May 22, 2010 -- Since its inception in 1992, the American Hunter Jumper Foundation (AHJF) has established itself by creating a new vision for the sport of hunters in the United States. Now after five years of growth, the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) has not only established these same goals but has the resources, staffing and vision to take them even further.
AHJF founders Geoff Teall and Louise Serio are proud of what the AHJF has achieved, especially the much sought after World Champion Hunter Rider awards program. However, they have always had one more dream they wanted to achieve and that is to create an endowment fund to secure the future of our sport. By uniting their efforts with the USHJA and its Foundation, they see that vision becoming a reality. They want to initiate the first step by transferring the current assets of the AHJF Emergency Relief Fund to the USHJA Foundation's Horseman's Assistance Fund and be one of the first to kick off the endowment fund. The Horseman's Assistance Fund is a charitable aid program created by the USHJA Foundation and modeled after the AHJF Emergency Relief Fund.
"By getting behind the USHJA and its Foundation, we are also fulfilling one of our most sought after objectives, which has always been to create an endowment fund which will guarantee the future of the sport that is so important to all of us. By putting the strength of the AHJF behind the efforts of the USHJA, we feel that we can help them achieve that milestone. The USHJA Foundation has a goal of creating a $1 million endowment fund. To us, it is absolutely clear that getting behind the efforts of the USHJA is such a positive step for both our organizations and for the horses and riders we support," said Teall.
The programs initiated by the AHJF will remain intact and because of the larger membership of the USHJA and its resources, these programs will become even better and reach an even larger audience. The two organizations have met and agreed that as of May 31, 2010, any currently active programs now run by the AHJF will continue as they have in the past, but under the umbrella of the USHJA. This ensures that nothing will interfere with the World Championship Hunter Rider awards series and that the WCHR horse shows, points, regional awards and finals at Capital Challenge will all take place as they have in previous years. Steps have already been made and a plan of action is in place to transfer the administration of the WCHR programs to the USHJA. Oversight of the WCHR programs will be provided by a Special Committee within the USHJA, consisting primarily of current AHJF Directors. Membership will still be required in order for points to count for 2010.
USHJA Foundation President and AHJF Secretary Lynn Jayne recognized the potential for expanding the reach and fundraising abilities of the Emergency Relief Fund early in the process.
"As a Board Member of the AHJF, I have had the opportunity to see the Emergency Relief Fund help members of our industry in ways that have changed their lives," she said. "It is with great confidence that I look forward to the USHJA Foundation continuing to support those in need. By combining the AHJF Emergency Relief Fund assets with the growth and development of the USHJA Foundation, we will be able to assist not only people in need, but horses and organizations as well."
AHJF President Keeley Gogul said the decision to unite with the USHJA was made because ultimately it will mean the programs started by the AHJF will offer even more opportunities to those participating in them.
"With the reality of not only being able to continue and to improve our present programs, but also to realize our vision of an endowment fund, embracing the USHJA just makes sense," Gogul said. "By uniting with the USHJA, we can combine our efforts and resources to introduce quality new programming, continue the WCHR award series, expand the efforts of the Emergency Relief Fund and create an endowment to secure the future of our sport. In the end, our horses, riders and businesses will have more opportunities to be rewarded for their efforts."