Whenever horses are for sale in Texas, one of the most popular horses purchased is the paint horse. However, these Western stock horses have not always enjoyed such popularity. The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) will turn 50 on February 16 and now has registered more than one million horses, which is a far cry from the 250 registered horses that it saw in its first year back in 1962.
Rebecca Tyler Lockhart of Gainesville, Texas, began the association because she loved beautifully colored horses. Most in the industry doubted that such an association would ever survive, and breeders argued against a registry for paint horses. Naysayers argued that breeders would not want to have such horses for sale as they did other breeds. However, Lockhart would not be deterred and began to hold meetings for potential members in her home.
Initially called the American Paint Stock Horse Association, the organization was incorporated in 1962 and had 150 members with 250 registered horses by the end of the year. Among some of the notable horses in that early registry were Bandit’s Pinto, the first horse registered; Calamity Jane, registered at number 21 and named the NCHA Paint Horse of the Year three years in a row; and Wahoo King, one of the top roping horses of his generation. As the registry grew, more and more registered paint horses became available for sale in Texas.
In 1965, the American Paint Stock Horse Association merged with the American Paint Quarter Horse Association in Amarillo and became the modern-day APHA. A new registry was begun for horses that came into the registry under the new association, which began with number 2600. The first slot was filled by Tuff Cat, who had won the National Champion Stallion Class in Kansas City in 1964.
The APHA has had an impact on contemporary breeding of horses as well. It is now the second-largest breed registry, and it was the first among Western horse breeders to allow the use of transported cooled semen in order to breed horses. It was also the first registry to make online foal registration available. The Association now has an entire online listing of horses for sale in Texas.
To celebrate the milestone in February, the APHA will induct 25 horses into the newly created Hall of Fame located at its headquarters in Ft. Worth, Texas. In addition, the APHA has events scheduled throughout the year and has created a 50th Anniversary belt buckle crafted with silver and rubies.