Adams Talks: Part Two
July 27th, 2012
Dick Adams has been a very successful Breeder, Promoter, Marketer & Judge within the Arabian Horse Breed's international community for thirty-five years. He was the managing Partner of the very successful Fame VF "sire-line" entity that for over two decades was a power-house force, dominating both the premier Breeding in Hand (Halter) and Performance (Western Pleasure & Hunter Pleasure) disciplines of the mid 1980s, through the 1990s & well into the 2000s.
"My purpose with the Adams Papers is to create a very insightful, stimulating & thoughtfully useful logic! I have been a very serious student of Tae Kwon Do (the Martial Art) and Kendo (the techniques of the Japanese Katana/longsword). One of the premier instructions/foundations of the Martial Arts is for the student to "understand the principle before he/she develops a technique". If you understand the "principle", the technique will then be adaptable. This concept carries over strongly to the Arabian Horse involvements. Most miscalculations are the result of a failure to thoroughly understand the important processes of the basics." - Dick Adams
What does the future of the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) hold?
The AHA's future is directly tied to the economics and prestige of the U.S. National Championship Show. While our U.S. Nationals, arguably, does have the distinction of being the number one Arabian Horse Show in our national equine community... it must regain its stature as, clearly, the number one Breeding in Hand Show/Halter Show... in the World's eye. While it could survive as the premier venue for the Performance disciplines; that, in itself, is part of the problem.
First: The Arabian Horse is a unique breed! A breed that, for millenniums, evolved a very specific character; a character that, through selective breeding, was purposely shaped to the needs of the Bedouin Tribesman. We... have a duty to maintain that historical character!
Second: Gloriously... the Arabian Horse as a breed, has, within it, the ability to present itself in multiple performance disciplines. Performance Classes, while Breed affiliated, are still only competitive performing disciplines. Western & English Pleasure had absolutely no involvement with the Arabian Horse, until the last 5 or 6 decades. Do they have importance? Great importance... both economically and emotionally! Our Performance disciplines prove the tractability and diverse athletic quality of the Arabian Breed and its value when combined genetically with other breeds. They afford a venue of excitement that "halter" classes do not & cannot. The reality is that the economics of the Breeders of "halter" Horses would become dire without the performance market. The fact is, the major Sires of the Breed have had a superior "cross-over" capability.
How does the U.S.'s approach to breeding differ from that of the world?
The greatness of the "North American" use of the Arabian Horse is unique to the world's approach. We have a greater understanding of the specific and precise "use", of the Arabian Horse, than most of our international brothers & sisters. For us... there needs to be a highly functional athlete between the pretty head and the long posted tail. Historically... we are the innovators! I, personally, am very proud of this. We have been spoiled with the complete Arabian Horse. And... I love being spoiled!
The misconception of the valuable Arabian Horse as being an exceptionally beautiful head and a strongly posted tail... with minimal quality in between... will be to the advantage of the North American Breeder's. WE... understand balanced movement. What we all must understand is that balanced movement... does, actually... contribute to the total value of the "Type"category of our Scoring Systems! Let me be "profound"! "Type" cannot be evaluated properly without interacting with "Movement"! As a Judge... I never enter the Type score before I evaluate the contribution of Movement. I never enter the Movement score before I evaluate the Conformation of the entry. To correctly evaluate Movement... you must understand how it can and why it does... move like it does!
What can the AHA do to move to prosperity?
The AHA is, to its detriment, a quantitative entity and not a qualitative entity! This is very important to understand. One of their primary goals is to increase AHA memberships: quantitative. Another priority goal is to increase registrations: quantitative. Another is to encourage show involvement: quantitative. All quantitative; for the purpose of economic solvency. While you cannot argue with this business approach... its reality is that it cannot lead to prosperity... without being qualitative!
A qualitative AHA would develop the encouragement of new memberships by clearly establishing desirable goals through exceptionally high quality productions, quality promotions and quality involvements. A qualitative AHA would encourage increased breeding through the expression of an exceptionally high quality and valuable image of the Arabian Horse. A qualitative AHA would encourage increased show participation by providing a quality venue, quality production and a high quality and rewarding image. Quantitative or Qualitative... AHA?
And... aside from being a quantifier, the AHA has the fiduciary task of binding all the variable segments of the Arabian Horse's domain of discourse. While this is paramount to the AHA's continuing success, it is NOT paramount to the ultimate qualitative successes of the Arabian Breed in North America. This is an impossible task when you consider their inability to effectively specifically use the phrases & words; "for all... &... for some, without restricting all concerns or stepping on some faction's toes! It cannot effectively nor ideally take care of the vast range of Arabian Horse interests, without falling into a perceived and very damaging bias. Impossible task! Because of this, the AHA has a clearly quantitative disposition and not the necessary qualitative position. But... does the AHA really need to be more qualitative? Many of our most successful Breeders AND Shows... have proven that they do not need the sanction of the AHA.
Let's face the reality that has clearly presented itself: The AHA has the ability to control its own positive destiny... and can do so... by a thoughtful approach to analyzing strong and effective tactics & strategies that make their Programs and Competitions more appealing to potential participants than available alternatives. But, while the AHA can control its own destiny... it can NOT control... the destiny of the Arabian Breed. The fact is: The North American Arabian Breed is much more than the authority of the AHA.
The very best we can hope for is a parent entity, such as AHA, creating a frame that will hold and support the efforts of our individual and specific interest. By this I mean, all appropriately adequate disciplines need to be able to depend on AHA for the same support aspects (insurance, governance & support, administrative staff, judges & stewards and a common Registry)... but, all definitive issues need to be developed by, initiated and controlled by each individual discipline. The USEF's affiliation, with its many breed divisions, would be an example. What Scottsdale and Vegas have proven is that shows can be very successful with a base governance of the USEF... and none with AHA.
The huge question is not whether the Breed can flourish outside of the AHA, but, to what degree it can flourish... and, how its many disciplines will develop programs to benefit their interest. It is obvious that certain quality shows can. But, the reality of logical assessment screams that major changes need to take place.
What are some of these major changes?
This idea that 400 Convention Delegates is an astutely knowledgeable body is absolutely absurd and affected by ethically tainted egoism... and, blatantly INSULTING to the progress of the vested individual! Within the Convention delegate structure, itself, we can clearly see the ugliness of our domain of discourse. Too often, I hear the word "democracy" as a description of why the AHA is such a "good" organization. AHA needs to amend this flawed perception of democracy!
So... what is a democracy? Democracy in its purest or most ideal form would be a society in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. "...that affect THEIR lives." Key phrase that qualifies OR disqualifies the individual delegate.
The government of the United States is NOT a pure or classic "democracy". It is a "constitutional republic government".
John Adams defined a republic as "a government of laws, and not of men."
The fact is: Constitutional republics weaken the negative threat of "majoritarianism" and protects dissenting individuals and minority groups from the "primacy of the majority" " by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population.
So... just what IS "majoritarianism": It is the opinion/ viewpoint or agenda... that realizes that a majority can assert its belief that the population is entitled to a definite degree of primacy in society, and has the right to make decisions that affect that society. This long-established view has become archaic in both democratic governments and business administration governance. Increasingly included constraints have been included in limiting what the parliamentary majority can do, in order to protect citizens', investors' and members' fundamental rights... yet... the AHA continues to ignore this.
The "primacy of the majority"! At the AHA Convention... Breeders of Halter Horses... ARE a minority... that need to be protected from the conflicting will of the majority! Yet... the "majority" of new registration are sired by Stallions that are considered Halter Sires.
So... let's look at the AHA's Bylaws and what they lack for effectiveness in governing. And then... AMEND! Nothing... unethical or un-American... about that! Nothing... disrespectful to the AHA... about that! Afterall... the U.S. Constitution was written to allow for necessary change, through the amendment process. THAT... is the truist purpose of a good convention process; to adjust the "foundation" so the building can be stronger and better.
AHA needs to look at this for the same reason that the U.S. Constitution's Tenth Amendment gave the individual States a high degree of sovereignty. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The AHA Convention has taken upon itself the authority to "dictate"! Someone needs to interpret the intent of the AHA's Bylaws and, hopefully, relieve AHA of the burden of micromanagement.
The question is: Just how much authority of choice do the individual Clubs have in making decisions that are most logical to their well being and benefit? Clearly we can see that logical decision making is, almost always beneficial, when it is specific to an interest group. Whether the "domain" agrees with this decision is and has to be mandated as irrelevant. If AHA does not begin to allow more control to the clearly vested, we will continue to see more Scottsdales, Vegas, Iowa, Celebrations and other unsanctioned shows. This idea of the non AHA sanctioned show is not new. The Pyramid Society has fostered a highly successful venue for a very specific entity for decades: The Egyptian Event.
And finally: Governance is the act of governing. It is the action of decision making that defines expectations, the decisions that establish powers and authenticate performance. The AHA's governance expresses the qualities and character of the AHA's leadership and management. Now... lets determine whether the AHA governance is restricted by its Bylaws... or a miss-interpretation of the positive intent of those very Bylaws.
The AHA is not constructed to provide for the development of high level values of the Arabian Horse's marketability. The pragmatic fact is: The AHA does not breed Arabian Horses!!!! Its members... and the huge competing "world" do!