January 14, 2008 -- The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), the world's largest equine breed registry and membership organization, has reached the 5 millionth registration milestone. Registration number 5,000,000 is being held for Shelly Nielsen of Alberta, Canada, who purchased the naming rights through an online auction.
At 3:36:01 p.m. CST on December 26, 2007, AQHA completed registration number 4,999,999 and assigned the number to Slash Nic, a bay roan stallion owned by Julie Ann Boer of Rigby, Idaho.
Nielsen, who is an AQHA life member, was the highest bidder of the online auction that was held for the 5 millionth registration number. While the special American Quarter Horse that will be AQHA's number 5,000,000 hasn't been born yet, Nielsen's bid of $8,750 will benefit many horses through the American Quarter Horse Foundation (AQHF) as the auction proceeds will be donated to the Foundation's Equine Research Fund.
Since 1979, AQHA and AQHF have provided more than $6 million in equine research grants to numerous colleges and universities. In 1994, a permanent fund was established with a long-term goal of $5 million for equine research for the prevention and cure of equine diseases and injuries.
"We are very excited to welcome Shelly Nielsen's new foal into the registry as number 5,000,000," said AQHA Executive Vice President Bill Brewer. "We are grateful for our valuable members who helped us reach this monumental accomplishment. As the only equine organization worldwide to reach this number, we are proud to be the registry of the world's most popular and versatile horse."
"My husband, Steve Brown, was the one that really wanted the 5 millionth registration number," Shelly says. "He was really excited and followed the bidding until it closed.
"When our foals arrive this spring, we will determine which one will be the best to have the number," says the AQHA Professional Horsewoman, who trains reiners, and pleasure and working cow horses. "We are probably going to name the foal Wynns Five Million, after our 21-month-old son, Wynn. Besides, 'Wynn' also sounds like 'win.'"
In addition to the online auction for the number, AQHA also conducted a "guess the date and time" contest for all members to try to guess the correct date and time at which the Association would register its 5 millionth American Quarter Horse. Brenda Campbell of Jamestown, Pa., won "the guessing game." Campbell guessed the milestone would be reached December 26 at 10:07 a.m. For her close guess, Campbell wins a trip for two to the Bonanza Creek Guest Ranch in Martindale, Mont., courtesy of the Dude Ranchers of America.
In 1941, AQHA registered its first horse--a stallion named Wimpy. A bronze of that first horse sits at the entrance to AQHA. In 1974, AQHA surpassed registration number 1,000,000 but did not assign the number to a horse. It was reserved to honor the men and women who helped build the association. In 1983, registration number 2,000,000 was given to a mare named Two Million, owned by the King Ranch of Kingsville, Texas. Eight years later in 1991, Three Million Cash, owned by the Phillips Ranch of Frisco, Texas, was given registration number 3,000,000. Ten years after that, in 2001, registration number 4,000,000 was given to Shinelikefourmillion owned by Carol Rose of Gainesville, Texas.