American Paint Horse Foundation presents “Back in the Saddle” Award and Legendary Achievement Award

In a touching ceremony at the American Paint Horse Association’s 2010 Summer World Championship Show, two deserving people were presented awards of a lifetime. Katie Holland of Belgrade, Montana, was presented with the American Paint Horse Foundation’s first ever “Back in the Saddle” Award. Randy Bird of Celeste, Texas, was awarded the Foundation’s Highest Honor, the Legendary Achievement Award, for his role in making the “Back in the Saddle” Award possible.

The “Back in the Saddle” Award was presented to Holland in the John Justin Arena on Saturday, July 3, during a special awards presentation. Present at the awards ceremony were several members of the APHA Executive Committee including President Linda Vance, Fifth Committee member Mary Parrott, President-Elect Travis Titlow and Executive Director Lex Smurthwaite. Representatives from the American Paint Horse Foundation, President Cheryl Newman, Chairman of the Therapeutic Riding Committee Kevin Hardcastle and members of the Therapeutic Riding Committee Linda and Brett Bird, were also present. Her mother Christine and sister Hannah also accompanied Holland on this special day.

The American Paint Horse Foundation is a collection of dedicated individuals who not only give their hearts, but also work tirelessly to ensure the Foundation’s programs succeed. After learning of the “Back in the Saddle” Award, Randy Bird stepped up to the plate by creating and donating the remarkable saddle that was presented to Holland. His family, wife Linda, son Brett and daughter-in-law Rachel, joined Randy for the awards and watched with pride as their loved one received the Foundation’s highest honor, the Legendary Achievement Award. This award was presented to the Bird family for their pioneering spirit and drive to help enrich lives through interaction with horses. As a paraplegic and talented saddle-maker, Randy has used his personal experience and passion for riding to develop over 600 therapy saddles and has helped change countless lives.

The “Back in the Saddle” Award’s mission is to fulfill the wish of an injured rider, now physically challenged, to mount up and once again ride. This year’s recipient, Katie Holland, lost her leg in a tractor accident in 2007 while working at an equestrian center. She did not let this define her. Her dreams of one day riding and showing again have finally come true through this Foundation program. Holland was speechless when her custom-made saddle was unveiled. The show saddle had hand-engraved floral tooling, silver accents with Holland’s initials and a matching headstall. The saddle was built to custom specifications to compensate for her lost limb and the challenges she faces to stay balanced and erect on horseback. Holland also received a special Gist belt buckle to commemorate her role in launching the “Back in the Saddle” program. Holland was grateful for this high honor and for all the help and support of all those involved. She plans on returning for the APHA Fall World Championship Show to compete in Amateur events.

Special thanks are extended to all of the generous people that helped make the presentation of these awards possible.

More about the American Paint Horse Foundation

The American Paint Horse Foundation is the heart of the American Paint Horse Association (APHA). It uses the power of Paints to inspire people to better their communities and educate our youth. The Foundation is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the American paint Horse and ensuring it remains a healthy, vibrant and respected part of our culture. The American Paint Horse Foundation:

. fosters positive youth development;

. promotes healthy lifestyles;

. improves lives and communities through interaction with Paint Horses;

. instills pride in the heritage of the American Paint Horse and our association;

. funds research that ensures the health and vitality of the American Paint Horses

More About APHA

Currently, American Paint Horses are being registered at APHA’s Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters at a rate of more than 30,000 horses each year. APHA has registered more than 982,000 horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded 48 years ago, and now serves approximately 76,000 active members around the world. APHA, a non-profit organization, prides itself on community involvement and educating the public about the beauty and talent of the breed. Among its many activities, APHA works to preserve bloodlines and maintain the outstanding characteristics of Paint Horses. For more information, visit the Association’s Web site at or call (817) 834-2742.