Tag Archives: American Quarter Horse Association

Some Tips on Getting Your Horse to Roll Back Perfectly

Practice makes the perfect rollback. Journal photo.

The rollback consists of three separate maneuvers – a stop, a 180-degree turn and a lead departure. The rollback should be one continuous, fluid motion. However, this is easier said than done. National Reining Horse Association $3 million-dollar rider Craig Schmersal describes some of the techniques he uses at home to ensure precise rollbacks.

Getting Started

1. The first thing you need on a horse before teaching the rollback is suppleness. He must be willing to give his face. Using two hands, if I pull his head to the right, I only want him to move his head. I do not want his body to move to the right until I add the left neck rein.

2. The horse needs to know how to yield to leg pressure.

3. The horse has to know how to back up. When I take hold of him and back him up, I don’t want to be pulling him back. I want him to back up on a fairly loose rein.

I want the horse to almost lock in the reverse position in the backup. I then apply the outside rein to see if the horse will step into a turn by himself. If he doesn’t, then I’ll take my direct rein and pull him through a time or two into a good spin and a half or two spins.

I’ll stop, back up and ask him with the neck rein again. I don’t want to crowd my horse too much, especially in the beginning steps of learning the rollback.

I just want him to back up, and when I add the neck rein, to come to me. I don’t want him to pick up his head. I don’t want him to take three more steps backward as soon as he feels the neck rein. When I move my hand, if I’ve done my job properly, the horse goes. He won’t get stuck.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Ranching Evolution

A little history and a look at the current offerings in AQHA ranch-horse competition.

No bling. No fancy clothes. Those were the tenets of the first AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse classes that debuted 16 years ago.

Exhibitors were looking for something different from the usual AQHA show classes. So a task force comprised of ranchers, exhibitors, judges and representatives from other ranch horse organizations developed the five-class VRH shows, and at each VRH show, exhibitors competed in ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch cutting, working ranch horse and ranch conformation.

The classes harkened back to a day when an American Quarter Horse would show in halter in the morning and do all of the other classes – cutting, western pleasure, etc. – through the rest of the day. Since then, AQHA has added a hugely popular standalone ranch riding class, as well as AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges that are open to all AQHA Ranching Heritage-bred horses.

Versatility Ranch Horse

AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse events debuted in 2002. The five-class VRH shows required exhibitors to compete in five classes: ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch cutting, working ranch horse and ranch conformation.

To read more about ranch classes, go to AQHA Daily.

By Becky Newell and Larri Jo Starkey

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Getting Your Horse Loaded in the Trailer

Preparation is key for older horses who are having problems at the trailer. Sometimes, it’s that they were never halter started correctly and don’t really know how to lead.

“When I put some pressure on the lead rope, they need to come right off it,” says Brent Graef, a horsemanship clinician from Canyon, Texas. In his young-horse class, the definition of “enough pressure” is no more than what it would take to pull the wings off a butterfly; the horses – whether they’re youngsters or older horses – should be light on the lead rope.

So that’s Brent’s first checkpoint when he’s working with a problem-trailer-loading horse. If the horse doesn’t know how to follow a soft feel, then more ground work is needed until he leads up nicely. If the horse can lead correctly, though, Brent moves on to his next step: influencing the horse’s feet.

“I try to get in time with his feet,” Brent says. He asks the horse to lead at his elbow, so he can see the front feet. Then, as the right front foot is just about to leave the ground, Brent lifts up slightly on the lead rope, asking that foot to shorten its stride.

He does the same thing just as the left front foot is about to leave the ground. On the next two strides, Brent will ask the horse to return to his regular stride. Then he’ll ask the horse to lengthen his strides, timing the requests just as each front foot is lifting off the ground.

Learn more about loading your horses in the trailer.

By Holly Clanahan for America’s Horse

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

How to Be Good Turnback Help

Great herd help, both turning back and in the corners, must have the ability to scan and react to any situation in the cutting pen. They are also able to evaluate the cutter, his horse and read cattle with a sixth sense.

Earning respect as “great turnback help” takes a little natural aptitude and a lot of experience. Paying attention and being aware of the overall pen scene is optimum.

Pay Attention

To help turn back or work the corner during a cutting, you must be mounted on a good horse, make yourself available and always pay attention. Manpower is in demand during those long days, with the best helpers spending long, hard hours in the saddle. Knowing what it takes to be useful turnback help will also help you find the best help when it is your turn to cut.

Paying attention to the many unscripted movements during a run is very important to people working outside the herd, too. Even when just practicing at home, turnback help should keep the run moving at a reasonable pace without letting the action cease.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Horseracing Integrity Act

American Quarter Horse Association, June 8, 2017 – On May 25, Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) introduced the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017 to the House of Representatives. In summary, the bill requires “a uniform anti-doping and medication control program to be developed and enforced by an independent Horseracing Anti-Doping and Medication Control Authority.”

While the American Quarter Horse Association strongly supports uniformity in the horse racing industry, it is unable to support the latest version of the newly introduced legislation.

“Of particular concern regarding this proposal is the elimination of all race-day medications, including Lasix, the use of which has been endorsed by several equine groups and the American Association of Equine Practitioners to help mitigate the occurrence of exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage in racehorses,” said Craig Huffhines, AQHA executive vice president. “American Quarter Horse representation on the Authority and funding sources for the program are also among other areas of concern that we have regarding the legislation as currently proposed.”

AQHA is committed to the welfare of the racehorse and continues to work with international, national and state racing organizations and commissions to evaluate protocols to allow for uniform medication rules and deterrents of performance-enhancing drugs. In addition, the use of Lasix in AQHA shows is currently under review by the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission by request of the Executive Committee.

In recent months, AQHA worked with the Association of Racing Commissioners International to separate American Quarter Horse flat racing in its medication violation model rules to help eliminate the use of illegal performance-enhancing medications. The Association has also supported recent industry movements that include out-of-competition testing and hair testing.

For more information on American Quarter Horse Racing, visit www.aqha.com/racing.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

AQHA Statement on Hialeah Races

American Quarter Horse Association, May 26, 2017 – The race meet at Hialeah Park near Miami, scheduled to begin May 31, will not be recognized by the American Quarter Horse Association.

According to Hialeah Park’s website, the track is scheduled to run races twice a day Wednesday through Sunday beginning on May 31 and closing on June 25.

AQHA has sanctioned previous meets at Hialeah, beginning in 2009 and running through 2016. These meets met AQHA’s guidelines, set forth in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations, to approve official American Quarter Horse races.

“AQHA’s mission statement holds the welfare of the American Quarter Horse at the top of our priorities,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “Consequently, the racing rules and regulations of our Association, and that of our affiliates, exist to protect the safety of the animals and the integrity of the sport. We have no evidence that these rules and regulations will be followed or promoted by Hialeah Park or by the South Florida Quarter Horse Association, a newly formed group that is not affiliated with AQHA. As such, we are concerned for those who are participating in the races and for the wagering public.”

Given these concerns, AQHA will not recognize these races unless the guidelines are clearly satisfied. AQHA will continue to work with officials, including AQHA affiliate the Florida Quarter Horse Racing Association, to facilitate the return of official Quarter Horse racing in Florida.

For more information on American Quarter Horse Racing, visit www.aqha.com/racing.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

AQHA Racing Rule Changes

American Quarter Horse Association, November 7, 2016 – The American Quarter Horse Association Executive Committee recently held its quarterly business meeting at AQHA Headquarters in Amarillo. During the meeting, several issues were discussed, evaluated and decisions were made to enhance the Association, including issues regarding racing.

Media/Award Policy
If a racing jurisdiction reports that a horse tested positive for a Class 1 substance, Class 2 substance, clenbuterol or any other medication other than those defined by Association of Racing Commissioners International as being a controlled therapeutic medication, such horse shall be ineligible to be considered for AQHA awards or online polls associated with the calendar year in which the positive test occurred. This will include pending violations.

This policy is effective immediately.

Challenge Membership Requirement
Beginning January 1, 2017, an AQHA membership is required for all owners and trainers participating in any AQHA Racing Challenge race.

2017 AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations
The 2017 AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations is now available online in PDF format, in print and via the AQHA Rulebook App. AQHA members can download the rulebook or request a printed copy at www.aqha.com/rulebook.

For more information on American Quarter Horse Racing, visit www.aqha.com/racing.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Dashin Brown Streak Named Supreme Race Horse

American Quarter Horse Association, October 24, 2016 – Dashin Brown Streak has been named an AQHA Supreme Race Horse.

The Supreme Race Horse award recognizes a racing American Quarter Horse who during its career earns $500,000 or more, wins two or more open Grade 1 stakes races and at least 10 races.

Dashin Brown Streak is a 2010 gelded son of Hotdoggin out of the Streakin La Jolla mare Annas Streakin Dash. He was bred by Flat Get It Farms Inc. of Villa Rica, Georgia and is owned by the estates of C. W. Navarre and Melvin Hatley, based in Oklahoma City.

Dashin Brown Streak has started 23 times in his five-year career, with 11 wins, four seconds and three thirds, and earnings of $543,631. His Grade 1 victories include the 2015 Leo Stakes and the 2015 Remington Park Invitational Championship.

Earlier this year, he was second in the Leo Stakes (G1).

He becomes the 37th horse since 2002 and the 108th horse in total to earn the award (the other awards were given retroactively). Dashin Brown Streak will also be honored at the 2017 Racing Champions Ceremony on January 18 in Oklahoma City.

For more information on American Quarter Horse racing, visit www.aqharacing.com.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

Horse-Training Methods for Desensitization

Journal photo.

The head is a very delicate area, and many horses show confidence problems when touched here.

By desensitizing this zone, you will make life considerably easier for you and your horse. You will be able to treat his eyes, administer deworming paste, and have him examined by the dentist without any problems. Grooming the mane or clipping the poll and ears will not result in a head-butt, and you will be able to bridle the horse without him becoming defensive.

Once you can stroke all parts of his head, ears, eyes and mouth, you will be able to deal with him much more easily.

Ears: With the horse’s head lowered, run your hand slowly along his neck toward the ears. Then withdraw your hand just before he reacts.

Eyes: To pass your hand across his eyes, start from an area where he accepts your touch. Using a circular movement, gradually approach his eye, taking care to withdraw your hand before he reacts and move it to an area where he appreciates being touched.

Mouth: To touch his mouth, you must start by touching his lips. Gradually insert your finger into his mouth in the gap between his teeth where the bit lies. Bear in mind that you should reward absence of reaction with relaxation and that you must patiently persist if the horse reacts. Make sure the horse has understood that as soon as he accepts something which is in principle unpleasant, it will stop. If he knows he can find your “off switch,” he will accept you more easily.

Horsemanship Concepts:

  • The difference between sensitization and desensitization in horses just depends on the moment at which you stop.
  • Your horse’s reactions are not personal; they are just natural.
  • Do it for the horse, not to him.

Head to AQHA Daily to continue reading about desensitizing your horse.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104

MMVS Temporarily Suspended

American Quarter Horse Association, March 7, 2016 – The misuse of medication in the racing American Quarter Horse industry continues to be a serious animal welfare issue, and one that AQHA, with the support of horsemen and the racing industry alike, is working to address. In 2013, AQHA announced the launch of its Multiple Medication Violation System (MMVS). After much discussion, the AQHA Executive Committee has determined that it is appropriate at this time to conduct a thorough evaluation of the MMVS program, as well as how AQHA can best address medication abuse in the racing industry. During this evaluation, the MMVS will be temporarily suspended.

There will be no MMVS penalties issued for races that occurred prior to March 7, 2016, or during the MMVS evaluation period thereafter. With respect to MMVS penalties (or points accumulated toward suspension), which have already been imposed, AQHA is commuting the suspensions and registration revocations effective immediately. Specifically, the end date for any active suspension or revocation will be March 7. AQHA will begin notifying affected individuals and racing jurisdictions by written correspondence.

During the temporary suspension of the MMVS program, AQHA will continue to collect medication violation data on Quarter Horses for the purpose of tracking violation trends.

Additionally, AQHA will also continue to employ the clenbuterol hair testing program for the 2016 regional AQHA Challenge races.

The goals of the MMVS are to provide a national tracking system of drug violators, impose uniform and serious consequences for repeat violators and violators who use forbidden drugs or historically abuse therapeutic medications, and bolster the environment of reciprocity throughout the racing jurisdictions to further curtail violators from simply moving from one jurisdiction to another.

“As with any new program or rule, AQHA continually evaluates the cost and benefit of the program to ensure that AQHA resources are devoted in the most effective way for achieving the goals of the program,” said AQHA President Dr. Glenn Blodgett.

The creation by AQHA of a comprehensive database of drug violations, across all racing jurisdictions, has required tremendous resources and one that going forward would require AQHA to triple the number of staff assigned to the program. These additional staff members would be needed to properly document violations, enter such violations in the database, and to provide notices of violations to both the racing jurisdictions and the violators themselves.

“The AQHA Executive Committee has determined that the time is right to conduct a thorough evaluation of the MMVS prior to allocating additional resources to the program,” said Dr. Blodgett. “In order to conduct the necessary evaluation, it makes sense to temporarily suspend the MMVS program so that the current resources and staff assigned to processing MMVS files can instead turn their attention and efforts to the evaluation process.”

As for the evaluation, it will be conducted with the assistance of the AQHA Racing Council and AQHA Racing Committee to determine whether the MMVS as constituted is effectively and efficiently capturing state rulings, deterring drug violations and encouraging meaningful movement by the racing jurisdictions to adopt uniform rules and penalties that appropriately discipline violators including through the use of a reciprocity component. Another area of evaluation will likely include a comprehensive study of the effects and use of various banned or dangerous medications in the industry. This topic will be discussed during Racing Committee meetings at the 2016 AQHA Convention later this week in Las Vegas.

“Before beginning this evaluation process, we believe many things have already been learned and we as an Association have become more cognizant of the need for real change if the Quarter Horse racing industry intends to grow and thrive,” said Dr. Blodgett. “It has only been through the implementation of the MMVS that a comprehensive national database exists, which contains the data of both violators and drugs that have been the subject of state rulings.

“The AQHA Executive Committee and all of AQHA wishes to thank the members of the Racing Council and Racing Committee, and others in the racing industry, who have provided countless hours of their time in getting the MMVS started,” continued Dr. Blodgett. “We are confident that following our evaluation of the MMVS and the many complicated issues that have been identified since its inception, we will come up with even more positive steps that can be taken to address the problem of medication abuse in racing and ensure that the American Quarter Horse racing industry thrives in the future.”

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, “like” Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqharacing.com.

American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Drive
Amarillo, TX 79104