<P>82 SEPTEMBER 2013 Q-RACING JOURNAL Val competed on reiners until 2003 when she took her first stint at TQHA. As director of shows, she oversaw the Texas Classic horse show, which grew from a four-day show that was losing money when she took over to a highly profitable 10-day event before it ceased in 2010. There was, however, one more stop on their journey before the Clarks settled permanently. In January 2006, Daves job moved them to the United Kingdom, so Val resigned from TQHA but kept the Texas Classic show as a contract worker until she finished the last of that paperwork in 2008. She also did several reining shows while in the UK, just to help out and get more into the culture there. The horse people over there were wannabe Texans, so I could play the Texan card and they just ate it up. So, could the very proper English – I dunno – shape a hat? Oh God no, I could show you pictures . . . Office Time THE CLARKS WERE IN ENGLAND UNTIL SPRING 2008, WHEN THEY came back to Texas and Val went to visit her family, whom she hadnt seen in a couple years. While she was in Canada, she was offered the job as executive director of Texas H.O.R.S.E. She started in August 2008. An alliance of industry groups, Texas H.O.R.S.E. (Horse Organizations for Racing, Show & Eventing) comprises AQHA and TQHA, but also the National Cutting Horse, American Paint Horse and Texas Thoroughbred associations, as well as others based in the state. Our mission was to unite the horse industry in Texas, she said. Our primary goal was to present a united front for passing VLTs at racetracks. Sadly, were no closer today than then. But I feel that Texas H.O.R.S.E., as a whole, brought more awareness of the Texas horse industry to the Texas legislature than it ever had in the past. All of a sudden, we were a united front, a larger front. … The chance of passage? Its a tough sell in Texas. I think we need a legislative body that is unified itself. Its got to come from their leadership and its got to be a push from their leadership. I just dont think the appetite is there with our political climate, and I dont see that changing any time soon. Its going to be really hard, but regardless, the horse industry needs to stay united and work together in harmony with the racetracks. Thats the only way well get anything done. Val in mid-January took the reins at TQHA, AQHAs larg- est affiliate with some 2,500 members and College Station attorney Trey Malechek as president. Val oversees the staff of racing director Rob Werstler; finance officer Kim Baker; Melissa Sperry, who runs the Accredited Texas-Bred program; and Marsha Kesner, who had worked for TQHA for more than 20 years and has returned as a part-time staffer who fills in wherever needed. Headquartered in Austin, TQHA comprises two divisions, Racing and Halter/Performance. With the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) as its flagship event, the racing side runs the Accredited Texas-Bred program, which provides millions of dollars in purse supplements to owners, breeders and stallion owners of ATB horses, while the annual sale for Accredited Texas-Bred yearlings, each July in San Antonio, makes sale graduates eligible for the $100,000-added TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2, this year with a $441,790 purse). TQHA routinely employs a lobbyist to monitor and advise the organization on equine industry issues and encourages members to become involved in political issues through the TQHA Political Action Committee, which resulted in 2009 in the Texas legislature adopting a resolution naming the American Quarter Horse the states official horse. TQHA also approves more than 50 AQHA shows hosted by Texas affiliates. Points earned at these shows are used for year-end awards, and qualifying for the TQHA Champion of Champions show (which qualifies Novice exhibitors to the AQHA Novice Championships) and for the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show (to which TQHA sent 130 kids this year). The racehorse industry is struggling in this state, obvi- ously, because its been hit hardest by the surrounding states, Val said. The rest of the horse industry in Texas is thriving. … The industry is not going away – this is Texas. People here are always going to have horses. Lone Star Life EVEN BEFORE THE CLARKS LEFT TO GO ACROSS THE POND, THEY knew where they would end up. We kept our house in Texas and rented it out, she said. This was home. We have dual citizenship. Before we moved to England, we became U.S. citizens – we had to get back in. So now Val and Dave are back. This time, they say, for good. They have two Quarter Horse geldings: Fred (the 7-year- old Sparkles Valentine by Lenas Wright On) and Dollar (12-year-old Fames Shadow by Comes With Fame). They keep them at home, where they live on 15 acres with a small barn, pens and pasture outside Elgin. They are typical of todays Quarter Horse owner, three- quarters of whom keep their horses on their own land. More than half of AQHAs members own five or fewer horses, ride primarily for recreation and pleasure, and nei- ther show nor race. And over the last couple of years, Ive become part of that group and Im lovin it, said the ex-competitor. Its a chang- ing dynamic. A lot of people today dont want to spend a whole bunch of money. Everybody wants to improve their riding; I certainly do, but I dont want to compete anymore. I would rather go ride the mountains. . . . Were all in this because we love the horse, right? she asked. So no matter what we do – whether its showing high level or racing or trail riding or just going out feeding them and hugging their neck every evening – were all horse own- ers and were all united and bonded in that. I think thats unique and very special, and people who dont have horses dont have that blessing. When I tell people I have horses, I always get a reac- tion, she continued. People love horses. We need to be ambassadors for the horse industry, even for people who will never ever own a horse. My husband and I recently took our horses to the Carson National Forest in New Mexico, and do you know how many letters Ive gotten from Carson National because I let a whole bunch of kids pet my horse in camp? No, theyll never own a horse – or maybe they will. But in any case, we can all be ambassadors for the horse industry. The globe-trotting Canadian farm girl is an ambassador for horses. And for Texas. Welcome home, Val. Richard Chamberlain is senior writer for AQHA Publications. To comment, write to richc@aqha.org.</p> <UL><LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/1/1/">Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/2/2/">Inside-Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/3/3/">Page-3</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/4/4/">Page-4</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/5/5/">Page-5</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/6/6/">Page-6</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/7/7/">Page-7</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/8/8/">Page-8</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/9/9/">Page-9</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/10/10/">Page-10</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/335/josgoiuzx/11/11/">Page-11</a></LI> <LI><a 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