Monday, April 27, 2009

Horsing Around - A My Town Monday Post

Back in November of last year I did a My Town Monday post on the world's fastest athlete ... The American Quarter Horse. At that time I told you that the American Quarter Horse Association was based in Amarillo and I even showed you a picture of the AQHA offices. For this week's post I'm hopping just next door to those very same offices. To the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum.

I visited the facility this week and had a spectacular guide.

I'm ashamed to say that even though the Hall of Fame & Museum first opened in July of 1991, I'd never been until this past week. That truly was my loss as the place was packed full of both educational and fascinating characters and stories that neither my photographs or descriptions will do justice. The museum sits right on Interstate 40 and should you ever pass through I highly recommend you stop in and take a look around. There is an admission charge, but at only 6 bucks per adult it is worth every penny.

Outside there are various bronze statues as well as a small arena where a variety of events take place. One of the more famous racing quarter horses was Dash for Cash. He is depicted in the picture just below.

Oh, but that isn't simply a bronze sculpture. It also serves as a headstone as Dash for Cash is actually buried underneath.

I found it interesting that the first human inductees into the hall of fame occurred in 1982 it wasn't until 1989 that the first horses were selected to the Hall. As you walk into the building there is large are called the Grand Hall which is lined with plaques that highlight the name, year of induction and a picture of each inductee. At you feet is a large chart depicting the original bloodlines of the breed. According to my guide every Quarter Horse can trace it's heritage back to one of the horse on that chart. I took several pictures but none came out.

Also on the main floor there is a art gallery with a large collection of Orren Mixer paintings and several educational displays that emphasize the versatility of the breed. There are activities for kids as well as videos showing the horses in action. But upstairs is where the place comes alive.

Every inductee (214 people and horses thus far) has a display. This is the area that will bring me back. You can literally spend hours reading the stories and looking at the display pieces associated with each of the Hall of Famers.

The All- American Futurity is the Super Bowl of Quarter Horse races. The first race was ran in 1959. Galobar won that race out of gate 8. The very same gate 8 in the following photo.

Only one horse, Special Effort has ever won all three legs of the Quarter Horse Triple Crown.

And then tucked away and available by special request is the reading room.

The shelves are lined with book about everything from western heritage, horses, cowboys, and Native Americans. It has a great feel and many of the books are rare out of print that a person would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Access to the room is by request only, as it is not in part of the building open to public access.

Speaking of private access ... thanks to my insider tour guide I was able to see the working side of the museum as well.

Things such as this office door from the old original Quarter Horse office building.

The story goes that somebody kept this artist waiting a little too long so he grabbed a bottle of liquid white out and created this piece.

Stored in the back room are dozens of old saddles, chaps, hats and other assorted artifacts. There are also more books, canisters of film, and video than one person could ever go through in a lifetime. Luckily the museum is staffed with many talented and passionate people to organize it all and present it in ways that not only will appeal to horse lovers, but also anyone who enjoys expanding their knowledge and learning about new things.

I'll leave you with one last photograph.

Behind these three lovely ladies you will see a statue depicting the ideal American Quarter Horse. And the ladies from left to right ...

Crystal Phares- Crystal is the museum curator or collections. She also served as my wonderful tour guide. Crystal is also a very talented writer and you have probably seen her comments on my blog before. Be sure and stop by her blog, Everything and Nothing At All to say hi.

Shannon Strauss - Shannon also has a blog called Ramblings. She is leaving Amarillo and the AQHA Museum to take a job on a ranch down in the hill country of Texas. I'm sure she'll be missed but stop by her blog and wish her well on her new endeavors.

Ande Ragsdale - Ande is the Manager of Educational Programs at the AQHA Museum and Hall of Fame. She is also a poet, blogger and artist. If you live in or around Amarillo check out her art show going on now through May 5th at the 806 down on 6th street. She often posts poetry on her blog I Need My Wit To Kick In.

Special thanks to Crystal for taking the time to give me the VIP tour and to Shannon and Ande for posing for the picture. Ande now hold the distinction of being the first person I've ever met face to face that I first became acquainted with via the blogosphere.

As always, check back through Sunday and Monday for more My Town Monday posts from all over the globe.


Lana Gramlich - Abita Springs, Louisiana (Flatwoods Preserve)
Jenn Jilks - Muskoka, Ontario Canada (Guerilla Gardening)
Debra - Village of Peninsula (Rookeries))
Barbara Martin - St Jacobs County, Ontario, Canada (Kissing Bridge)
Clair Dickson - Somerset Township, Michigan (McCourtie Park)
Chris - Genoa, Italy
Linda McLaughlin - Anaheim, California (Public Library)
Mary - Olmsted Falls, Ohio (Plum Creek)
Gary Dobbs - Rhondda Falls, England (Land of My Fathers)
Cloudia - Honolulu, Hawaii (Shangila)


Julie Weathers said...

That was awesome. The magazine I worked for 17 years, Speedhorse, takes home a Sprint Award or two every year. It's given by the AQHA for outstanding journalism in several areas. I had one story nominated for it, but didn't win.

The people at AQHA are awesome.

I did a story on EPM shortly after Dash For Cash was put down due to complications from the disease. He was a magnificent horse.

Thanks so much for posting this.

Jenn Jilks said...

My hubby loves horses. I do not know much about them, but I'm willing to learn!

Great post. I learn something every day.

I hope Barbara Martin does a post on the new Canada Post stamps - with horses! Hubby is sooo excited. He grew up on a working farm, with no electricity or running water (I swear!), and Belgium horses...He is fearless around them. I am fearful! (inner city girl!) :-)

P.S. My post is up.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the reminder not to pass these types of places. So much history to be learned, you are often amazed at what you have been missing

Linda McLaughlin said...

The museum sounds wonderful, and how nice to have a private tour. We so often think to visit the attractions in our own home towns, don't we?

I'll have a post up early tomorrow AM on Anaheim's Central Library.

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks for the MTM link...I was going to drop you a line, actually. Will set you up a backlink momentarily.
Thanks for sharing this interesting museum! I love Dash for Cash's statue/memorial/headstone. SO lovely! I also suspect that Charles could spend hours in that reading room.

debra said...

Interesting post, Travis. My #1 daughter had a horse--we spent many days at equine related places and such.
My post will be up in a few minutes, thanks to You Tube :-)

Barbara Martin said...

I've had several Quarter Horses including two Appendix Quarter Horses. Great post, always interested in the background of the AQHA.

I see I've been nominated for a new task by the illustrious Jenn Jilks. Perhaps her husband knows Joe Saville, breeder of the best Belgian horses in western Canada.

My post is up and it has a photo of a horse in it. Travis we must be psychic or something.

Mary said...

What a great museum. I love that they also have a library where you can learn even more!

My post is up.

Chris Eldin said...

Very nice!!! I love all things horses.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

That looks great. And that writing room - wow! I've posted my piece now.

the walking man said...

so it's fairly safe to say that your town had you horsing around yesterday?

Vesper said...

What an interesting article!
That reading room is superb as is the statue of the horse that you photographd with the three lovely ladies.

DrillerAA said...

I think it's human nature to ignore or avoid interesting things in your own hometown. I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma most of my life and never went to Gilcrease museum. It is the home to possibly the finest collection of art of the American West in the world. It is filled with Fredrick Remington works.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Hi Travis -- I've tagged you for the "Seven Facts About Me" meme, if you feel like doing it. All the details are available on the April 27th post at my blog. Have a nice day!

Crystal Phares said...

Travis, thanks for the awesome post, and for coming to visit me here at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.

ande said...

Wow! You did us great justice. If you had been around any other time that day you would have been able to ride the mop ponies with a class of Kinders. We had over a hundred that day. We like our museum and think it has tons to offer the community. Hopefully camps will start filling up soon too! You are also the first person I have ever met over blogging! COOL! Thanks for the comment about my art. I'm excited to be sharing my work publicly. I hope everyone else feels that way. Ever since Hunter Ingalls passed noone writes up those art reviews and I miss them. Maybe I should call the paper huh! I will get that pirate flag going as soon as I return from Tennessee in May (5th or something like that.) Again thank you!

Bubblewench said...

That was very cool! I love horses and wish i could see that place. How exciting!

Michele said...

How very cool! What an amazing place for those who already know so much about the American Quarter Horse... and for those, like me, who'd enjoy learning more about them.

And I love that door and the story behind it. :)

Anonymous said...


Laurie Powers said...

fascinating, Travis. thanks so much! I've been riding my entire life so I appreciated this inside look. Very thorough.

yellowdoggranny said...

totally off topic..i got this in an email today.

Round up your friends and herd them to Abilene this Friday, May 1st, to hear The Flatlanders in their only Texas play date before they appear in Austin on June 4th. They'll be at The Grace Museum that night. Call ahead to be sure of the time, etc.

Phil Eagleton
thought you might be interested...jackie

Joshua said...

wow, looks great man, now that a reading room

Cicily Janus said...

I once went to a quarter horse show in Norman, OK. Those horses were sooo beautiful.

thanks for this.

Unknown said...

I didn't even know there was such a place! I love horses so much. This is a place that I could spend hours upon hours walking through.

And really? That horse is burried there? That is pretty cool.

Thanks for posting this. VERY educational. said...

Nice Photos. Great to have a good guide, isn't it?

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