FORT WORTH--The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) paid out $20,000 in incentive money recently to the highest-advancing geldings in four classes at the National Snaffle Bit Association-approved event, The Southern Belle Invitation, held July 27-29, in Tunica, Miss.
The payouts were part of APHA's innovative Gelding Plus incentive. Open to both Regular and Breeding Stock Registry horses, the program gives Paint gelding owners and breeders added opportunities to earn cash and increase the market value of their horses. APHA paid out $45,000 in prize money last year at select shows and earmarked $60,000 for top-placing geldings at several futurities around the country this year.
"We're finding that this program is rapidly stimulating increased interest in performance-bred Paint Horse geldings," said Jim Kelley, APHA assistant executive secretary. "Our Gelding-Plus entries tripled over last year's APHA-approved Gelding Plus event.
"What was so special about The Southern Belle Invitation was that it was a not-for-profit show and a part of the proceeds are being donated back to APHA and other associations. That benefits our industry as a whole."
The highest-placing geldings earning Gelding Plus money in Tunica included:
Knee Deep N Zip, owned by Deborah Sayre, Houston, Texas, in 3-Year-Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure ($5,000), and for a two-way tie in 3-Year-Old Open Western Pleasure ($2,500).
Ima Cowboys Hitman, owned by Danielle Lassiter, East Palatka, Fla., in 3-Year-Old Open Hunter Under Saddle ($5,000), and for a two-way tie in 3-Year-Old Open Western Pleasure ($2,500).
Real Groovy, owned by Tami Farnsworth of Madison, Wis., for 3-Year-Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle ($5,000).
The payouts and resulting participation in APHA's Gelding Plus program have added a new dimension to The Southern Belle Invitation, said show manager Connie Hill. "It has opened our show up to an entirely new group of exhibitors who were not there previously," said Hill. She said of the 290 horses stalled on the grounds during the show, about 20 were American Paint Horses.
"Their presence enhances our industry with diversification," she added.
The show manager said she expects to see even more Paint geldings at next year's show. "As word gets around, we'll see that happen," she said.
Hill said The Southern Belle Invitation featured $80,000 in guaranteed money this year, with a total purse estimated at about $160,000.
APHA is expected to receive about $5,000 back from the show's proceeds. "By giving money back to our affiliates, they can channel it into educational programs for youth, and this helps the entire industry," said Hill. "Our future is in our youth, and we feel this is one way we can help."
This was the first year The Southern Belle Invitation was held at the new equestrian center in Tunica. Located about 40 miles south of Memphis, Tenn., the city is home to 10 casino resorts and the newly constructed, air-conditioned Paul Battle Arena and Expo Center. Moving the show there from its former home in Memphis not only allowed organizers to hold the show at a modern venue, but also gave them the opportunity to locate it in an area that draws exhibitors from throughout the country, Hill said. About 100 additional stalls are expected to be added for next year's show, said Hill, and more novice youth and novice amateur classes are planned.
More Gelding Plus money to be awarded this year
In addition to the Gelding Plus payouts at the NSBA-approved event, The Southern Belle Invitation, APHA will award $5,000 to the owners of the highest-advancing Paint geldings in the Open and Non-Pro divisions at the following futurities:
- National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Futurity-3-year-olds
- National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity-3-year-olds
- National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity-3-year-olds
- Barrel Futurities of America (BFA) World Barrel Futurity-4-year-olds
To enter this year's Gelding Plus events a horse must be foaled in 1998 or later and registered as a gelding prior to his 3-year-old year, or gelded and his status change reported to APHA prior to his 3-year-old year. In addition, owners of the horses must be current APHA members and their horses must meet futurity age requirements.
Prepare now for 2002 Gelding Plus payouts
Don't miss out on the chance to earn Gelding Plus prize money in 2002 at the NSBA, NRCHA, NRHA, BFA and NCHA futurities. It's easy to participate in the Gelding Plus program, and enrollment is free.
Enrollment is automatic and applies to horses in the Regular or Breeding Stock registries. To qualify for Gelding Plus payouts in 2002:
- The horse must have been foaled in 1999 or later and registered as a gelding prior to his 3-year-old year, or gelded and his status change reported to APHA prior to his 3-year-old year. Owners of horses foaled in 1999 must notify APHA of their horse's gelding status prior to December 31, 2001.
- Owners of the horses must be current members of APHA.
Note: Because the BFA World Barrel Futurity is for 4-year-olds, horses foaled in 1999 and meeting the reporting requirements are eligible to compete in that event in 2003.
For more information on the Gelding Plus Program, visit APHA's Gelding Plus Web site at http://www.apha.com/geldingplus.
To learn more about the American Paint Horse Association, visit the association's Web site at http://apha.com or call (817) 834-2742, extension 788.