Local attorney Melissa Hill came up with the name “CHAMP” (Corrales Horse and Mule People).
Susan Bell was the first president and served from 1995 – 2001. At that time, there was a very loose Board and meetings were held in various members’ homes; member meetings had speakers, primarily trail-related.
Chris Allen, an early CHAMP member, was on the Village Council in the 1990’s. At that time there was a movement to ensure that horse ownership was represented on the Council.
In late 1996, according to a Spring 1997 newsletter, CHAMP volunteers conducted a “Windshield Horse Count”; they “drove, walked, cycled, or rode their mounts through neighborhoods and counted only the number of equines visible from the road. Maps of assigned neighborhoods were carefully drawn to avoid double counting of animals that could be seen from more than one street or road. More than 1,000 horses, mules, donkeys, and ponies were outdoors and visible from public roads. CHAMP can only speculate how many more such beasts live in Corrales but were not counted because at the time of the count they were inside barns or off the owner’s premises for recreational, business, or medical purposes.”
In the late 1990’s, the Jones Property became available for commercial and residential use. Chris Allen advocated for the Village to buy the western portion of the land with a Gross Receipts Tax bond issue and challenged the Village to raise money to buy the front portion of the land. To help justify the construction of a livestock arena at the west end of the property, another count was conducted; it showed there to be 1,000 horses just from the recreation center south. The subsequent acquisition of this land resulted in what is now the entire recreation complex and was a premium example of private/public partnering.
In 1999, Top Form Arena was completed at the western end of the complex. It was paid for through private donations from CHAMP members plus a $45,000 donation from Top Form Data, Inc. in Rio Rancho. Still posted at the arena is a board showing the names of all those who contributed to this project.
At the dedication of the Arena in 1999 a few CHAMP members were watching an equine drill team and decided they needed a drill team too. They formed the Hot Flash Riders which still (in 2017) ride and perform.