The American Horse Council (AHC) announced Wednesday, May 2, that Jean Ligon, chair of the Coalition of State Horse Councils, and Billy Smith, executive director of the Fort Worth-based American Paint Horse Association (APHA), have been selected to the two at-large seats on the AHC’s Board of Trustees.

The seats’ availability was announced in September 2017 following a report by a task force formed to review the AHC’s overall governance structure to ensure relevancy and best practices, a news release explained.

“We look forward to working with the new additions to the Board of Trustees,” AHC President Julie Broadway said in the release. “Both of them bring different perspectives to the current makeup of the trustees, and combined with their extensive backgrounds in the equine industry they will be helpful in guiding the AHC through its strategic plan and through industry issues the next two years.”

In addition to his role as chair of the CSHC, Ligon also serves as president-elect of the Michigan Horse Council.

Ligon is a lifelong equestrian and was an Arabian horse breeder for more than 25 years. She is known for her advocacy of equestrian interests in zoning and land use, and has served on her township’s planning commission since 2003.

During her tenure, in 2005, her township developed the first Master Plan in Michigan that openly acknowledged the economic and other benefits a strong equestrian presence in the township brought to the local community.

"The American Horse Council is instrumental to the health and well-being of the equine industry, not only on the national stage, but on the state and local level as well,” Ligon said in the release. “I am honored to serve as CSHC's representative on the AHC Board of Trustees. I hope I can provide a valuable viewpoint on the issues that come before it and serve as a strong channel for the Board to reach and improve the horse industry at the state and grassroots levels."

Elected to the second seat, Smith serves as the executive director of the APHA, the world’s second largest equine breed association boasting more than 50,000 worldwide members.

Smith holds bachelor’s degrees in business and journalism from the University of North Texas; a masters in public relations and advertising from Texas Tech University; and a doctorate in education from Texas Tech.

Smith worked in the journalism industry for eight years before moving to teaching for a decade at West Texas A&M University. After which he joined the American Quarter Horse Association where he served as executive director of information technology and various marketing roles for 13 years.

“I’m grateful for all of the support APHA has received in the past from its association with the American Horse Council,” Smith said in the release. “In being elected to the Board, I’m hopeful to give something back as we work to address challenges facing the industry as a whole.”

For more information, visit horsecouncil.org/governance.

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