The Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHA) was established in 1956 to provide a registry of show records and pedigrees for horses with colored markings. Their early efforts were successful. Today, their membership numbers are around 82,000 and boast more than 155,000 head of horses.
“The Pinto Horse Association takes a unique approach to the horse industry,” says Morgan Vance, public information officer for Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and past national PtHA youth president.
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Vance has spent her whole life – even before she was born – around horses. Her mother’s baby shower, preparing for Vance’s arrival, was held at a Pinto horse show in Tulsa.
“Unlike many associations who recognize breeds, PtHA is a color association,” Vance says. “That means any equine with colored markings can be registered. They’ve also expanded to include a solid color division, which means practically anyone who owns a horse can participate.”
From miniatures and ponies to stock horses, long ears and drafts, you are sure to spot a variety of breeds at PtHA shows.
“If you can name it, Pinto probably has a place for it,” Vance says.
Their headquarters is in Bethany, located right outside of Oklahoma City. It’s one of the most prolific locations in the country for recognized competitions. PtHA is responsible for more than 500 shows worldwide per year, and the Oklahoma charter hosts several within the state – and the economic impact is substantial.
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“Consider our world show in Tulsa in June, which is three weeks long,” says Darrell Bilke, Chief Operating Officer of PtHA. “That event brings in about 1,500 horses. When you put the pencil to paper and do the math on all those people and what it costs to live in Tulsa for three weeks, you end up with some pretty big numbers.”
Bilke says the world show alone will have an approximately $30 million impact on Oklahoma’s economy. Between the world show and other competitions throughout the year, the numbers climb to roughly $50 million. Other association world shows in the state each generate between $30 to $40 million.
As a family-friendly organization, it’s no surprise they have a strong youth presence. In addition to teaching countless life lessons, involvement in PtHA instills in young adults everything from trust and self-confidence to diligence and deep work ethics.
“This industry exposes young people to so many life-altering character traits,” Vance says. “When you create an inviting environment like PtHA has and pair it with fantastic youth, you begin to see the next generation of industry leaders.”