From the Archives - Southwest Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Club (SWALHC) Attempts Its First-Ever Cria Caballar/Foundation Approved Day of Classes - February 2005

Focus on the Club

The Southwest Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Club (SWALHC) club was begun in February 2003 via the work of a few dedicated Andalusian horse owners and trainers in Texas. A few months later in 2003 they held their first Memorial Day Nationals Qualifying Show in Corsicana, Texas. Forty horses attended.

Why the SWALHC Shows Are Important

There are only about 20 breed shows a year for Andalusians to attend. The majority are held in California, with a few others spread out among the states of Wisconsin, Florida, Oregon, Colorado, and Virginia. Two shows are typically held consecutively in Texas the Qualifying show held the day before Nationals, and then the National Championships which immediately follow. For a horse to compete for a National Title, they must have earned the right to enter by placing first, second, or third at a qualifying show. This means horse owners in Texas have no choice but to qualify the day before the big show or they can travel to the nearest other qualifying show in Colorado.

One advantage of holding a club-sponsored and organized show in the spring is that it allows people to qualify earlier in the year and they don't have to work as hard the week of the Nationals.

Club's Goals

SWALCH says "Our goal is to connect the owners and enthusiasts in the Southwest, providing a sense of community and friendship, learning opportunities, a National Qualifying Show, and support for our members and help promoting our horses. They include Andalusians & Lusitanos and all the crosses: Azteca, Warlander, Hispano-Arabe, Spanish Norman, Iberian, and other part-bred horses, too. We want everyone who has never shown a horse before to feel welcomed and comfortable at our shows and will continue to offer learning experiences."

Membership in the club is just $20 for a year. In 2004 the club held another show at Corsicana this time drawing in 52 horses. Club members enjoyed a night of camaraderie as they ate dinner together at the Italian Village. New members were welcomed, and fun classes as well as "buy a class" opportunities were added for the first time. Other than the hot weather and somewhat stuffy conditions inside the un-air conditioned indoor arena, the show went off surprisingly well.

The First Attempt to Hold Spanish Classes

In 2004 Julie Tupper, SWALHC's president, was approached by a member of The Foundation for The Pure Spanish Horse who offered help if SWALHC wanted to hold classes for Pura Raza Espanola (PRE) Pure Spanish horses.

The Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse (andalusianfoundation.com) was formed in 1998 as a tax exempt nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation organized for public and charitable purposes. One of their goals is to "develop, perpetuate and foster an appreciation and understanding of the Pure Spanish Horse (Andalusian) throughout the United States and Canada" as well as to "sponsor shows and other programs that introduce the Pure Spanish Horse to the public."

The founding members of the Foundation include Michael Connelly, Barbara Currie, Lanys Kaye-Eddie, Vaughan Smith and Janne Rumbough.

In 2005, the Foundation is sponsoring 5 shows which are approved by The Foundation and the Cria Caballar. Points count towards the Book of Merits in Spain and in the USA Book of Merits. The SWALHC Show is one of these, and the only one, held in Texas. The Book of Merits is a point system for "revised" or approved mares and stallions. It allows their show records to be counted as well as the show records of their offspring. The results are published yearly.

Until the Foundation started holding these shows according to the rules of Spain, no one in the U.S. could accumulate points of merit. The IALHA was even slower to come around, because they hold the wrong "age groups" of classes according to the rules of Spain. In 2004 this issue was addressed and it is hoped that future "specialty classes" at the National Championships will be held properly so that PRE horses can accumulate merit.

IALHA and the Foundation

You can look all over the IALHA website, but there is NO REFERENCE to the Spanish book of merits as of February 2005. Most members probably do not even know there is such a thing! There is also NO MENTION of the Foundation on the IALHA website. Vice versa, there is no mention of IALHA on the Foundation website! It seems these two organizations are intent on ignoring each other.

On February 1, 2005, SWALHC president Julie Tupper sent a newsletter to members to let them know about the upcoming membership meeting and to announce the addition of PRE classes on Friday before the show (***note - we have learned from Julie Tupper that the PRE classes will now be held on Monday following the regular SWALHC classes so as not to interfere with the practice use of the arena on Friday). She reassured members that the classes were being added "at little cost to the club" because the Foundation for the Spanish Horse was paying for the judge to fly over from Spain. They were also offering neck sashes (ribbons) and medallion with the Foundation's logo and were paying for the judge's room and board as well as entertainment.

Within a few hours, according to Julie Tupper, she was receiving emails and complaints from people who were "concerned" about having these extra classes added to the show. In response, Julie posted a poll to find out how many members were planning on attending the Friday classes with their Pure Spanish Horses.

She also clarified some issues for members. According to the SWALHC newsletter, the addition to the show is not a Foundation Show (which may offend some people who are opposed to the Foundation). The club does not have to pay for anything, this burden is being carried by the Foundation and by sponsors. These PRE classes may be helpful for those who plan to show their horses in the Specialty classes at Nationals.

So, will the PRE classes still be held at the SWALHC club?

Will the IALHA and Foundation be forced to face each other off in Texas?

We'll have to see.

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