litigation for the approximate cost of raising and training the foal to that point, the defendants rejected the offer and the mare owners had no choice but to seek the court’s help in adjudicating their claims.”
Click for Attorney Aaron J Burke’s press release>>
AUSPICIOUS CAT OFFSPRING:
According to AQHA, Auspicious Cat has 138 foals, with 2 foaled in 2010, 10 in 2011, 12 in 2012, 45 in 2013, 45 in 2014, and 24 in 2015. He has sired 10 performing foals in 2016. A total of 14 of his foals have been performers.
CAUSES OF ACTION:
Causes of Action in the lawsuit include 1) Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act against all Defendants state they indirectly engaged in false, misleading and deceptive acts and practices declared to be unlawful to the DTPA, Tex. Bus & Comm. Code 17.46(a) and (b); 2) Breach of Contract against all defendants for breaching contract dated April 15, 2012; 3) Negligent Misrepresentation and Negligence against all defendants by representing that Auspicious Cat was not a carrier of the HERDA gene; 4) Fraud against all defendants; 5) Fraudulent Concealment/Fraud by Nondisclosure against all defendants; 6) Joint Enterprise against defendants, Mr. Dufurrena, Dos Cats and HERC for obtaining profits from marketing, sales and promotion of Auspicious Cat’s semen by breed it with mares; 7)Civil Conspiracy against Defendants, Mr. Dufurrena, Dos Cats and HERC, incorporating all the previous allegations and 8) Aiding and Abetting Liability (against HERC), for assisting, encouraging and participation in Mr. Dufurrena’s negligent, tortuous and/or fraudulent conduct.
WHAT PLAINTIFFS ARE ASKING FOR:
The Plaintiffs are asking for 1) a trial by jury on all issues triable to a jury; 2) an award of up to three times Plaintiffs’ actual damages and mental-anguish damages, based on Defendants’ willful and intentional violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, 3) Plaintiffs’ actual damages and benefit-of-the-bargain damages; 4) an award of exemplary damages based on Plaintiffs’ fraud by nondisclosure claim based on a showing by clear and convincing evidence; 5) Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, pursuant to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, Texas Business and Commerce Code and other provisions of the law; 6) an award of court costs, prejudgment interest and post judgment interest and 7) any and all additional relief to which Plaintiffs show themselves to be entitled.
The Plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial which is currently tentatively set for sometime in January.
The latest item on the case in the court docket is that a Mediation Session was held on July 28, 2016 by John B. Shipp, the assigned mediator; however, the mediation did not result in a settlement. “I will continue to work with the parties to try to bring this matter to resolution,” said Shipp in the Mediator’s Report.
HAVE HORSES IN TRAINING?
HOW TO KEEP YOUR FINANCES SECURE
By Rick Dennis
July 11, 2016
Over the years, I’ve worked on a myriad of Risk Management cases involving either the theft or embezzlement of funds from a client’s bank account or credit cards. However, the conclusion or “Root-Cause-Analysis” allowing this theft to occur is generally the same. Inadequate or non-existent banking security practices, inadequate accounting practices along with misguided trust, on behalf of the client, is usually the culprit. More and more we’re seeing these types of thefts occurring in the horse industry emanating from horse-training facilities.
For the record, these types of criminal infractions aren’t relegated to one particular part of the horse industry but seemingly encompasses the industry “across-the-board.” Training facilities should be aware of the fact that if the proper security is not in place and maintained for a protection of client assets and a theft generates from an individual working at the facility acquiring the bank account and routing number off of a client-issued check for training or other purposes, or a credit card number, it’s quite possible the training facility can have culpable liability issues in the matter.
The two methods used to facilitate the thefts are:
1. The clients bank account, and
2. The clients credit card.
THE CLIENTS BANK ACCOUNT
Using No. 1 as an example, I just completed analyzing a case involving the theft of over $500,000 during a four-year period, using the client’s bank account and routing numbers as the extraction vehicle. The thefts emanated from a horse-training facility. While I’m not at liberty to discuss the specifics of the case due to an on-going criminal investigation, my “Root-Cause-Analysis” identified over-trust on the client’s behalf as well as non-secure banking practices, inadequate record keeping, i.e, usual and customary personal accounting practices, and the absence of an established and integrated Risk Management Program as the culprit.
However, by designing, implementing and integrating an active Risk Management Program, the clients are able to prevent future thefts of this type along with a possible recovery of assets. Upon discovery of the theft, the client filed criminal charges, the alleged perpetrator was arrested, criminally indicted afterwards and is awaiting trial.
Dakotah Lindsey Harrell (Defendant) is identified as a former assistant trainer at Merritt Wilson Cutting Horses. The thefts occurred while Harrell was employed at this location according to clients. For additional information please click on the following link:
Click for Dakotah Harrell’s arrest warrant>>
Click for Dakotah Harrell’s booking>>
Click for Dakotah Harrell’s Facebook page>>
Click for Dakotah Harrell’s Indictment article>>
CLIENTS CREDIT CARD
Using No. 2 as an example, an ever-increasing and growing problem inundating the horse industry is the unauthorized use of, or misappropriation of, client’s assets using the clients credit card as the extraction vehicle. Generally, thefts of this type occur when an unsuspecting client provides a training facility with his or her credit card number for an incidental purchase of some type. Thereafter, the client discovers ongoing unauthorized purchases by the perpetrator, but the damage is already done and possibly significant. Afterwards, an arrest and prosecution usually follows. Again, as a Risk Analyst/Threat Assessment Manager, I can hypothetically surmise the “root-cause-analysis” as:
1. Over trusting the recipient of this information on the client’s behalf,
2. Inadequate accounting and monitoring practices on the clients behalf, and
3. the absence of an active and integrated secure Risk Management Program within the confines of the client’s financial practices.
The following is an article published in Ratemyhorsepro.com regarding a Brock, Texas, trainer stealing money from a client’s credit card. She had previously been indicted in Alabama for the same offense.
Click for Ratemyhorsepro.com article>>
RECOVERY OF ASSETS PURSUANT TO A THEFT
Generally speaking, it’s very difficult to recover one’s assets after a theft. In the case of cyber-security breaches or thefts “over-the-internet,” the chances of recovery are almost nil simply due to the fact that the perpetrator is located in another country. In the case of domestic thefts, the probable chances of asset recovery is low simply due to the fact the accused has already spent your money and it’s gone and legal litigation for an attempted recover is an expensive proposition with no guarantees of success.
The two most used methods for a recovery of assets is by judicial restitution after the arrest and conviction of the violator, or filing a complaint with the IC3 Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the event of credit card theft. For the record, credit card thefts are usually performed by the Secret Service. My best advice to prevent the theft or unauthorized use of a credit card is to prevent it before it occurs by instituting sound financial practices in your life style.
COMMON-SENSE BANKING PRACTICES
When I’m providing a general security consulting service, designing and implementing a Risk Management Program after a review, or compiling and formulating a Risk Management report after a review, I always advise the client to use common-sense banking practices to safe guard his or her valuable assets. (e.g.)
1. Never blindly trust an individual with your personal banking information,
2. ALWAYS safeguard your financial institution information whether this information is your internet banking passwords, bank account routing and account numbers for checking accounts or credit card type and numbers,
3. NEVER blindly provide this information to anyone,
4. NEVER allow your computer to save your login information, (e.g.) user name and password, When using the internet to pay your bills, always make sure you’re on a secure network,
5. When disposing of financial information, always use a shredder or completely burn this information,
6. ALWAYS set up an auxiliary bank account with a limited amount of funds for use in conjunction with a trust or holding account. Never pay bills directly from a trust or holding account. In the event of a breach of security, the thief will only have a limited amount of assets to steal – not your entire bank account,
7. ALWAYS monitor your bank account activity multiple times a week, if not on a daily basis, to apprise yourself of any suspicious activity on your bank account. In today’s high-tech banking industry, an app can be downloaded on your smart phone enabling this secure process and
8. INVEST in a credit-monitoring service to alert you of any changes in your credit report or suspicious activity.
There are plenty of resources available to seek advice from to protect your assets and provide additional information on the subject matter. Knowledge and common sense are the keys to success and prevention. Be proactive, not reactive!
“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!
Richard E. “Rick” Dennis (CPP)
Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com
TAHC EQUINE HERPES UPDATE:
June 15, 2016
Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) confirmed Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy (EHM) in a mare at a breeding farm in Cooke County, Texas on May 24. The affected farm was placed under quarantine and restricted from moving animals and semen.
Since the original confirmed EHM positive horse, six additional horses on the premises have tested positive for the neuropathogenic strain of EHV-1. One of the test positive horses exhibited neurologic signs consistent with EHM, bringing the total number of EHM cases at this facility to two.
TAHC staff works closely with the facility management and veterinarian to implement testing protocols and biosecurity measures. All affected horses (seven) on the premises were removed to an isolation area after being diagnosed. All remaining equine in the barn were monitored for elevated temperatures twice daily. Movement restrictions on these horses were lifted once they tested negative on nasal swabs taken 14 days after the affected horses were removed.
The seven affected horses are recovering and doing well at this time. They will remain under quarantine until all test negative on nasal swabs.
The equine industry is encouraged to obtain the latest information on this outbreak and other disease events across the country by visiting the Equine Disease Communication Center at: http://www.equinediseasecc.org/outbreaks.aspx
For more information contact the Communications Dept. at 512-719-0750 or at email@example.com
FROM THE EDITOR
ARE AQHA AND NCHA REALLY TRYING TO CHANGE?
AQHA SUPPORTS ANIMAL WELFARE; NCHA TALKS TRANSPARENCY
By Glory Ann Kurtz
May 17, 2016
With alarming drops in membership numbers and as a result finances, could it be possible that horse organizations are changing their course by trying to get members back who have left, woo new members and increase their dwindling youth participation and they are trying to figure out how to do it?
Two major associations in particular have made major changes to their rules, regulations and have published efforts to change or have renewed focus on their members and what they want. The major one is the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) who just held their convention in Las Vegas, Nev., and announced many changes. The other is the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA), whose Convention is on tap for June 24-26 in Grapevine, Texas.
The AQHA recently published a release from their new Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines, sharing some of their highlights from the AQHA Executive Committee meeting held April 26-28. Huffhines said, “Ensuring the humane treatment of the American Quarter Horse remains a priority for this Executive Committee, and much discussion occurred this week on continuing to improve upon monitoring at competition and the enforcement of an effective violation system. Another item included supporting and the advancement of their ranch programs and youth development.”
They recently published their financial statements that showed a lot of downs, including net assets that decreased from $102,425,786 in 2014 to $96,632,667 in 2015.
An article by Katie Tims in the May 1, 2015 Quarter Horse News stated that the latest financial statement shows a $5.3 million decrease in the value of the AQHA’s investments. In an interview with Trent Taylor, AQHA Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer, he said about $2 million of that is explained by a dip in the stock market that coincided with the close of the AQHA’s fiscal year.” He continued that in the past decade we have relied heavily on our investments and our earnings from those investments to help offset some of our operational expenses. We have been using those funds to help keep operations going without having to have additional increases in fees or cutting out programs. It is standard practice for a nonprofit to have one year’s operating budget in reserve, so it’s important that we wean ourselves off of using investment money to cover operations. We need to build those reserves back to stay strong and healthy for the future.”
Taylor continued that the AQHA had spent a great deal of their reserves on the computer database system. “But this investment is absolutely required to move AQHA forward. Right now, we’re using technology that was put into place in 1992. We’re talking about millions and millions of records and they’re all related and they’re all tied back together.”
One big surprise in the financials was the fact that the AQHA has a $600,000 loan with the Amarillo National Bank, with monthly payments of $10,798, interest at 3%, maturing May 1, 2018, secured by Negative Pledge Agreement. Balance $331,281. Also, there is a $1,375,000 loan with Amarillo National Bank, monthly payment of $24,683, interest at 2.85%, maturing May 1, 2019; Unsecured. Balance $1,029,317.
Click for 2014-2015 Consolidated Financial Statements>>
Membership is also down considerably; however, Taylor said they had only a 1 percent decrease in membership this year, which is good news because it’s the smallest decrease we’ve had since 2007. The past three years have been almost level. To me, that’s a positive sign. It’s sure better than having a double-digit decrease.” Also youth membership is down 26% from since 2006. In a Town Hall meeting, AQHA Chief Marketing Officer Lauren Walsh said the youth membership, or lack thereof, is the 800-pound gorilla in Amarillo.
Click for AQHA membership chart>>
AQHA’s attention turns to animal welfare:
However, prior to the AQHA Convention, the AQHA issued a press release on the results of the AQHA Animal Welfare Grievance Committee’s list of violations, which would be forwarded to the Executive Committee. The Committee was established four years ago. It stated that AQHA’s utmost concern is for the health and well-being of the American Quarter Horse. Part of their mission statement says that the “American Quarter Horse shall be treated humanely, with dignity,, respect and compassion at all times.”
According to AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines, “AQHA’s goal is to educate both members and non-members on the issue of animal welfare. It is our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our horse – the American Quarter Horse.”
Click for Animal Welfare violations>>
On May 13, 2016, two press releases from the AQHA went out. “Animal Welfare: A Continuing Effort” reported on the AQHA Executive Committee continuing to make strides for The benefit of the American Quarter Horse at their April meeting in Amarillo. The press release said that “Actions that will take place in 2016 based on the Executive Committee decisions include: 1) AQHA will develop a resource document outlining the steps members can take when they call AQHA with an animal-abuse complaint. 2) AQHA will work collaboratively with the American Association of Equine Practitioners, United States Equestrian Federation and the American Horse Council to develop biosecurity isolation protocol guidelines to include vaccination guidelines that could be implemented at AQHA-approved shows. 3) AQHA will amend its current rule that prohibits the use of dye or other substances to alter or hide natural markings to also include the prohibition of dye to hide abuse and 4) AQHA will prohibit the use of belly bands at AQHA events starting June 1, 2016.
Also, AQHA will continue to periodically publish news release on its website with the names of people and unsportsmanlike conduct, as well as recommendations approved by the Executive Committee. An article in Horse Talk, calls this the ‘Name And Shame’ policy.
Click for animal welfare release>>
The other release listed added show rules, including SHW 300.2 – AQHA judges have the authority to require the removal or alteration of any piece of equipment or accouterment which is unsafe, or in his opinion would tend to give a horse an unfair advantage or which he believes to be inhumane. AQHA judges will now have the authority to also disqualify exhibitors for any piece of accouterment or attire that would give an exhibitor an unfair advantage. The amended or new rules will be effective June 1.
Click for AQHa Show Rules Press Release>>
These releases from the AQHA are a step in the right direction; however, the question now is will the AQHA enforce these rules or will they will adhered to by the judges like the movement of the pleasure horse – and be ignored.
An example of this is even though the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is getting involved and plans to take their big step to strengthen the Horse Protection Act, since current regulations are failing to protect horses from a core group of trainers and owners who ignore them. A press release dated April 4, 2016 from the USDA, states that a segment of the Tennessee walking horse industry is showing no willingness to root out the abuse festering in its ranks – soring. The USDA recently revealed that a startling 87.5 percent of horses the agency randomly selected for testing at the 2015 Celebration, the industry’s premier event, were found positive for illegal foreign substances used to sore horses or temporarily numb them to mask their pain during inspection. Also 100 percent of the sampled horses’ leg wrappings tested positive for chemicals banned from use in the show ring by the USDA.
Click for USDA article>>
THE NCHA AND TRANSPARENCY:
With the membership and financials of the NCHA going in the same direction as the AQHA’s, they have turned to their members and promised “transparency.” This all started when members and contestants evidently didn’t realize that the association was in a dire financial position as it had not received expected state money from the Major Event Trust Fund (METF) of the state of Texas – and that they may never receive it. (as a side note, I notice the NCHA is still requesting donations on their Triple Crown entry blanks, for the NCHA PAC, which gives donations to congressional members who might have a say on who receives the METF money).
When it came time for the Futurity, members didn’t realize until they received they win checks that the event was simply a “jackpot,” and there had been no money added to the NCHA Futurity purse, the largest event that the NCHA holds annually and is the first of the Triple Crown events.
Contestants, trainers and members were appalled and social media went crazy. However, Jim Bret Campbell, the new NCHA Executive Director jumped into action and decided that it was time for transparency – something that the Executive Committee had evidently never previously thought was needed.
A Town Hall meeting was immediately held in Fort Worth and since then, three other Town Hall meetings were scheduled at the NCHA Eastern National Championships in Jackson, Miss., the NCHA Super Stakes and the NCHA Western National Championships in Denver. During these meetings, Campbell informed the membership of another problem: they were close to losing all of their records due to their out-dated information technology (IT), and they desperately needed an upgrade, which they are currently in the middle of – and it’s not cheap!
According to an article in the May 15, 2016 Quarter Horse News, Editor Stacy Pigott, interviewed Campbell who said that membership is trending downward and the number of affiliates are shrinking. (Less than 10 years ago, there were 138 affiliates. In 2015 there were 103.) The number of horses that won money and the entries at regional affiliate championship shows are also dropping. He also said that while entries at the NCHA’s Triple Crown shows are up, it is a result of the same people entering more classes, rather than a greater number of people showing. There is also a decline in the entries at the Eastern and Western National Championship shows.
Click for QHN article on NCHA Convention>>
What Campbell didn’t mention is that other cutting associations are springing up and having successful shows, some with a different menu of classes based toward newcomers and those who have not won a lot of money. One association counts aged-event money won by horses as earnings; therefore, those horses that won money at the NCHA Triple Crown and other aged events, can’t enter their Novice Horse classes – making them true Novice Horse classes.
Also, a lot of members have drifted off to less-expensive horse events such as the fast-growing ranch horse competitions. Also, like the AQHA, the NCHA’s youth membership is also shrinking. If the parents leave the AQHA or NCHA, so do their children.
I commend the NCHA and Campbell for holding the Town Hall meetings; however, I think that they should inform ALL of their members about what went on in those meetings and how their Executive Committee has responded – and what changes are being planned. Possibly some of this will be addressed at the NCHA Convention scheduled for June 24-26 at the Hilton DFW Lakes in Grapevine, Texas.