Articles: Press Release
Deep in the heart of Texas Wild! exhibit,
an American Paint Horse is the talk of the town
Jerry Circelli, Director of Communications
(817) 834-2742, extension 223, or e-mail email@example.com
FORT WORTH-When officials at the Fort Worth Zoo needed a horse to
take up residence in their new $40 million Texas Wild! exhibit, they
naturally turned to their neighbors at the American Paint Horse
Association (APHA). They asked the Fort Worth-based association,
which has registered more than 612,000 American Paint Horses since it
was formed 39 years ago, if it could come up with a horse that would
be an icon of the West, and Texas in particular.
After an extensive search for just the right horse, Jim Kelley, APHA
assistant executive secretary, found one in nearby Weatherford,
Texas. The easy-going, loud-colored gelding, which goes by the name
Ollie Oops, was a standout. On behalf of APHA, Kelley acquired it and
donated it to the zoo as a gift from the association.
"Besides Ollie's great looks, he had all the qualities we and the
people at the Fort Worth Zoo were looking for," said Kelley. "This
horse was born and raised in Texas. Most recently, he was being
ridden by children in horse show competition, including our World
Championship Paint Horse Show last year. He has accumulated show
points in Trail and Western Pleasure, and his quiet disposition and
fluid motion fit in perfectly with that type of riding.
"Also, something that was very important to us is that this horse has
a history of being great around children. He's very gentle, and we
felt he was the perfect fit for interacting with youngsters and
people of all ages at the zoo."
Michael Fouraker, executive director of the Fort Worth Zoo, agreed.
"Ollie is sure to be a favorite among visitors to Texas Wild! With
his beautiful coat pattern and great disposition, the zoo will be
able to use him in a capacity not typically associated with zoo
animals. We hope to have horse care demonstrations in our Texas Town,
and the public will be able to watch his keepers practice good horse
"Paints are a great representation of a Texas horse breed," said
Fouraker. "The breed's combination of color and conformation has made
Paints popular among Texans and throughout the country. We are proud
to house a Paint Horse at Texas Wild!"
The exhibit, which covers eight acres and includes more than 300
animals indigenous to the Lone Star State, is one of the largest such
displays of a state's flora and fauna. Throughout the exhibit, guests
discover amazing animal facts, the role of man as a steward of the
land, and our society's successes and challenges in the area of
Ollie Oops is located in the heart of the exhibit in an area called
the Texas Town. The 1890s frontier town serves as the information hub
of the entire exhibit.
Visitors will also be able to experience geographic areas of Texas
that include the hill country, the high plains and prairies, the
pineywoods and swamps, the Texas gulf coast, the brush country, and
mountains and deserts.
The exhibit debuted June 15 and more than 1.5 million people are
expected to visit the zoo this year.
"We couldn't be more excited over the chance to introduce children to
horses in this type of a setting," said Kelley. "And to be able to do
it with a beautiful American Paint Horse makes it extra special to
For more information about the Texas Wild! exhibit, log on to the
zoo's Web site at www.fortworthzoo.org, or call (817)
More about the American Paint Horse Association
The American Paint Horse Association (APHA) has experienced
tremendous growth since its founding 39 years ago. The registry was
started by an adventurous woman named Rebecca Lockhart, who was an
avid admirer of beautifully colored animals and horses of sound
Western stock conformation. When she started the registry in 1962 for
Paints with colorful patterns and desirable conformation, she
attracted 150 members and registered 250 horses by the end of the
To date, APHA has registered more than 612,000 horses.
Membership in the association has also experienced dramatic increases
over the years and totaled more than 100,000 Paint enthusiasts at the
end of 2000.
The Fort Worth-based non-profit association employs 165 people and
maintains an operating budget of more than $15 million for activities
For more information about APHA or APHA programs, call (817)
834-2742, extension 788, or log on to www.apha.com.
A preview image and downloadable high resolution jpg and tiff images
are located at http://www.apha.com/pressroom/01_texaswild.html
Cutline: Ollie Oops, the American Paint Horse at the Fort Worth Zoo's
Texas Wild! exhibit, has quickly become a favorite with children.
Dante Gryder of Fort Worth enjoys petting Ollie as zookeeper Valarie
Flores looks on.