AQHA: 2011 Rule Changes

AQHA modifies rules regarding lip chains and behavior in halter horses, and the number of horses allowed to be shown by an exhibitor in individual worked classes at all of AQHA’s world shows, and adds a “shootout round” to individually scored classes.

The American Quarter Horse Journal – The American Quarter Horse Association Executive Committee has approved modifications to three AQHA showing rules. Here are the modifications:

* Rule 441(c): Applying excessive pressure on or excessive jerking of a halter lead shank or an allowed lip chain is prohibited.

* Rule 448(d): defines lip chains in size, dimension, length and type; explains that the lip chain is to rest under the lip and over the upper gum of the horse and not through mouth; and that effective immediately, stallions 1 year of age and older may be shown with an allowed lip chain in open and amateur divisions; effective August 1, 2011, mares 1 year of age and older and geldings 1 year of age and older may be shown with an allowed lip chain in amateur and youth divisions; effective immediately, the following horses may not be shown with an allowed lip chain: weanlings; any horse shown in a performance halter class and any horse shown in a versatility ranch horse conformation class.

* Rule 448(e) Procedure for Judging the Class: (1) Horses will walk to the judge one at a time. As the horse approaches, the judge will step to the right (left of the horse) to enable the horse to trot straight to a cone placed at least 35 feet (10 meters) away. At the cone, the horse will continue trotting, turn to the left and trot toward the left wall or fence of the arena. After trotting, horses will be lined up head to tail for individual inspection by the judge. The judge shall inspect each horse from both sides, front and rear. At single-judged shows, the judge should line the horses to be placed in a head-to-tail order according to preference.
(2) A well-mannered horse is a horse that (i) is under control by the exhibitor while tracking and standing for inspection and (ii) is reasonably still and flat-footed while standing for inspection.
(3) For purposes of this rule, the term “disruptive behavior” includes, but is not limited to, rearing, striking, biting, or backing or falling into others.  Judges should disqualify and excuse from the ring prior to final placing a horse that:
(A) exhibits disruptive behavior such that it or other horses are unable to be inspected by the judge;
(B) exhibits disruptive behavior such that the safety of it, the handler, an exhibitor, a judge or another horse is endangered;
(C) is not under the control of the exhibitor;
(D) becomes detached from the exhibitor;
(E) has fallen and is on its side with all four feet extended in the same direction;
(F) is observed with blood on its body, including, but not limited to, the nose, chin, mouth, tongue, or gums, regardless of cause; or
(G) is lame.
(4) Rather than disqualify, a judge may choose to fault a horse that is exhibiting disruptive behavior so long as such disruptive behavior does not qualify as being any of the behaviors described in (A) – (E) immediately above.
(5) If a horse exhibits disruptive behavior described in (A) – (E) immediately above and causes other exhibitor(s) to lose their horse(s), only the initiating horse will be disqualified and excused. The decision of the judge(s) will be final.
(6) All stallions 2 years old and over shall be examined to confirm that they have two visible testicles. All mares and stallions shall be examined for parrot mouth (see Rule 205(a)). If examination reveals that a horse has parrot mouth or is cryptorchid, such horse should be excused from the ring prior to final placing by the judge regardless of whether the parrot mouth or cryptorchid condition is marked on the horse’s registration certificate.

* Rule 450(m)(3): For 2011 world shows only, exhibitors are allowed to exhibit three junior and three senior, and amateur and youth exhibitors may show three horses in individual worked events.

* AQHA will continue with the current practice that the top 15 exhibitors in a world show class, plus ties, automatically advance to the finals. However, in individually scored classes with more than 80 entries, a new policy will allow the following: the next 15 exhibitors (plus ties) will advance to a “shootout round,” with the top five exhibitors from that shootout round also advancing to the finals. This is a second chance – or a “do over” – for the second group of 15 exhibitors. Ties will be broken by AQHA’s normal tie-breaking system to ensure that no more than five advance to the finals out of the shootout round to keep the finals manageable.

* In classes where the exhibitor is being judged (western horsemanship, showmanship, equitation on the flat and equitation over fences) where there are more than 100 entries, the class will be split in half and the top 15 exhibitors out of each section will come back for a semi-finals round.

If you have any questions regarding these rule modifications, contact the AQHA Competition Department at (806) 376-4811.

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

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