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Contact: Cindy Perez 806-376-4888, ext. 327

AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE ASSOCIATION RIDES CENTRAL PARK, BEGINS EDUCATION CAMPAIGN

Cowboy Hats & Western Saddles Are Order of the Day For Unique Ride - Spectacular Donations To NYC Schools, Parks Also On Tap

AMARILLO, Texas - Some 60 invited riders from the horse industry, including Sydney Olympic Gold Medallist David O'Connor, 2001 Miss Rodeo America Tara Graham, AQHA President J. D. Blondin, a host of political guests and other VIPs will saddle up - western style - to ride New York City's lush Central Park, Thursday, May 10. The unique ride also will kick off the American Quarter Horse Association's educational campaign for America's youth. The Central Park ride is part of an international series of trail rides called the AQHA Ride Program, which is sponsored by GMC.

"It's not everyday that cowboys saddle up in western saddles and cowboy hats in the middle of New York City," said American Quarter Horse Association Executive Vice President Bill Brewer. "We're extremely excited about bringing American Quarter Horses and a taste of the western lifestyle to New York City. We're also looking forward to adding Central Park to our list of locations that our horseback rides have visited."

As part of this event, the American Quarter Horse Association will donate 5,000 of its new, interactive CD-ROMs, titled "Rising Star Horse Camp for Kids" to New York City Youth. The CD-ROM was developed by AQHA to bring interactive learning to young people helping them become more responsible, caring individuals through horses.

Specifically, the Rising Star CD-ROM:

  • Enhances problem solving skills
  • Improves creativity
  • Sparks imagination
  • Improves motor skills
  • Allows youth who might not otherwise have the opportunity - to learn more about horses
  • Teaches youth that horse people are friendly (mounted police, park rangers, etc.)
  • Supports education

"We have seen that young people who are involved with horses have more confidence, are more likely to stay off drugs, stay in school, pursue higher education and become leaders," said Brewer.

"The fact that we're able to provide these fun, learning CDs to a group of youngsters who do not have easy access to horses, but might be interested in them, supports AQHA's mission of being the leading equine resource organization. We couldn't be more proud of that fact."

"Rising Star Horse Camp for Kids" is a fun way to learn about horses and explore horse activities. The CD-ROM, which uses the latest technology and graphic design, includes:

  • Careers with horses
  • Caring for horses
  • What horses eat
  • How horses see
  • Colors of horses
  • Games, including the ultra-popular "Pooper-scooper"

The New York City donation is being made possible thanks to a grant from the Fort Worth, Texas-based Amon Carter Foundation.

The Central Park Ride also will include a $25,000 product donation by AQHA to New York City to support Parks & Recreation's Mounted Parks Enforcement Patrol. Parks' Urban Park Service uses horses to patrol the city's many parks, enhancing the safety and security of park visitors.

"We want everyone to understand that people who use horses as part of their careers, such as the mounted park rangers, mounted police officers, even the vendors who provide horse drawn carriage rides in countless cities, are friendly and approachable," said Brewer. "Supporting the mounted park rangers in this most highly-visible city with this donation underscores that."

The Central Park ride gives AQHA an opportunity to celebrate the fifth year of its international series of trail rides. Designed to celebrate horse activities while raising money for worthwhile charities, AQHA's Ride Program, which is sponsored by GMC Sierra and Sooner Trailers, has raised nearly $650,000 for local and national charities through the 250 rides that have been staged in such locations as the historic Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania; on the Carson City, Nevada set of Bonanza; in the Hawaiian Islands; the rainforests of Brazil, the Outback of Australia and on the Atlanta Olympic Grounds.

A four-hour event that will include a champagne brunch at New York's world famous Tavern on the Green Restaurant, the Central Park Trail Ride will be featured on ESPN's "GMC America's Horse" and in America's Horse, the equine industry's largest magazine by circulation.

Media are welcome to attend any portion of the ride. For more information about the New York Central Park Ride, contact Cindy Perez, AQHA Communications Manager at (806) 376-4888, ext. 327.

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