AAHJA is a unique and special grass roots association which operates at a local level and strives to strengthen and educate the local hunter and jumper enthusiasts. It is a place for kids and adults of all ages and abilities to come together and participate in the sport they love within their community.

For over 20 years, AAHJA has encouraged great horsemanship as well as great sportsmanship. Many members have grown up showing AAHJA and now are helping new kids learn how to compete. The life lessons these kids are learning from being a part of this association are invaluable—not only from showing, but the camaraderie and responsibility that comes with competing.

We all are competitive, but at the end of the day it’s not about what color ribbon we bring home but the memories we make, and the lessons we learn from the horses.

Mission Statement

The goal of the Athens Area Hunter-Jumper Association shall be to standardize and promote all local hunter-jumper shows and other related activities within the Athens area and to act on behalf of exhibitors, sponsors, spectators, and management.

The AAHJA is an affiliate of the United States Equestrian Federation, and is therefore subject to all rules and penalties of the USEF. The AAHJA and its members are governed by current USEF rules unless these rules conflict with current AAHJA rules as described herein.

AAHJA Board Members
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AAHJA President

Alex Thaxton

Alex is a riding instructor and IEA team co-coach at High Point Farm in Watkinsville. She grew up showing in AAHJA and loves teaching her students through AAHJA as well.


Vice President/Points Manager

Heather Stafford

My name is Heather Stafford; when I am not at the barn or horse show you can find me at work as a school police officer.  I was born in Winder, Ga, and then moved to Dacula, Ga where I grew up and graduated high school.  I returned to Winder in 2006 purchasing my own home with my husband and two daughters.   I have been married for thirteen years to my husband Jason who is a high school history teacher and football coach.  We have four wonderful children (Jacob, Trent, Gracie, and Zoey) who range from fifth grade to young adults.  My oldest daughter (17 yrs) has been riding since she was four years of age and my youngest daughter (11 yrs) is just starting to enjoy the passion of horses.  I love horses and believe they are the best therapy a girl can have.  I look forward to meeting each of you this show year. 


Secretary/Membership Manager

Shelley Hight

I grew up on horses and was pulled back into the horse world by my daughter Lucy who began riding at 3 years old. I have been attending AAHJA shows since 2016 and I believe AAHJA is one of the best shows for a rider to learn and practice their craft. It is an honor to serve on the AAHJA board.

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A lifelong horsewoman, I've been a professional in the Atlanta and Athens areas for over 30 years. My main focus throughout my career has been the training of young riders, teaching them to be responsible and successful horsemen in and out of the competition ring. I am also a USEF rated judge in Hunters, Equitation and Jumpers, and enjoy the unique perspective from the judges' box.

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Board Steward

Hillary is a trainer at Fawkes Farm Therapeutic Riding Center. She has grown up in AAHJA and is thrilled to be able to help spread the love for horses with new young riders.

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Additional Board Members:

Peggy Allen, Nicki Christensen, Ashley Peters, Erin Pritchett