Tag Archives: American Quarter Horse Association

AQHA Addresses the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 is proposed national legislation that outlines a uniform anti-doping and medication control program to be developed and enforced by an independent horseracing anti-doping and medication control authority.

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While the American Quarter Horse Association is strongly committed to the welfare of the racehorse and supports industry reform to improve horse safety, the Association cannot support the current version of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act until key questions are adequately addressed.

  • The bill lacks details about the funding sources that would sustain the proposed authority. Protecting animal welfare is paramount but the funding for this central authority will need to be attainable, affordable, and sustainable for all jurisdictions.
  • While the bill in its current form allows jurisdictions an opportunity to include Quarter Horses upon their own choosing, the Association is concerned about our breed if they choose to do so. Of particular concern to AQHA is the proposed elimination of race-day use of the medication furosemide, commonly known as Lasix, which is used to mitigate the occurrence of exercised-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) in racehorses.AQHA is currently pursuing funding for a study to investigate the vulnerabilities that Quarter Horses in particular have to EIPH. Numerous industry studies provide evidence that the administration of Lasix improves the welfare of racehorses and indicate there is no link between the use of Lasix and musculoskeletal issues that may be a contributing cause in catastrophic breakdowns.

AQHA works closely with the Association of Racing Commissioners International and Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, which work to create uniformity in medication rules, as well as with state jurisdictions. Among the work on which AQHA has assisted is out-of-competition testing efforts and the use of hair as a testing mechanism and beta-2 antagonist bans. In the five years since many of these rules have gone into effect in the majority of Quarter Horse racing jurisdictions, reported injuries in American Quarter Horses have declined 16 percent.

AQHA is dedicated to industry reform and works closely with international, national, and state racing organizations and commissions to evaluate protocols that allow for uniform medication rules and strengthened deterrents to performance-enhancing drugs, and looks forward to continuing this collaborative effort.

AQHA is a strong supporter of reform and uniformity in racing, but for these reasons has concerns regarding the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 in its current form.

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

Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit Honored as Top Three Quarter Horse Show by AQHA

Canada’s Dr. Carole Joubert Gaboury and My Precious Gab competing in 2019. Photo: Cody Parmenter.

Tampa, Fla. – July 1, 2020 – The management team behind the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit is thrilled to announce that the record-breaking 2019 event has been awarded the coveted distinction as one of the top-three Quarter Horse shows in the nation, as ranked by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Out of countless shows from across the world, the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, the highest non-ranking cattle event, ranked third behind only the All American Quarter Horse Congress and the Arizona Sun Country Circuit, high-quality company for an event that has consistently made the top ten leaderboard for years under the direction and show management services of An Equine Production.

“We are so pleased to once again have these shows recognized as some of the best in the country by the AQHA. It truly takes a village to accomplish such a designation, and we have to thank our exhibitors, staff and supporters for all of their hard work and dedication. We are looking forward to an even greater event in 2020 and can’t wait to see everyone back in the show ring,” commented Kathy Avolt of An Equine Production.

Expanding even further in 2020, the event will include a whole host of new classes such as AQHA Ranch Trail, L2/L3 Amateur, Select and 14-18 Showmanship and Horsemanship. In addition, the 2020 Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit will feature a series of amazing awards and parties, including a New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Save the date for Dec. 27-31, 2020, and then check flgoldcoastcircuit.com for schedules and forms when they become available in August.

For additional information on the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, please visit flgoldcoastcircuit.com.

Remember Me Rose Named a Dam of Distinction

The 16-year-old mare Remember Me Rose is the newest AQHA Dam of Distinction.

The award recognizes the accomplishments of racing broodmares. To qualify for the award, a mare must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Dams that produced two or more individual AQHA racing champions
  • Dams that produced at least three individual Grade 1 stakes winners
  • Dams that produced at least two foals ranked in the top 10 money earners of any particular year, as of December 31 of that year, and two G1 stakes winners
  • Dams that produced at least three foals that were in the top 10 money earners of any particular year, as of December 31 of that year.
  • When the award was created, a grandfather clause also allowed mares that had produced at least three individual stakes winners prior to 1983, and those wins were the equivalent of a G1-quality race, to be accepted.

Remember Me Rose, who is owned by champion breeder Dr. Steve Burns, earned the award by producing three individual Grade 1 stakes winners.

The mare was bred by Dr. Max and Linda Alumbaugh’s MLA International, was foaled in 2004 and was purchased as a yearling and raced by Azoom LP. She began her career in Mexico, but quickly came to the United States and finished second in the Rainbow Futurity (G1) and fifth in the All American Futurity (G1). She then won the AQHA Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) and the Southwest Juvenile Championship, which was then ungraded, and capped the year with a win in the Sunland Winter Futurity (G2). The following year, she won the Ruidoso Derby (G1) and was second in both the Texas Classic Derby (G1) and Championship at Sunland Park (G1).

She retired in 2008 with nine wins from 18 starts and earnings of $820,895.

As a broodmare, she has to date produced 28 foals, of which 19 are starters and 15 are winners. They have earned more than $2.3 million.

Her three Grade 1 winners include Powerful Favorite, Runforyourlife, and most recently Cyber Monday, who won the Ruidoso Futurity (G1) on June 7. All three horses are sired by Favorite Cartel.

Remember Me Rose is sired by Corona Cartel and is out of the Zevi (TB) mare Im Moonlighting.

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

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