Second Quarter Board Meeting Highlights

May 7th, 2020


Second Quarter Board Meeting Highlights
Below you will find highlights from the AMHA Board of Directors Second Quarter Meeting which took place via ZOOM video conference on Saturday, April 25, 2020. Following the meeting highlights are the “Regional Reports” from your directors.

Meeting Minutes: Meeting minutes from the meetings held on January 22, 2020, January 23 & February 10, 2020, March 13, 2020, March 16, 2020 and March 23, 2020 were approved and are now posted for your review on the Members Only side of the website here: (Minutes are posted to this web page once they are formally approved by the BOD or the corresponding committee.)

President’s Report: President Lee asked that everyone keep the health and welfare of all in mind and remember to stay safe and strong. He reported that the Grand National Committee is meeting every two weeks to keep abreast of the quickly changing situations. It was noted that the industry was lucky to have such a knowledgeable committee that planned and established the reserve fund to assist should a catastrophic loss occur. In addition, President Lee reported on the recent activities of the Joint Leadership Council and reported that the JLC has been very busy with various projects revolving around the assistance to the industry during this difficult time.

AMHECT Report: It was noted that the AMHECT Board of Trustees met on March 2 and April 14 and that Mike Goebig was appointed and approved as the Trust President while Carol Fletcher was elected Finance Chair. AMHECT approved and issued three grants to AMHA including 1) $18,565.35 for AMHA Marketing Endeavors, 2) $6,961.97 for AMHA Regional Show Support, and 3) $2,320.66 for AMHA Show Grant Support. The accounting firm of McSoley, McCoy and Company is currently working on the 2019 AMHECT Audit.

The Morgan Horse Magazine Report: TMH Magazine Editor, Stephen Kinney along with Associate Editor, Kim Oplotnik were on the video conference and provided the board with an overview of the current state of the magazine, the possible modifications that are being considered due to expected loss of ad income due to COVID-19 and creative advertising opportunities. Updates regarding the implementation of the Broodmare Hall of Fame Equitation Horse Results were provided. It was noted that while the Magazine Advisory Committee had been dissolved, that Dallas Bolen would serve as the official liaison between the magazine and the Board of Directors throughout the year but that Stephen would participate directly in quarterly board meetings for a more formal reporting process.

Executive Director’s Report: Executive Director, Carrie Mortensen reported on the following topics:

  • Office challenges due to the Stay-At-Home Orders and operating entirely via remote workstations and the various modifications implemented.
  • The Annual Director Reimbursement Disclosure report was read and will be available in the final, approved meeting minutes.
  • The Rainy-Day Fund update reflected withdrawals totaling $69,520.35 for legal fees incurred from October 2019 through March 2020. Available funds in the Rainy-Day account have now been depleted down to $75,336.38.
  • A thank you letter of appreciation complimenting the Morgan Horse Magazine staff from Lippitt Club Director Jim McClay was read to the Board.
  • Year to Date Financials ending February 29, 2020 were reviewed.

Registry: Please click here to view the statistics reported by the Registrar through March 31, 2020.

The Board voted to change the rules regarding changing a horse’s registered name so that in order to change a horse’s registered name (regardless if the horse has a registered prefix or not), permission must be granted by the owner of the dam at the time of foaling. This change will go into effect on June 1, 2020.

It was determined to proceed with the establishment of the Registry Breeders Awards beginning in 2021 for all World Champion and High Point Classes and AMHA will actively pursue sponsors to offset any expenses of the program.

Bylaws: The Board approved the Bylaws Committee recommendation to amend Section 4.11 of the Bylaws to delete the requirement for 45 days-notice to be sent to hold a Special Meeting and replace it with 48 hours-notice. Also approved were updates in Section 2.16(a) wherein the name of Vermont will be replaced by the name of Kentucky to change jurisdiction venue now that the home office has relocated. The Bylaws Committee continues researching and working on several pending items and will continue to research and report back to the Board.

Finance: The impact of COVID-19 on the horse industry in general, as well as the AMHA in particular, was discussed extensively. It is expected to impact every revenue source including magazine advertising, registry transactions, memberships, Star Shows, Champion Title Program, etc. In addition, continued legal fees incurred due to Victoria Bennett’s lawsuit continue to grow and drain the Rainy-Day Fund. The Finance Committee will schedule a meeting to review possible budget cuts based on expected loss of income in the coming weeks and significant reductions in expenses will be required. The 2019 AMHA Audit is complete and was approved by both the Finance Committee and the Board. A copy of the Audit is posted on the Members Only side of the AMHA website at

Fund Balances as of April 4, 2020 were reported as follows below.
$294,192.13 Registry Trust
$99, 656.59 Epperson Trust
$286,829.56 Museum Endowment
$8,647.19 van Schaik Dressage
$107,656.38 Rainy Day/Contingency Fund
$7,453.15 Youth Council Fund
$9,007.91 Medal Scholarship Fund
$2,580.41 Museum’s Dupont Restricted Fund
$10,728.82 Museum’s Operating Account
$282,391.35 AMHA’s Operating Account

While the Rainy-Day Fund balance is $107,656.38, there are funds earmarked for moving expenses and upgrades to technical equipment leaving a $79,656.38 balance in the Rainy-Day Fund.

Special Committee Reports: The Board received reports from the Special Committees and some of the highlights included:

  • A thank you note from the 2020 van Schaik Dressage Scholarship recipient (Renee Surprenant) was read to the Board.
  • Update regarding USEF’s policy for handling cancelled judges’ schools was provided.
  • Amazing progress of several youth programs since the hiring of a full-time Youth Programs Manager.
  • The establishment of an AMHA Welfare & Rescue Committee.

Pending USEF Rule Changes:
The board reviewed the pending rule change proposals from USEF and determined to provide formal support for EQ118.12 (Equitation-USEF Medal Final), DR133.1 (Dressage-Opportunity Classes), MO166 (Morgan-AMHA Medal) and WD102 (Western Dressage-Membership). You can find the pending rule change proposals in full on the USEF website at

New Business/Action Items: Several items of New Business and/or Action Items were included on the agenda and discussed by the Board including:

  • Pending Trademark Renewals – A task force was established to review.
  • Proxy Voting – It was determined to remove the requirement to have a photo ID since it was a violation of religious beliefs for many of the Morgan community.
  • Temporarily amend the requirements for candidates running for the Board of Directors in 2021 to NOT be required to attend a Board meeting live and in person before submitting nomination materials. For this nomination period only, participation in an entire meeting via video conferencing utilizing the video-sharing option would suffice.
  • Insurance Proposals – A sub-committee will be established by C.A. Lee, III and Kate Kirsch to review the recent proposals to switch insurance coverage to Cincinnati Insurance Company.
  • COVID-19 issues ranging from loss of income, required cuts, liability issues, SBA loan applications, return to office protocols and the viability of AMHA programs were discussed. It was determined that things are rapidly changing, and the Board would need to continue to follow the data closely as well as issue best practices and budget adjustments. The Board will continue to monitor and meet as needed.

Remaining Quarterly Meetings:
The tentative dates for the Third and Fourth Quarter meetings are subject to change based on possible adjustments required due to Coronavirus policies and safety. At this time, the meetings are scheduled as listed below.

Third Quarter, August 7-8, 2020 (Lexington, Kentucky)
Fourth Quarter, November 6-7, 2020 (Lexington, Kentucky)

AMHA Board meetings are open to members and guests and the Directors encourage members to participate.

Any questions regarding these highlights can be directed to AMHA Executive Director, Carrie J. Mortensen at or (802) 985-4944, Ext. 201.

Eastern Region Report

The AMHA Board of Directors met on April 25th for our quarterly meeting. Due to COVID-19, the meeting took place via Zoom rather than our new offices in Kentucky. We found Zoom to be a very effective tool for our meeting and were happy to welcome numerous members who were in attendance. Despite the unique meeting structure, much was accomplished through collaborative discussion and action which will move our organization and breed forward in these unprecedented times.

We received an update on the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show which reiterated our good fortune in having a conscientious, experienced Show Committee at the reins during this time. The Show Committee has been successfully operating this show for years while also looking toward the future to ensure that the show would have adequate resources to survive in the event of an unexpected event by establishing and funding a rainy-day fund. The Show Committee is carefully evaluating every aspect of the current situation and will keep exhibitors informed as things transpire.

We also heard updates from the Joint Leadership Council through our President and sitting member, Tony Lee. We are fortunate to have a strong constituency of organizations band together to aid in decision making and policy setting during this tumultuous time for the horse show industry. The Joint Leadership Council, comprised of the leaders of the AMHA, AHHS, ASHA, RHPA, and UPHA, is meeting regularly to work on current issues pertinent to the horse industry while also preparing guidelines which will be available shortly to show committees and exhibitors on how the industry can move forward during this time.

The AMHA Board of Directors has formed a new committee, the Welfare & Rescue Committee. This committee, chaired by Kelly Kraegel, seeks to brainstorm and implement ways the AMHA can assist the organizations that help those Morgans that find themselves in tough situations. The committee has already reached out to non-profit organizations that help Morgans in dire situations to determine how the AMHA can better assist these rescues in their work. This includes expanding knowledge of AMHA’s Full Circle Program, which allows anyone with a Morgan (past or present) to provide a potential safety net by being the contact for that horse and recording that horse in this free program should the horse fall on hard times. This can be a lifeline for horses that find themselves in trouble.

With the majority of the country at home, many businesses and organizations are suffering. The AMHA is no different and the impact of the virus, coupled with the ongoing lawsuit brought by member Vicki Bennett, on the finances of our organization were discussed at length. We expect this crisis to impact the bottom line of every AMHA program from Star and Regional Shows, to the Champion Title program, to memberships, transfers, registrations and The Morgan Horse magazine. The Finance Committee will meet in May with the Executive Director to review the 2020 budget and makes cuts as necessary to keep our organization viable. The AMHA has asked for your help by requesting that each member renew their membership in 2020.

The AMHA is working hard to provide our members with the information they require to plan and process how this virus may impact their farms, horses and the equine industry in general. We hope you all remain safe and well. 

Steven Handy
Kate Kirsch
C.A. Lee, III

Central Region Report

“Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the days
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears
What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?
Now they must learn from one another
Day by day”

The days may not fly by so quickly for some of us in the equine industry, while it may for others. This year is bringing unprecedented challenges for us all. We know that we all want to be with our Morgans, at home, on the trails, at shows and many of us cannot do that.

Each day seems to bring new challenges for us all.

Thankfully, some have found ways to “see” their Morgans via videos from their trainers and friends. Some are still able to be with their Morgans, but not go anywhere with them.

No matter where you are, what you do, please take care, and realize we are all in this situation together and will find light at the end of our travails. Hopefully, our later season equine activities will take place.

Watch the AMHA Weekly News Briefs, Facebook page and website for updates.

Kris Breyer
Harlan Grunden
Kelly Kraegel

Western Region Report

Wow, a lot has changed for all of us in a few months since our last Board meeting in January in Lexington. ZOOM has become our new best friend! The first official quarterly meeting via ZOOM occurred on Saturday, April 25, 2020. We haven't worked all the kinks out but we're getting closer. Some positives with online meetings include no travel expenses which saves AMHA some money as well as being able to have multiple guests logged on to listen and interact. Anyone who would like to join us is welcome.

The COVID-19 Crisis is on everyone's mind and at this point it affected almost everything on our agenda. As with everybody else, one of our biggest concerns is finances. The global emails have been encouraging membership renewals and magazine advertising (I heard August's back cover is still available so someone hurry and snatch it up!), but we are looking at ways to save money such as shopping for a better rate on all of our insurances. The Victoria Bennett lawsuit has put a huge strain on our finances even before COVID-19. In less than six months, through the end of March 2020, $69,500 has been spent on legal fees which is almost half of our Rainy-Day Fund. I know finances are a big concern for many of our members, but remember that every bit of income helps your association!

We really are all in this together. Everyone is struggling with anxiety about the unknown. Please be aware that while we don't have all the answers, your AMHA Board is here to listen. We welcome your ideas on how to help the Association weather this storm and come out stronger than before to help our members and our beloved Morgan breed. With our ZOOM capabilities it is easier than ever before to volunteer for committees and task forces. We need you and want to hear from you.

We hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and #morganstrong.

Dallas Bolen
Mari Sanderson
Terri Sturm