The Arabian Sport Horse Association, Inc. (ASHAI), founded in 1986, is a non-profit organization fostering the sporting potential of the Arab, part- Arab, Anglo-Arab and Shagya Arabian. The ASHAI's goal is to actively encourage and promote the use of the Arab-bred horse in the specific sporting disciplines of Combined Training (Eventing), Distance Riding (Competitive Trail and Endurance), Dressage, Driving (Combined, Pleasure and Distance), Hunter and Jumper, as well as the breeding of horses suited to these disciplines. We believe Arabian horses are historically suited to the sporting disciplines, which are the modern form of their original function as cavalry chargers.
Since its foundation as a Virginia group of enthusiasts interested in classical training, ASHAI has grown tremendously, with members across the United States and a few in other countries. We seek first to support our members through networking and awards; second, to promote the Arabian Sport Horse by means of published information and by setting an example at all-breed and All-Arabian shows or events; and third, to keep costs of membership within the reach of all. We do not wish to replace or to undermine any other Arabian horse organization. Membership is open to anyone interested in the sporting abilities of Arab-bred horses.
ASHAI belongs to the United States Dressage Federation's All Breeds Council and sponsors USDF awards each year for participating members. We conduct our own program of Year-End Awards and Lifetime Achievement records to recognize performance and breeding success, including a special category for outstanding achievement in open, all-breed competition. The high-point champion of this Arabian Ambassador category each year receives the prestigious Senrab Cup. We also sponsor a United States Combined Training Association (USCTA) Arabian Horse of the Year award for Arab-bred horses competing in Preliminary Division or higher. We proudly acknowledge Markel Services, Inc. as our corporate sponsor.
We maintain a registry of purebred, partbred, Anglo-Arabian and Shagya Arabian Sport Horses for recognition and the administration of our awards programs. It is not a breeding registry, although we are compiling information on bloodlines and families successful in the sporting disciplines.
ASHAI members believe and have demonstrated repeatedly that the Arab breed overall still exhibits its well-documented war horse qualities, even if certain individual horses or families may lack them. These qualities of tremendous stamina, correct and efficient action, high intelligence and trainability, coupled with good riding horse conformation and obvious breed type make the Arabian of the 21st Century as suited to sporting usage as the ancestors who gave their genes to every Western breed of sport horse. Many warmblood registries are once again looking to bring in fresh Arab crosses to increase soundness, responsiveness and elegance.
Although a few misconceptions persist, we have shown that Arab-bred horses trained to the standards of all-breed competition in sporting disciplines are evaluated and placed fairly by most judges in open shows. Inarguably, there is still some prejudice against horses of Arabian breeding in the horse show world at large, but it is far less than many Arabian horse owners imagine. Most other horsemen have seen so few Arabians at their shows that they often do not even recognize them as such. In other words, their prejudices are against the image of the breed rather than the reality.
Win, place or just do well, our members have a lot of fun at all-breed shows and are wonderful ambassadors for Arabian horses at the same time. We hope our example will encourage others to take the plunge too.