Given the immediate success stories of the Arabian English Performance Association, the Arabian Western Pleasure Association and the Hunter Pleasure Association, why did the Arabian Working Western horse not quickly follow suit? Perhaps because of the depth of what the term “Arabian Working Western horse” entails. After all, when someone speaks of the Arabian Working Western horse they could be discussing reining, cow horse, cutting, ranch riding or trail. Working Western embraces all of these disciplines and more. There is no one class that serves as the umbrella under which to gather the entire Arabian Working Western industry.
Enter Eleanor Hamilton and Sandy Woerle, two determined ladies with their own highly successful collaborations together. They laid out a framework for the creation of the Arabian Working Western Alliance and brought the idea to the 2018 AHA Convention in search of supporters. And, supporters there were! With input from several trainers, owners and exhibitors the Arabian Working Western Alliance became a reality in December and inspired the Bonanza Program. The AWWA Bonanza offers payback monies in six different classes (Trail, Reining, Limited Reined Cow Horse, Ranch Riding, Herd Work, and Cutting) for Arabians and HA/AA and their AAOTR and AATR exhibitors, beginning this year at the 2019 U.S. National Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
A unique aspect of the AWWA Bonanza Program is that it rewards Amateurs and their horses already competing in the Working Western arena. There is no in-utero program or stallion service auction. Program funding comes from annual Sire or Dam (Parentage) Nominations and a yearly Competition Enrollment fee of $150 (due July 15th of the year exhibitors plan on competing at the U.S. National Show). No additional entry fees or classes will be added to the National schedule. Placings are determined by the final scores of the regular U.S. Nationals classes. To jump start Bonanza, Eleanor’s Arabian Farm donated $30,000. Each year, beginning in 2019, $30,000 will be dispersed as prize money in Bonanza-designated classes. Enrolled horses will earn $1,000 for first, $750 for second, and $500 for third in each Bonanza class.
In addition to the Bonanza Program, the AWWA created several other programs to recognize outstanding Arabian Working Western equine athletes. For 2019, in the Arabian and the HA/AA divisions, the AWWA will present awards in All-Around Versatility and a Cow Horse Spectacular. The AWWA initiated a national circuit for the promotion of the Arabian and HA/AA Cutting horse, and they established an Incentive Fund to encourage the expansion of Working Western classes at local and regional events.
Getting a new organization off the ground is a big job and a lot of work, but the newly seated Board of Directors is up to the task. The Board includes trainers, owners, judges, breeders, and exhibitors from across America ~ a diverse, experienced group including Deb Witty, Jim Hitt, Cindy Hildebrand, Dwyatt Bull, Jon Badtke, Eleanor Hamilton, Leo Fourre, and Sandy Woerle.
“It’s a great group of people, all willing to get the ball rolling,” says Eleanor Hamilton. Indeed, and with the positive feedback the group has already received, the future looks bright for the Arabian Working Western horse!