University of Vermont AAHS

North American Horseman's Association Annual Conference 

Jan Dawson, President AAHS
[Reproduced from Caution:Horses, Vol. 1, No. 3 Spring/Summer 1996]

The annual conference of the North American Horseman's Association (NAHA) and the North American Association of Pack and Trail Operators just gets better every year. The best aspect is that the speakers and attendees come from different backgrounds and have different opinions. It continues to be a tremendous open forum for ideas as well as an opportunity to meet experts and operators from around the country.

Although not always in agreement, everyone is united in the desire to avoid accidents and lawsuits.

A mock trial proved to be both an eye-opener and entertaining. "Judge" Julie I. Fershtman and attorneys, Leila Moncharsh and Susanne Deli, gave the audience a realistic taste of litigation - not a fun experience.

Among the topics covered during the three days in beautiful boulder, Colorado were avoidance of a runaway and driver certification for horse-drawn vehicles; clearing your horse for public re-use after an accident; what it takes to be an expert witness; running a profitable horse operation; and how to develop and use an employee training and procedures manual in your business.

The conference was concluded with a dinner, compliments of the Ark International Group and Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Paynesville, Minnesota. At the dinner, it was obvious that many new connections and friendships were being formed, judging by the amount of table hopping and the length of time people continued to hang around and talk. This conference should be a must on any horse professional's list.

AAHS is pleased to welcome back from her home in Australia, Clinician Luci Dillon. She will be doing another "last" season at YMCA's Raintree Ranch in Julian, California. We have to assume that she can't get enough "Yankee food." Luci is an expert camp drafter -- team penner to us -- in an Australian stock saddle. She also cracks a mean stock whip, so those little Raintree wranglers better look out.

Vice President, Nancy Lunzer, my husband, Bob, and I enjoyed visiting with our friends old and new at the annual conference of the American Camping Association in San Diego, California. We appreciated all the well-wishers who stopped by the booth we shared with the North American Horseman's Association. San Diego was fun.

On a more serious note, we understand that due to the prolonged drought in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas hay suitable for horses has been pretty much exhausted. With camp approaching as well as other seasonal horse activities, we can only recommend consulting with your veterinarian and feed dealer to learn of some possible alternative feeds. I can remember that in central Mexico most people did not have hay as we know it. There are alternative methods of feeding.

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