AQHA International at a Glance
AQHA International at a Glance
By Ashley Baller, AQHA International
Geography, language and culture intrinsically diversify the American Quarter Horse Association’s membership – a facet that’s exceedingly intriguing. This global passion for the horse “lights our fire” here at AQHA. Regardless of where our members are on the planet, we are all united through the horse. In celebration of the Association’s global reach, AQHA thought it would be fitting to hear from AQHA Director of International Activities Sierra Kane. Take a moment to learn about AQHA International and why it is important to promote the horse worldwide.
Tell me about AQHA International.
Kane: The AQHA International Department takes an innovative, fun and unique approach to serving the international sector of AQHA, which is comprised of 36 recognized international affiliates in four membership regions and more than 100 countries. Our department implements accessible programs and resources, which incentivize an AQHA membership around the globe, while ensuring that international members receive adequate service and are able to do business with AQHA as efficiently as possible.
Catch me up on what programs and activities have occurred so far in 2021.
Kane: We have had a very busy virtual start to 2021! We kicked things off with the Australasia-Africa and Latin American membership summits.
Click here to read the complete 2021 summit review.
The department also launched the International Educational Marketplace Program and attended convention where international committee members advocated for international-related business changes and proposals that will positively affect international members. Additionally, we were really excited to complete a variety of translation projects and launch the first official virtual onsite service event with Mexico.
What makes the international membership unique?
Kane: Their choice to be involved with the western way of life – they crave it and are enamored by it. The United States is the birthplace of the “West” and it is very accessible for us. This is something we tend to take for granted domestically.
Why is it important that we promote AQHA and the horse internationally?
Kane: The American Quarter Horse is the most versatile breed in the world. It is crucial that we promote the breed beyond our domestic borders. As the world’s largest breed registry, it is our responsibility to share our horse to promote involvement with AQHA and equip more people with resources for how to care for and respect the American Quarter Horse – this is a responsibility we should not take lightly.
What do you enjoy most about working for AQHA International?
Kane: I love working with the variety of cultures. Every day is different. In one day, you can work with people from 36 different countries. I enjoy staying abreast of the things that make each country unique, wonderful and challenging. The variety and versatility allow us to be creative and intentional with our thought process – nothing we do is “cookie-cutter.” I would also be remiss not to mention that I love working with my strong, female team. We are passionate and hardworking (Happy Women’s History Month)!
Tell me about one of your most inspiring experiences thus far in your role.
Kane: When I was at the AQHA World Championship Show a couple of years ago, a woman from the Czech Republic approached me to express her gratitude for AQHA and the Quality Samples Program (a program that provides export-ready semen from U.S. stallions to international countries). As a result of this program in the Czech Republic, her mare produced a foal with superior bloodlines that she would not have had access to otherwise. Stories like this fuel my inspiration because they give life to how tangible and impactful our programs are.
In what ways do you see engagement and interaction with international members increasing over the next year?
Kane: We are excited to be on the cusp of this new “virtual frontier.” Although 2020 posed its challenges, it really made us think outside the box. We are looking forward to creating more virtual opportunities to engage with members. Additionally, translated resources are at the forefront of our goals for increasing engagement. Comprehensive tools, forms and resources are key for successful communication.
AQHA’s eminence is highlighted through the love of the American Quarter Horse, which spans far beyond the borders of the United States. The AQHA International Department is eager to continue to support and improve the international member experience.
To learn more, visit www.aqha.com/international.