Western Pennsylvania
Professional Horsemens' Association

WPaPHA 2013 Rules Change Meeting News & Highlights

The board members and officers of the Western Pennsylvania Horseman’s Association would like to wish you all the happiest of the holiday season. 

WPaPHA Restructuring

For those of you attending the rules change meeting in November or our annual awards banquet a few weeks ago, you have had the opportunity to meet our two newest board members and also hear news of some new positions in our organization for 2014. 

Your 2014 board members are as follows:

Chairman:  Charlene Michael (newly elected)

Vice Chairman:  Mary Gamble (returning)

Secretary:  Gretchen Zavarella (newly elected)

Treasurer:  John Ham (returning)

The board proposed some redistribution of duties, compensation, and the creation of two new board appointed offices.    The proposal clearly defined roles and responsibilities for each board position within the PHA, the two existing supportive roles and an additional two new supportive roles.  The Association has had a Points / Membership Secretary and Show Sanctioning Coordinator, however, to help with the workload of our growing organization we will now have a Technology Officer and Fundraising Coordinator.  The proposal received a near unanimous vote of the membership in attendance. 

Your 2014 Supportive Officers are as follows:

Points / Membership Secretary:  Laurie Davis (returning)

Technology Officer:  Rochell Heininger (newly appointed & former Chairman 2012-2013)

Sponsorship Coordinator:  Barbara Halpern (newly appointed & former Secretary 2012-2013)

Show Sanctioning Coordinator:  Pat Sanders (returning)

These new positions and the definition of all roles for 2014 will serve as a guide for future generations of the PHA and will also enable us to serve our membership better.  As our organization continues to grow more each year, this structured outline provides the support for each area of need while allowing individuals to serve in their specific areas of talent. 

Rules Changes and Specifications

Low Intermediate Adult  Rider and Low Intermediate Child Rider  - Two new divisions proposed and voted in at the 2’3” fence height.   These will be rider / equitation divisions with a year-end award.  They are intended to bridge the gap in fence height in the opportunity divisions from Short Stirrup / Beginner Rider at 2’ and the other divisions at 2’6”.  This allows our members to continue to gain show experience in these divisions as they push toward advancing to higher fence heights and higher levels of competition.  

It was proposed and voted that the Leadline Division remain as staple of our opportunity class lineup.  It was also voted that these little youngsters all receive a prize for participation at the year-end awards banquet. 

Children’s Pony Horsemanship was added.   The membership voted that the 2’9” Low Amateur division be kept , and Low Children’s Hunter  had some wording changes to the division specifications with regard to the removal of the 2’9” fence height restriction.  

Please visit our current rule book and nomination forms on our website to read further specifications on each.  www.wpapha.com

On the Horizon

Other topics on the horizon for 2014: 

It has been suggested that a charter or more detailed guidelines for our organization and things such as sanctioning guidelines be put in writing. 

After the 2013 Rules Change Meeting, the addition of an OTTB Division for year-end award through the PHA was proposed.  Although it was met with considerable favor in the discussion on the Facebook page, it was not submitted in time to receive an official vote of the membership in attendance at the rules change meeting and therefore must be tabled for next year.  While there is no nomination or year-end high point award as of yet, you should still expect to see a division offered at our Summer 2014 show. 

Western Pa has been a horse racing area for many years, and we love our OTTB’s.   We wish to do all we can to support their revocation into the hunter/ jumper disciplines after their racing careers are over.  Linda Stevens has generously offered to donate a trophy for this endeavor.  We look forward to seeing this new division becoming a permanent fixture for our organization and anticipate that going through at the 2014’s rules meeting.  This gives us opportunity to additionally consider results from the USHJA Zone 2 rules change proposals concerning these emerging OTTB Divisions that we have been seeing many venues offer in the last couple years.   Whatever we offer, we want it to fall in line with any USHJA rules set forth, so that our exhibitors will have their points  count toward Zones.

Calling all junior riders!  We are sad to announce that we did not award the Chubb Trophy this year.  We are looking forward to seeing some of our winners in lower fence height divisions this past year grow and advance.  I would love to award this trophy at next year’s awards banquet.     

Our next open meeting date is set for Monday, January 27, 2014 at Atria’s Fox Chapel.  We encourage you to attend.  Plans for our JULY 31-AUGUST 2. 2014 WPaPHA Show are already under way, but there is still much to be done.  We welcome your involvement, participation and suggestions.   See you next year!

Thursday October 25, 2012




Greetings from your Chairman, Rochell Heininger.


The meeting kicked off with the annual election of officers.  The current Board agreed to another term as did the Points Secretary and Show Sanctioning Official.


I then raised a concern about the core culture of the organization.  Our focus in 2012 was on the horse show.  How could we recruit new people to the show and reward and retain those who have been faithful.  We were successful having achieved a 25% growth in number of horses and created a buzz with the nice prizes, fun classes, exhibitor's party, etc.  My focus for 2013 is to work on the membership at large.  How can we get more people to come to the meetings?  How can we get more volunteers to help accomplish the tasks of the organization?  How can we reward and recognize those who currently contribute their time or dollars?


I made a motion and it was approved that the PHA will pay for the Award Dinner for the Board Members and a guest in recognition and thanks for their hard work all year long.  This is something that was long overdue.  I am going to explore some other incentive programs used by other organizations as well as Community Service requirements for High School students to help bolster participation.  More to come...


Next up were some Rule changes/clarifications.  The full changes will be published shortly but the highlights are:


        Short Stirrup jump height is clarified to be 18"-2', no crossrails.  This is based on prize list spec.

        When a show offers Champion/Reserve for Short Stirrup Equitation, those points will count in addition to the individual classes.  Most shows do not offer Ch/Res but when they do the points will be added.

        We are adding "Unrated" shows will receive 1/2 (half) points.  There is a difference between "Local" rated and "Unrated".

        14-17 Equitation Over Fences was clarified to be 3'3" - 3'6"

        We are now allowing Low Children's Riders to compete for their Age Group Equitation

        In Rider Divisions, where the points go with the rider, we voted that if a Rider has more than one horse nomiated, they can show multiple horses but we will only count the highest performing result.


In looking at the show schedule, we closed the loop on changing the date of the PHA show.  We could not find a date where the local Professionals were willing to give up another show already on the schedule so the dates will remain the first weekend in August.  We will continue the Thursday-Saturday format.


Menu and details for the Banquet were confirmed.  We also voted to thank our largest donors with free admission to the Banquet.


I am working on a non-riding Judges clinic for early Spring 2013 as well as a clinic with Alan Korotkin sometime in April.  More details to follow.


Our next open meeting will be in January when we start to discuss the horse show for 2013.  As always if you have questions or feedback please contact me rochell_h@msn.com.











Tuesday June 26, 2012




Thank you to the small group who turned out for this meeting.  The Prize List is completed and we were able to see the finished copy which will be arriving in the mail any day now.  I think everyone will be impressed with the quality and information provided.


We met with the Restaurant Managers to discuss choices for the Exhibitor's Party.  We will have chips and dip, quesadillas and a make your own fajita bar with your choice of vegetables, chicken and steak with plenty of cold beverages to wash things down!


In addition to that, we will again have breakfast hospitality provided by various barns.  This will include fruit, doughnuts, granola bars, juice, coffee and the like.  A regular breakfast and lunch menu will be available for purchase.  Free, cold bottles of water will also be made available at various stations around the venue.


Items are starting to come in for the Silent Auctions.  If you have any items you wish to donate, please contact one of the Board Members.  Also, gift certificates from restaurants around your barn are a great idea!



Tuesday March 13, 2012




Thanks for everyone's patience while we rescheduled this meeting a few times.  I am pleased to report our Secretary Barbara Halpern is recovering and back in action!


Barbara along with new Professional Member Charlene Michael will head up the Sponsorship and Advertising Committee and will be contacting Members and Businesses to support the show this summer through their generous donations.  Class and Division Sponsorships, Ads in the Prize List, donations of prizes etc. will be gathered to help make this show something special.  If you are interested in a print ad in the Prize list, ARTWORK SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS APRIL 15TH!!  The form for Sponsorship is located on our FORMS page of the website for more information.


An initial draft of the prize list was reviewed and we are right on schedule.  Details on formatting, font size etc will be reworked, art work plugged in, etc with a final version to be approved at the next meeting MONDAY APRIL 16th.  The WPAPHA will finally own the master file for the prize list, which will save them money in future years.


Also discussed was having more vendors at the show.  Requests for ice cream truck, massage chair, dog accessory vendor etc were mentioned.  Anyone who has a business in mind who would like to come and set up at the show please contact Rochell_h@msn.com


Thank you!



Wednesday Feb 1, 2012




This meeting was a follow up to the meeting two weeks ago where some decisions needed to be made pertaining to the horse show.  A summary of those decisions are as follows:


  • The dates will be Thursday Aug 2-Saturday Aug 5, NO SHOW SUNDAY!  This will allow people a day to regroup before going to Traders Point and other shows during this busy time.
  • The schedule was reworked based on participation, and lack there of, in certain divisions over the past few years.  We also added some Unrated "Opportunity" Divisions to allow a larger audience of riders to experience a "Rated" show with out all the added expense of the USEF fees, etc.  We believe this new schedule will allow the horse show to flow smoothly and be time efficient.
  • We are pursuing Gary Duffy and Meghan MacCallum to be Judges, just a few details to sort out but an announcement will confirm shortly.
  • We are also offering a "Stable Chase" to spice up the competition, more details to follow, but teams of four will compete over the three days of competition to accumulate points with some great prizes going to the winning teams!


There is a printed Newsletter about to be mailed which summarizes the info posted here on the website for our "electronically challenged" Members. 


Our next open meeting is Monday Feb 27, 7pm at Atria's on RT8 in Gib sonia, hope to see you there!


Wednesday January 18, 2012




Old Business:


Gary Duffy Clinic - Thanksgiving Weekend.  The clinic was a huge success, and was sold out except for a few spots at 3'6" on the first day.  The feedback was positive and we had several people come to Audit as well.  If you have an instructor or clinic you would like to see us offer, please contact a PHA Board Member.


The Annual Award Banquet was also held during Thanksgiving at Allegheny Country Club.  Attendance was high, the food and atmosphere was good and everyone had a nice time.  Due to technical difficulties, we have not yet been able to load individual photos to the site, but a link to the Gallery from the photographer is on our Home Page.


Year End Financials:  It was also another positive year for the books.  FYE 2010 balance was $10,103.65, FYE 2011 was $17,182.51.  Thank you to everyone who made contributions in any way to the PHA for your continued support!


New Business:


The Horse Show discussion was up first.  The Board requested proposals from third party management companies with two goals in mind.  First, to have someone with the required experience to manage the show and second and most importantly, to try and draw more horses/new customers to the show from nearby markets.  The Showtime Group from Upstate NY and Northern Gold Classics from OH were invited to participate.  Based on the Syracuse PHA sanctioning only one show per weekend, The Showtime Group did not feel they could bring a following of horses to our show so they ended up not bidding.  Northern Gold Classics declined to submit a proposal based on the venue of Horse On Course. 


So, we are left to our own creative devices to try and drum up interest and incentives for our show.  Several good ideas were suggested from a discount on stalls or entries for "new" customers, discount on memberships for "current" customers, Hunter Derby, Stable Chase, etc.  We are also considering making the dates Thurs, Fri and Sat to allow trainers a day to regroup before heading to Traders Point.  We recognize the need to be careful as to not offend repeat customers with only incentives for "new" customers, so we will be asking for input from the members before deciding on a plan.


Gary Duffy and Megan MacCallum have thrown their hat in the ring to be the Judges, however that gives us only one Jumper Judge, so we are considering that along with a few other options for Judge, Course Designer, Steward, etc.  These officials will be finalized at our next meeting January 30.


Future Clinics:  The non-riding "judges" clinic slated for February has been tabled due to difficulty getting training materials from the USEF as well as a number of conflicts on the calendar.  This idea will be pursued for later this year or early 2013.


Horse On Course will be offering Joe Fargis for a clinic over Memorial Day weekend, please check the Horse On Course website for more information as it becomes available.  It was decided that the local area can't support two competing "riding" clinics in the same time frame, so we may consider a different kind of non-riding clinic perhaps in April.  Renown "horse whisperer" Mindy Bower was suggested by Barbie Bancroft and we are exploring her interest and availability for a clinic in our area.


Last but not least, a printed Newsletter is in the works targeting distribution early February.  Ads in the Newsletter can be purchased for $25 and this will be sent to aprox 200 current and former members of the WPAPHA.  Much of the same information listed here will be in the newsletter for our "electronically challenged" members along with Membership/Nomination and Sponsorship Forms.


With several critical horse show and newsletter decisions needing to be made, our next meeting will be Monday January 30, 7pm also at Atria's on RT8 in Gibsonia.  This is an open meeting and we encourage anyone interested in helping out to please attend.







Wednesday November 9, 2011 




Old Business:


We had double the attendance at this meeting and much was accomplished. 


First discussed were the final Rule changes for 2012.  It was agreed that there can be open nominations for multiple equitation classes.  The issue was in regards to points for riders who only do Flat Classes for their age or hunter division equitation but did not do Over Fences because of the height.  We agreed to allow these riders to compete and nominate in multiple equitation flat classes, but the points would go towards those specific divisions and NOT all be shifted to their nominated age division.  More detail on the rule will be in the updated Rules Document when published for 2012. 


There was also debate over the Grand Jumper Champion Rule.  The suggestion was to open the lower height jumper divisions (Children's Jumper, Adult Jumper and Low Children/Low Adult Jumper) in to consideration for Grand Jumper Champion.  These divisions typically do not award money, which is the current calculation for the award.  It was voted to NOT allow these divisions to compete towards Grand Jumper Champion so this rule will not change.  There would not have been a winner of Grand Jumper Champion this year either based on money won, but the current Chairman made the decision to award based on merit of the points won by the leading candidate.


The Award Banquet was discussed and the responses are starting to come in.  There was a suggestion for live music during cocktails and dining so we are exploring options.  Sara Cook has been doing a great job in gathering photos for a slide show that will run in the background.  If you have a photo you would like to include please email it to Sara at crazyhorse93@comcast.net.


The Gary Duffy Clinic is almost full, there are still a few spots available so if you would like to ride or audit, please contact us via the information on the FORMS page.


NEW Business:


Under new business we voted to include a tier penalty system for horse shows who report their results late.  Shows will now have 21 days from the last day of the show to report results without penalty; after 21 days there will be a $100 fine and after 6 weeks there is a $300 fine.  All fines must be paid by Nov 30 in order for us to sanction that show the following year. 


We also discussed reinstating the Scholarship opportunity for children of Professional members who show an interest in pursuing a career related to horses.  This will be an initiative for 2012 and more information will be forthcoming.


Debra Ladley suggested we review the Mission Statement of the organization and perhaps develop a few more specific goals based on our local circumstances.  As a Chapter, the Mission Statement is from the National PHA but it was agreed we should set forth some goals for our local Chapter.  Incoming Chairman Rochell Heininger suggested the following goals:


            *  Develop regular written and electronic communication to our Members

            *  Strengthen the relationship with the MHJA riding organization

            *  Offer more clinic and other educational opportunities

            *  Increase Membership by 25% with a focus on Professional Members

            *  Increase participation and attendance at meetings


We also continued the discussion about if and where to have a show in 2012.  The group rallied behind Barbie Bancroft's suggestion we indeed have the show and continue to support our current venue Horse On Course.  We discussed what things might possibly help improve attendance and several things were suggested such as a change in date, adding qualifying classes such as NAL and more prize money for jumpers, hiring a show management group from OH, NY or Harrisburg area in hopes people would follow the show managers, adding an "unrated day" to the schedule, high calibre judges, etc. 


The new incoming Chairman does not have the years of experience of show management and production as the current Chairman, so the role of the Show Manager will be critical this year so that everything is done properly and in a timely manner.


All of these things will continue to be discussed at the next meeting which is set for Monday January 16, 7pm again at the Atria's on RT8 in Gibsonia.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.


We look forward to seeing you at the Duffy Clinic and the Award Banquet!





Sunday November 6, 2011


Photos for The Chronicle of the Horse MUST be turned in to Mary Gamble by Jan 3, 2012.  We encourage you to bring them with you to the Banquet. 




Below are the guidelines for the photos:


The Chronicle of the Horse

2012 Horse Show Issue


ALL of the following information MUST be on all photos:

* Name of the Association

* Horse

* Rider in the photo

* Owner

* Photographer's name

(even if not a professional)


all the information, even for equitation classes. It helps us match the names to see if they won in other organizations. Doublecheck all spelling!

Photos should be

color prints. Emailed digital photos NOT ACCEPTED.Include photos for the champions only?reserve champion photos are not used. We do not accept digital photos on disk or via e-mail for the Horse Show Issue. We can only accept original prints.


photographer?s authorization for publication, if necessary, must be included with the photograph. For some photographers we have their releases on file. However, not all photographers give blanket releases and there are instances where this release is not sufficient. Read this letter for some examples of those situations. If in doubt, ask your photographer.We will only accept original photographic prints. We will not accept copies of professional photographers? photos, proofs, scanned copies, photos that are not clear and of poor reproductive quality, digital images, or vignette prints and photos. If there is any question regarding the authenticity of a photo, we will not accept it.

If a horse or pony has won multiple championships, only one photo will be used. If a horse or pony won its division with one rider and another rider won an equitation division on that same horse or pony, the photo with the equitation rider on the horse or pony will be the one used.

Photos must be action shots. Do not send candid or award photos; they will be rejected. (Hunter Breeding is the exception.)

Photos must be of

high quality and must be printed on quality photo paper. Personal photos printed on your home printer are not high enough quality and should be professionally printed at high resolution.Photos must be no smaller than 31/2" x 5" and no larger than 8" x 10". Photos must be from the 2011 show season. If there is a sticker/stamp or copyright date on your photo that shows a year other than 2011, your photo will be rejected.

If your photo has a sticker on it, put there by the professional photographer who took the photo, that says it must be of a certain size before it can be published, then it must be of that size or be accompanied by a release from the photographer for that

specific photo. A blanket release from the photographer does not include these photos.

Photos that are unauthorized copies of a professional?s photo will be rejected. We cannot accept a professional?s photo that you have scanned and re-printed.

A release from the photographer does not include these photos. If there is any question regarding the authenticity of a photo, we will not accept it.


Friday October 14


We are pleased to report for the second year in a row, the WPAPHA is again "in the green".  Below is a summary of the expenses, earnings and current standings of the financials of the organization. 


WPaPHA Financial Snapshot



Balance as of 9/30/2011                      $15,576.68

No outstanding bills

Balance as of 1/1/2011                          10,103.65


Member/nomination collections          2,585

Show Circuit collections                          1,850

Show snapshot

          Sponsors                                         9,770

          Auction                                               299

          Hunter challenge                               202

          Miscellaneous                                 801


          Expenses                                       7,394


Show net                                                 3,678







Greetings Members and fellow horse people.  Below please find a summary of the Minutes from the recent meeting of the PHA.  These meetings are OPEN and we encourage your attendance and participation.


Monday Oct 3, 2011


First up, was the Nomination and Election of Officials for 2012.  We would like to thank Amy Keefer and Becki Bloom for their service as President and Secretary respectively and congratulate and announce the NEW Board for 2012:


Chairman--Rochell Heininger

Vice Chairman--Mary Gamble (returning)

Treasurer--John Ham (returning)

Secretary--Barbara Halpern


First we discussed "old business".  Although the 2011 PHA horse show had very little attendance, it was still marginally profitable and the organization is once again "in the green" for a second year in a row.  Also discussed was the website.  The points are being updated regularly and the new Chairman will be making an effort to keep you informed of news and upcoming events.  Please feel free to send us your comments/suggestions for other information you would like to have posted on the site.  We are also creating a Facebook Group for updating our Members.  If you are on Facebook, please JOIN this group:


WPAPHA Facebook Group

Next topic up was the Awards Banquet which is being held once again at Allegheny Country Club on Saturday Nov 26th (yes, this is Thanksgiving weekend).  Once the final details and costs are finalized, a Registration Form will be posted and circulated.


On the "new business" agenda there was much discussion and debate about the future of the organization, if we should have a show in 2012 and what venue.  Currently, the feeling is to NOT have a show in 2012 in order to allow enough time to research, plan and market a great new show in 2013.  In the interim, we plan to offer clinics and other "value added" services to restore faith, interest and support from current members and add new members.


On the same weekend of the Banquet, we are pulling together the details for a Clinic with Gary Duffy at Cedar Run Farms.  Sections will be offered according to jump height.  More details and registration shortly...


Last but not least we discussed two Rule changes.  One involved clarifying the participaton in the "age" Equitation vs the "Children's" Equitation.  We also agreed for the Jumper Year End Champion to convert dollars won to points in order to encourage all of our Jumper riders to compete and not just award based on dollars won.  Updated Rules will be posted when complete.


Thank you for reviewing this information and we look forward to seeing you at our next meeting which will be Monday Nov 7, 7:00pm at Atria'son RT8 in Gibsonia.  Thank you!