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What is Old is New
by Jan Austin

Copyright © 1999 The Arabian Network Newsletter

At the U.S. Nationals in Albuquerque in 1997, there was a modest booth in the Exhibitor’s Center for the Arabian Horse Owners Foundation or AHOF. Having never heard of this ‘new’ organization before, a note was made to research it further. Long time Arabian owners know that this group is neither new or small. With the help of Internet Arabhorse-L members, Howard Shenk, current Executive Director of AHOF, Lorry Wagner of Sierra Dawn Arabians, and Sharon Byford-Ruth, owner of The Book Stall, here is a little history of AHOF.


Photo by Paula DaSilva

The mission of the AHOF is to “seek to identify and find solutions for unmet needs of the community”. It is a tax exempt, non profit, charitable and educational foundation. Sharon writes, “Basically, the Arabian Horse Owners Foundation is a non-profit organization which has always tried to fill the gaps (principally in education and heritage of the breed) until some other organization takes over the responsibility. So among AHOF's contributions are: the first Arabian Horse Museum (in Maryland), Arabian horse racing in America, and judging seminars. AHOF also reprinted the Selby catalog, a Maynesboro catalog, and historic photos”.

Howard Shenk adds: “Organized in 1956. Normally we take on projects for up to three years to show their viability. If the programs are successful, they are passed on to other organizations to continue. i.e.: First Arabian horse racing (Now with the AH Registry), first Arabian horse museum (Now with the Arabian Horse Trust in Denver, first judging clinics ( Now with the IAHA). We have sponsored shows to demonstrate better show standards and to promote versatility, Action Shows, Endurance, Competitive Trail and Horse Fairs.”

“Each year we invite about 20 people to our "Think Tank" to discuss what is needed. These people are drawn from a wide range of Arabian experience including IAHA, the Registry, small breeders and a few AHOF Trustees.” The main offices of the AHOF are located at Al-Marah Arabians in Tucson, AZ . Al-Marah is owned by founding member AHOF, Bazy Tankersley. The office currently also houses the W.R. Brown Library. It is available for research and has horse books and documents from the 16th century in the collection.

“Current projects in which AHOF is involved include “the campaign against ginger and other artificial ‘beauty treatments’ inflicted on the Arabian horse. There has been some significant improvement during this show season in many shows around the country. It is not a battle that can be completely won but, continued pressure and vigilance will make a real difference. We need everyone's support to make our show ring standards more humane and fair”, says Shenk.. Shenk also says “Another current project is a booklet of ideas for people to enjoy their horses outside the show ring. We know more than 80% of Arabian horse owners do not show on the class "A" circuit. So, what do you do.....we want to promote the joy of owning and living with an Arabian horse.”

For more information about AHOF, internet users may contact Howard Shenk at ahof001@aol.com. or write to AHOF at 4101 N. Bear Canyon Road, Tucson, AZ 85749 (Al-Marah Arabians). Many thanks to Howard, Lorry, and Sharon. You may reach Sharon at 805-323-8817 or visit her site at http://www.horsebooks.com/. Lorry may be reached at 760-377-5579 or lorry@ridgecrest.ca.us.

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