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AQHA press release: Members of AQHA gathered in Kissimmee, Florida, for the annual AQHA Convention March 5-8. On March 8, the AQHA Board of Directors elected the first international president for the Association, Johannes Orgeldinger of Grosswallstadt, Germany.

Johannes has been involved with American Quarter Horses for more than a quarter of a century and has volunteered his time and talents to the AQHA Executive Committee for the past four years. He was first elected to the AQHA Executive Committee in 2006.

He divides his time between Germany and a ranch in the United States. As the international registry of the American Quarter Horse, AQHA is a worldwide organization, and Germany is the ninth-largest AQHA affiliate with 6,675 AQHA members -- only seven other states and the Canadian province of Alberta have more members. Kansas ranked 10th with 6,567 members in 2009. After the United States and Canada, Germany ranks third on the list of countries by American Quarter Horse population.

The American Quarter Horse was developed in the United States, but its versatility has made American Quarter Horses popular around the world. Johannes is a perfect testament to this reach, having bred American Quarter Horses for more than 25 years. AQHA has many affiliate branches across the globe, and the total international population of American Quarter Horses was 136,198 in 2009.

Johannes has been very involved with AQHA. He has served on the affiliate council as well as the stud book and registration and nomination and credentials committees. He also served as the discipline manager of reining for the 2006 World Equestrian Games.

With his wife, Astrid, Johannes owns and operates a gravel and stone company and JOMM Ranches in Grosswallstadt, as well as Main River Quarter Horses in Gainesville, Texas.

Peter J. Cofrancesco III of Sparta, New Jersey, was named first vice president. Peter is chairman of the Grinnell Group of Companies, which includes several entities such as solid waste and recycling, real estate and concrete products manufacturing. He was American Quarter Horse Youth Association president in 1991 and is the first youth president to serve on the Executive Committee.

Gene Graves of Grand Island, Nebraska, was elected second vice president. Gene is an auctioneer with Diamond G Auction Co. and is a Realtor for Century 21.

Two new members -- Johne Dobbs of Champaign, Illinois, and Johnny Trotter of Hereford, Texas -- were also named to the Executive Committee. Johne, a director from Illinois, owns Johne Dobbs Equine Insurance. Johnny, a director from Texas, is president and chief executive officer of Livestock Investors Ltd.

These individuals all volunteer their five years of time to serve on the Executive Committee.