Tag Archives: American Quarter Horse Association

Update to AQHA Racing Awards and Publicity Policy

The American Quarter Horse Association is committed to the welfare of horses, as well as the integrity of American Quarter Horse racing.

In an effort to recognize only those whose standards help to maintain the integrity of our sport, the Association created the Racing Awards and Publicity Policy in 2018. This policy prohibits any horse or trainer of record with racing violations from being considered for AQHA awards or publicity.

Effective January 1, 2020, any horse associated with a trainer who is added to the violations list during the year will be required to pass a hair test, in addition to meeting the other requirements, before it will be removed from the AQHA Awards and Publicity list.

This recommendation originated from the AQHA Racing Committee, and was then approved by the AQHA Racing Council, followed by the AQHA Executive Committee.

Violations include positive tests for Class 1 or Class 2 substances, clenbuterol, any prohibited substances in the presiding jurisdiction, or any medications other than those defined by ARCI as being a controlled therapeutic medication, and also include as a violation the failure to report for out-of-competition testing.

The full AQHA Policy Concerning Awards and Publicity of Horses and/or Trainers with Racing Medication Positives, as well as a list of trainers and horses with violations, is available on the AQHA website. Information will also be posted about the standard procedure for the collection and testing of hair.

For more news and information, visit www.aqharacing.com.

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

2020 Graded Stakes

American Quarter Horse Association, April 26, 2019 – The 2020 AQHA Graded Stakes have been approved and are now available at AQHA’s website.

Stakes grades are reviewed by the AQHA Graded Stakes Committee and ultimately approved by the AQHA Executive Committee. Approximately 2 percent of American Quarter Horse races run each year are graded stakes. Only 0.4 percent of all American Quarter Horse races run each year are Grade 1 status.

There is a total of 32 races that will have grades promoted in 2020, an increase of about 7 percent from 2019.

The year-over-year increase is due in large part to a yearlong, multifaceted overhaul to the Graded Stakes Committee process. The committee met on four occasions in 2017-18, with the objective of creating a more equitable method of assigning graded stakes. Reforms include broadened metrics to evaluate field quality, as well as divisional consideration given to filly and mare and distance stakes for 3-year-olds and up.

“The process for determining graded stakes has long been a topic of conversation amongst the racing community,” said AQHA Chief Racing Officer Janet VanBebber. “There was significant reform to the guidelines in 2000, 2004 and again in 2009. These modifications landed on a process of combining a point system, a three-year average and purse tiers as variables considered when determining a stakes race’s potential grade. While most felt the system did a good job in guiding the Graded Stakes Committee in making the final determination, there were specific instances where the criteria seemed to miss its mark.

“As a result of the in-depth meetings to discuss additional improvements, modifications were made to the system that involved an adjusted algorithm for quality points calculated per race. Before, only the first three finishers in a graded stakes race contributed to the points system, and with the revisions, all participants in a graded stakes contribute to the point value. Also, added consideration is now given to participants who compete in different regions and new criteria was determined for both filly and mare races and 870-yard races. Lastly, the purse values for each given tier were modified. The Graded Stakes Committee presented its modifications to the Racing Committee in November 2018 during the Racing Conference at Los Alamitos. All were in agreement that the new criteria were an improvement and better represented the racing industry today.”

Full guidelines for the graded stakes process are available at www.aqha.com/graded-stakes.

One race will gain an open Grade 1 status in 2020 – the Junos Request Stakes for fillies and mares age 3 and up at Remington Park, which moves from a Grade 2 to a Grade 1 race.

The Governor’s Cup Futurity at Los Alamitos will move from a Restricted Grade 2 to a Restricted Grade 1.

Former Grade 3 races that will move up to Grade 2 races in 2020 include the Decketta Stakes, Heritage Place Derby, the Downs at Albuquerque Distance Challenge, James Isaac Hobbs Stakes, Las Damas Handicap, Los Alamitos Championship Challenge, PCQHRA Breeders’ Derby and Remington Distance Challenge.

Restricted Grade 3 races that will move up to Restricted Grade 2 races include the Garanones Futurity, Subasta Selecta Futurity, Governor’s Cup Derby, Mesilla Valley Speed Handicap, Mighty Deck Three Stakes, Oklahoma Horsemen’s Association Mystery Futurity and Remington Park Oklahoma-Bred Derby.

Gaining a new grade is the First Moonflash Maturity, which jumps from simply a restricted race following its first three runnings to a Restricted Grade 2 in 2020.

Also gaining a grade are the Canterbury Championship Challenge, Will Rogers Distance Challenge, and First Down Dash Handicap, which go from non-graded stakes to a Grade 3 designation.

Going from ungraded to Restricted Grade 3 are the Bitterroot Futurity, Black Gold 350 Futurity, Black Gold 440 Futurity, Boyd Morris Memorial Handicap, Denim N Diamonds Handicap, Easy Date Stakes, FL Lady Bug Stakes, Laico Bird Stakes, Mr Master Bug Handicap, New Mexico Cup 870 Championship, and Wild West Futurity.

There are also a few stakes that will have their grades lowered.

The Lineage Championship and New Mexico Breeders’ Championship will both move from Restricted Grade 3s to non-graded restricted races. The Lubbock Stakes will move from a Grade 3 to ungraded.

For more information and a list of the 2020 graded stakes, visit www.aqha.com/racing.

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

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