AMHA Board Issues Home Office Relocation Project FAQ’s

September 6th, 2019

August 6, 2019, the American Morgan Horse Association’s Board of Directors issued a letter to the general membership regarding the status of the Lease Review Committee’s work on addressing the possible relocation of the AMHA Office. The original letter can be found on the AMHA website here. Since the letter was released, AMHA has received communications asking for additional information. In an effort to share both the questions and the board’s answers with the entire membership, the following FAQ’s have been issued.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Q. Why relocate the corporate office?
A. The office environment in today’s society is rapidly evolving and shrinking as more employees work remotely and many things are outsourced. This is true with AMHA as well. The office can function from literally anywhere as the majority of members conduct their business online or via phone and mail. It is the goal of the Board of Directors to maintain the minimum office requirements in a location that has the potential to benefit AMHA and its membership by being economically affordable, centrally located, and has equine related resources nearby. 

Q. What is annual visitation of members to the current office in Vermont?
A. Very few members are willing to make the trek to northern Vermont to visit offices which are located away from the main core of business in an office park whose main tenant is a school. The Board believes that a location at the KHP has the potential to actually attract a larger number of member visits.

Q. On what basis did the Board select the 4 geographical locations and why were the 3 others NOT chosen as the recommendation moving forward? Why were other locations not considered?
A. The two locations considered in New England had more to do with tradition and current presence in the markets. The two central locations were chosen to investigate further due to their ease of access and significance to horses in general and Morgans specifically. Since it was determined that the functions of AMHA’s offices could take place virtually anywhere (including in the virtual world), the decision making was reduced to the overall convenience of location, cost of living*, and proximity to horse culture. Lexington stood out as the clear winner with a central location to all members, a low cost of living as well as an unparalleled opportunity to promote our breed within the Horse Capital of the World. 

Q. Does the recommendation of Lexington mean the Kentucky Horse Park?
A. A suitable location has been identified at the KHP.

Q. What about the Morgan building at KHP?
A. This was a project started by the now defunct American Morgan Horse Institute or AMHI (not AMHA) many years ago and never completed. To the best of our knowledge the shell building’s ownership has reverted to the State of Kentucky and the KHP.

Q. Why does the Board believe this move will provide more marketing opportunities?
A. The KHP is an international gathering place for horsemen and horse fans of all breeds and disciplines. Nearly one million visitors per year, 50 to 60 horse shows held on site annually, twice daily Parade of Breed demonstrations, a children’s barn, ongoing promotional opportunities (such as Breyerfest, Kentucky 3-Day Event and the upcoming 2020 Equitana), all provide AMHA with many occasions to become involved and expose the Morgan horse to a worldwide audience.

Q. Why would we want to compete for attention in Kentucky with Thoroughbreds and Saddlebreds?
A. The Morgan Horse is a breed for all people and all reasons. It is an international breed having registries on 3 different continents. Old school myth says Morgans can’t compete against other breeds. Progressive thinking says yes they can. Morgans have successfully competed in open competition. We are highly respected within the equine community. Morgans hold their own and we firmly believe we will exceed all expectations.

Q. What are the economic impacts of a relocation?
A. The anticipated savings in rent and utilities ALONE is projected to be between $23,000 to $24,000 annually. There will be moving expenses in the year of relocation but the board and administration is committed to moving towards more electronic and cloud based systems. This will eliminate the need to retain or relocate much of the current office contents. The relocation was specifically aligned with the anticipated need (lease expiration) and preplanned budgeting to replace outdated servers and phones as well as our standard computer upgrades which have been long been delayed.

Q. What impact would the move have on Board of Director meetings?
A. The possibility of hosting board meetings on-site in one of the various FREE venues available at the Kentucky Horse Park would save AMHA meeting room and A/V costs (typically between $2,000 and $2,500 per meeting) that are traditionally incurred. Meeting locally at one of these cost saving sites would also eliminate any staff travel expenses (averaging $1,500 per meeting) which are covered in full by AMHA. It should be noted that AMHA only reimburses those Board members who request it for reasonable plane flights or gas. The Board is a volunteer organization and all members cover their own costs for hotels, meals and other expenses. Meetings have traditionally moved around the country to provide equal access to all members, although very few members attend. Meetings have been typically held in airport hotels and directors rarely leave the premises (prompting the selection of hotels with airport shuttles and restaurants on site).

Q. What will happen to the employees?
A. The employees will have a selection of opportunities from which to choose. Some employees will be relocating, some may be approved to work remotely, and some may elect to find other opportunities. A relocation to Lexington will also provide a readily available pool of future employees familiar with equine activities and businesses.

Q. What about the importance of maintaining a presence in New England?
A. AMHA is committed to retaining a public presence in New England via the National Museum of the Morgan Horse, a portion of which is on display at Pineland Farms north of Portland, Maine, and our support of all things Morgan.

Q. Would other suggested locations be considered if presented by the membership?
A. The Board of Directors will always entertain feedback and ideas from membership. Suggestions and supporting data/proposals should be submitted in writing to AMHA President Mari Sanderson at morgan4show@gmail.com no later than Friday, August 30, 2019.

Q. What has been the feedback from the membership?
A. AMHA has received written communications both in favor and disagreement with the possible relocation but the overall submitted feedback has been largely supportive to date. In order to ensure AMHA receives and is able to review all member comments and questions prior to the Sept. 7 board meeting, be sure to e-mail the AMHA Office at info@morganhorse.com or any of the Regional Directors at their e-mails shown at the end of these FAQ’s. All comments submitted in writing will be reviewed by the Board of Directors.

Q. Will members have access to the official presentation at the Third Quarter Board Meeting on Sept. 7, 2019?
A. Yes.

LIVE: As always, board meetings are open to both AMHA members and guests and all are invited to attend the meeting. Those wishing to attend the Third Quarter meeting in person can book hotel reservations at the host hotel (South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa) by calling 1-866-791-7626. The meeting will be held in the Morro Bay room.

TELECONFERENCE: Those unable to attend in person are invited to call in via the teleconference number 1 (571) 317-3112 and enter the passcode 373-451-949 at 9:00 AM “Pacific” time (10:00 AM Mountain; 11:00 AM Central; 12:00 PM Eastern). If you plan to call in via this teleconference option, please be sure to mute your phone unless you are granted permission to speak in order to avoid background noise and other disturbances that could interfere with official meeting business.

OPPORTUNITY FOR COMMENTS: AMHA members are allowed to participate during open discussion portions of the meeting. Comments may be limited in length subject to the discretion of the President and members may offer only 1 comment per discussion topic. Audience participants are expected to act with decorum and to address board members individually or collectively in a civil, non-threatening, non-abusive, non-harassing manner, and without interruption of ongoing discussions. Members who do not conduct themselves accordingly will receive a verbal warning from the Board President. If inappropriate language or behavior persists after one warning, the member may be requested to leave the meeting to allow board business to proceed.

Written communications are encouraged and welcome via e-mail at:

AMHA Office: info@morganhorse.com
Mari Sanderson, President and Western Region Director: Morgan4show@gmail.com
Harlan Grunden, Vice President and Central Region Director: hgrunden@curtis-ne.com
Kate Kirsch, Vice President of Finance and Eastern Region Director: kate@katekirschlaw.com
Terri Sturm, Lease Review Committee Chair and Western Region Director: terri@stolenacesfarm.com
Kristen Breyer, Central Region Director: briarpatcheast@aol.com
C.A. “Tony” Lee, III, Eastern Region Director: caliii@me.com
Carol Fletcher, Western Region Director: d3ofnine@gmail.com
Steven Handy, Eastern Region Director: s.t.handy@gmail.com
Vicki Bennett, Central Region Director: morganmebennett@gmail.com

AMHA Social Media Policy
AMHA’s standard policy is not to communicate or respond to Social Media chatter or discussion. Trying to respond to individual or other group posts is a very ineffective way to communicate AMHA’s official stance to our membership so we do not attempt to do so. AMHA only uses their own personal Social Media sites to communicate and comment on issues facing our association and members. Please send any comments, questions or other communications directly to AMHA or your Regional Directors as indicated above. Thank you.

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