REVIEW: American Quarter Horse celebrated

Photo by SONNET RELPH | The Ranger
This painting by Orren Mixer is one of several by Mixer at the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame and Museum.

Beautiful, majestic power exploded in one fluid motion that reached its colorful climax as the horses crossed the finish line.

I could barely breathe as the excitement washed over me. Horses always have been a passion of mine, and watching them race made me love them even more.

Photo by SONNET RELPH | The Ranger This painting by Orren Mixer is one of several by Mixer at the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame and Museum.
Photo by SONNET RELPH | The RangerThis painting by Orren Mixer is one of several by Mixer at the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame and Museum.

As a child, I wrote to request information from the American Quarter Horse Association about the horses, the association, racing and any other tidbit of information they could give me.

When it finally arrived, I treasured it and dreamed of one day visiting the AQHA Hall of Fame and Museum in person. This week I finally fulfilled my childhood dream, not because it still was my dream, but because my little girl has the same passion I once had for the amazing Quarter Horse. It was wonderful.

Our favorite part of the museum was the Scharbauer Gallery on the first floor. The gallery is exhibiting artwork by Orren Mixer, a great painter of horses. Mixer first was commissioned to paint an American Quarter Horse for AQHA in 1968. The art is gorgeous and displays some of America’s most beautiful and well-loved racing horses, mares and studs.

The AQHA museum features interactive and multimedia display exhibits that teach different aspects of a horse’s life, the care and feeding necessary to maintain their health and the steps exhibitors go through to train their horses for rodeos, horse shows and racing. Kids will enjoy the short film that plays in the Kenneth Banks Theater. It is fun and informative.

Adult horse lovers and racing fans will enjoy the Hall of Fame Inductees Plaques, the Dorothy & Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Foundation Bloodlines Chart, the Founders Hall, the Best Remuda Award Case and all the other interesting exhibits upstairs.

The gift shop is filled with a large assortment of Quarter Horse paraphernalia, Texas-style cooking products and a wide selection of attractive silver jewelry.

Admission to the museum is only $6 per adult, $5 dollars for seniors and $2 for children ages 6 to 18. Children age 5 and under get in free.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is located conveniently at 2601 East I-40 in Amarillo.

The “Orren Mixer: Artist of the American Quarter Horse” exhibition is presented by the Dogwood Foundation. The exhibition started Feb. 18 and runs through July 27.

Mixer, who painted three of former President Reagan’s horses, died in 2008. He loved what he did.

Before his death he said, “If you come to my funeral, you smile, because I’ve enjoyed my life.”

I’m not surprised. Who wouldn’t love spending so much time with such awesome creatures?

Check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

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