AQHA News Blog General Post

AQHA Animal Welfare Rule Changes


The AQHA Animal Welfare Commission met at the 2023 AQHA Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, and submitted several animal welfare-related rule-change recommendations to the AQHA Executive Committee, which approved them in April. These rule changes focus on revisions and updates to penalties, allowing the use of an approved lip cord in weanling halter classes, rules regarding the death of a horse at an AQHA-approved event and educational programming for animal welfare.

Here are the recommendations that were approved by the Executive Committee:

  • Keep the Conformation Alteration Task Force in place to identify funding mechanisms and continue to refine testing protocols and procedures for conformation alteration at AQHA World Shows.
  • Accept the Complaint and Reporting Task Force recommendations for the immediate implementation of: 
    • The recommended streamlined adjudication process for inhumane treatment violations; 
    • The update to the minimum levels of offense in VIO204.1-VIO204.20;
    • The revised AQHA Disciplinary Fine and Penalty Chart;
    • That all suspensions for inhumane treatment will trigger VIO657, a ban from AQHA show grounds;
    • That horses transferred out of the suspended persons name cannot be transferred back into their name until the probationary period resulting from their suspension is complete; and
    • That a suspended person cannot self-promote or be promoted by AQHA at any AQHA managed event.
  • Allow halter weanlings to be shown in an AQHA-approved lip cord or safety lead for immediate implementation.
  • Accept the task force recommendation to approve new AQHA Rule VIO207: In the case of a horse’s death as a result of an incident at an AQHA-approved event, AQHA will immediately appoint a three-person panel from the Animal Welfare Grievance Committee to review the incident. In conjunction with such investigation, a Responsible Party hereby agrees to cooperate with AQHA by (1) answering truthfully and promptly any inquiries; (2) providing medical/treatment records and post death reports/results (e.g. necropsy report) if any; and (3) authorizing any third parties to answer AQHA inquiries and provide the aforementioned records.
    VIO207.1 Subject to such panel’s review and recommendation, AQHA may temporarily suspend a Responsible Party as defined herein [see VIO250] pending AQHA’s further investigation of the horse’s death.
    VIO207.2 Should a temporary suspension be enforced a preliminary hearing will be held within two weeks of the horse’s death with the Responsible Part(ies), initial hearing panel and AQHA Staff.
  • Accept the task force recommendation to approve the mandatory necropsy rule as presented (April 13, 2023): This rule applies to fatalities of horses. For purposes of this rule, a “fatality” is defined as a death to any horse by any means including euthanasia at any time from when the horse/s arrives at the venue until the completion of the AQHA approved event or after the AQHA approved event where such fatal injury or illness is related to the horse’s presence at the AQHA approved event. This pertains to death on the grounds or death of horse transported to other facilities to seek care. 
  1. The trainer, owner or exhibitor as defined by AQHA rules, [see VIO250, Responsible Party], must notify the Steward or Show Manager as soon as possible but no later than one hour after such occurrence of any fatality. When a fatality occurs outside of competition hours, notification must occur as soon as possible but no later than one hour after the Steward/Show Manager reports to the show or returns to duty. 
  2. The Show Manager/Steward/Responsible Party must report a fatality to AQHA as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours after the incident as well as an explanation as to what happened to the horse. 
  3. If an official show veterinarian is not available, an on-call veterinarian or a veterinarian on the grounds shall be appointed to collect samples (blood, urine and/or vitreous fluid) at the earliest opportunity and submits the samples for analysis to the AQHA approved laboratory. (If the responsible party refuses the collection of samples, they are subject to temporary suspension pursuant to VIO207). 
  4. In addition to the duties set forth in SHW133, the Steward/Show Manager shall file an Equine Fatality Report Form with AQHA within 24 hours of notification, except in exceptional circumstances. 
  5. Show management must post emergency veterinary contact information as well as identify prior to the start of the competition the nearest Veterinary Pathology laboratory to facilitate a rapid and accurate post-mortem (information available at 
  6. A gross postmortem examination including histopathology must be performed in all incidents of euthanasia or fatality, except where the nearest Veterinary Pathology laboratory is further than 200 miles from where the equine fatality or euthanasia occurred. The trainer, owner or exhibitor as defined by AQHA rules, [see VIO250, Responsible Party] is responsible to transport the horse for the postmortem examination. If a horse is uninsured or a postmortem is not required by the owner’s insurance, AQHA will cover the cost of the gross postmortem and transport costs to the appropriate veterinary facility, up to a maximum in total of $1,000.00, unless a greater amount is pre-approved by AQHA should the circumstances warrant. If AQHA covers the cost of the postmortem and the relevant postmortem report is provided to the owner’s insurance, AQHA will only be responsible for half of the cost of the postmortem up to a maximum in total of $500.00. If a postmortem is required by the owner’s insurance, at no cost to AQHA, the horse’s owner shall provide AQHA a copy of the postmortem report within 24 hours of receipt of such report. (List of pathology laboratories can be found at (If responsible party refuses the necropsy, they are subject to temporary suspension pursuant to VIO207).
  7. In certain circumstances, as approved by AQHA Director of Breed Integrity, who may be contacted at 806-679-5693, a necropsy may not be warranted. (Add secondary contact number) 
  8. Within 12 hours of the horse leaving competition grounds, AQHA Show Management shall provide AQHA with the contact details of the applicable Veterinary Pathology laboratory. 
  9. The owner shall provide the preliminary and final reports of a postmortem to AQHA within 24 hours of the pathologist completing their report or the owner’s receipt of the report. Failure to submit reports could result in the temporary suspension to responsible party pursuant to VIO207. 
  10. The cause of death and, if relevant, the method of euthanasia should be included in the postmortem report. 
  11. The competition or treating veterinarian shall submit all information regarding any treatment or substance(s) administered to the horse prior to or during competition and before or during death or euthanasia with owner’s written permission to AQHA within 12 hours. Failure to submit reports could result in the temporary suspension to responsible party pursuant to VIO207. 
  12. Once all medical and treatment records and post death reports/results are forwarded to AQHA the Animal Welfare Grievance Committee will review within 72 hours to determine if further investigation is necessary. 
  • Cooperate with the United Horse Coalition to utilize its educational content to conduct educational programming about responsible ownership for AQHA members.

Recognizing that animal welfare is the single most important issue facing the equine industry today, the AQHA Executive Committee created the Animal Welfare Commission in 2012. The Animal Welfare Commission serves as AQHA’s primary body for rules, policies and procedures related to all areas of animal welfare. In addition, the commission oversees the educational processes associated with AQHA officials responsible for animal welfare.

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Canadian Results from the 2023 Level 1 West AQHA Championships

Champion L1 Youth Hunter Under Saddle (14-18) – Gota Wear My Silks, 2011, MARE – exhibitor/owner: Hailey Olson, Maryfield, SK, Canada.

Reserve Champion L1 Youth Showmanship (14 – 18) – – Gota Wear My Silks, 2011, MARE – exhibitor/owner: Hailey Olson, Maryfield, SK, Canada.

3rd L1 Youth Hunt Seat Equitation (14-18) – Gota Wear My Silks, 2011, MARE – exhibitor/owner: Hailey Olson, Maryfield, SK, Canada.

5th L1 Amt Showmanship at Halter – Unanswered Prayerz, 2016, GELDING – exhibitor/owner: Tamara Marie Jameson, Surrey, BC, Canada.

6th L1 Amt Showmanship at Halter – Invite The Fortune, 2020, MARE – exhibitor: Ainsley Raine Linnell, Summerberry, SK, owner: Karen Linnell, Summerberry, SK, Canada.

7th Rookie Amt Western Pleasure – Unanswered Prayerz, 2016, GELDING – exhibitor/owner: Tamara Marie Jameson, Surrey, BC, Canada.

8th L1 Amt Trail – Unanswered Prayerz, 2016, GELDING – exhibitor/owner: Tamara Marie Jameson, Surrey, BC, Canada.

11th L1 Amt Performance Halter Geldings – Tee Jays Stylish Kid, 2015, GELDING – exhibitor/owner: Keegan Burt, Langenburg, SK, Canada

11th L1 Amt Western Horsemanship – Hez Willy Fancy, 2014, GELDING – exhibitor: Ainsley Raine Linnell, Summerberry, SK, owner: Karen Linnell, Summerberry, SK, Canada.

12th L1 Youth Western Pleasure (14-18) – Gota Wear My Silks, 2011, MARE – exhibitor/owner: Hailey Olson, Maryfield, SK, Canada.

15th Rookie Amt Showmanship at Halter – Invite The Fortune, 2020, MARE – exhibitor: Ainsley Raine Linnell, Summerberry, SK, owner: Karen Linnell, Summerberry, SK, Canada.

15Th L1 Amt Hunt Seat Equitation – Unanswered Prayerz, 2016, GELDING – exhibitor/owner: Tamara Marie Jameson, Surrey, BC, Canada.

AQHA News News Uncategorized

AQHA Cumulative Breeder: Vince Amlin

Vince Amlin of West Lorne, Ontario, has bred and registered over 220 American Quarter Horses since 1970.

AQHA | January 23, 2023

Each year, the American Quarter Horse Association honors breeders who have dedicated their livelihoods to maintaining the integrity of the American Quarter Horse breed. These horsemen, horsewomen and their families see their biggest accomplishments and proudest moments in the horses they breed.

AQHA is honored to recognize 2022 AQHA Cumulative Breeder Vince Amlin of West Lorne, Ontario.

Vince has numerous AQHA accomplishments to be proud of, such as several AQHA World Championship Show qualifications, grand champion mares, all around titles and superior awards. Scotches Kinda Hot also added a register of merit to his list of achievements. 

Vince’s involvement in AQHA led him to be inducted into the Ontario Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame in 2007 and provided opportunities to showcase the talent of the horses he produced throughout Canada and the United States.

AQHA is proud to recognize the 2022 50-year Cumulative and Legacy Breeders at the AQHA Breeder Banquet, presented by Teton Ridge, during the 2023 AQHA Convention. The banquet is slated for 6 p.m. Sunday, February 26, at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas. AQHA will also recognize the 2022 100-Year Breeders; 75-Year Breeders; AQHA Best Remuda and International Best Remuda; the 2021 AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year; Top Ranching Heritage-Bred Sale of the Year; and 2022 Top Money-Earning Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year. View the list of breeders who will be recognized.

For additional questions about the AQHA Breeder Banquet, email  

For more information on the 2023 AQHA Convention, visit

AQHA News Youth News Uncategorized

‘Our Time is Now’ is the AQHYA Theme for 2023

Upcoming AQHA Youth Dates & Deadlines

AQHYA challenges youth members to recognize Our Time is Now! Join us in 2023 as AQHYA encourages all members to influence, motivate and shape ourselves, the horse industry, and those around us.

Following a year of building for the future, youth are currently shaping the present.  By declaring “Our Time is Now”, AQHYA members invite everyone to be a part of the movement igniting a passion for the world they live in today.  Through varying backgrounds and unique experiences, each youth member brings a different perspective to the community surrounding them with a shared passion bringing them together – the love of the American Quarter Horse.  Joined together within one association, youth members can share their passion to influence the horse world and those involved, utilizing skills that produce industry leaders. 


Fostering an environment of inclusion, the 2023 theme, Our Time is Now, claims today as the day to be recognized.  With programming across multiple focus areas such as education, horsemanship, competition, and leadership, AQHYA members can activate this year’s theme in a variety of ways all while having fun and meeting new friends.


Youth are encouraged to tag @officialaqhya and #OurTimeIsNow in your social media posts to share how you are declaring Our Time Is Now with AQHYA and the horse industry.




AQHA News News Breeder News

HAD TO BE IVORY is Named AQHA 2022 Canadian Champion Racehorse

Had to Be Ivory Photo credit:

Owned and bred by Carol Robertson and daughter-in-law Jaime of Hillsburgh, Ont. and trained by Carol’s husband and CQHA’s 2022 Trainer of the Year Bryn Robertson , Had to Be Ivory completed his remarkable 2022 campaign undefeated in six races which included wins in some of Canada’s richest Quarter Horse races; the Picov Maturity, and the Ontario Bred Maturity.

The 2009 bay gelding has 22nd career wins from 28 starts in his long career.

A son of Ivory James and out of  Robertson’s top producing mare Had to Be Fandango, his life time earnings currently stand at $363,310.

In his final race of the 2002 season “Ivory” as he is affectionately called solidified his position as the best Quarter Horse in the country with a one-length score in the 440-yard dash in a time of 21.410, besting the former record of 21.520 set by Mitford in 2013. His final time speed index of 112 is one of the highest marks in recent Ajax Downs history.

“The fact that he is a home bred, born on our farm, makes us very proud, ” said Bryn. “We just try to keep him happy, fed well and he just goes out there and does it.”

Had to Be Ivory was the 2019 Horse of the Year at Ajax Downs but caught a virus in 2020 that was serious enough that the Robertson’s thought the horse would not recover.

“He was very sick and was in Guelph at the equine hospital for a couple of weeks. He came back in 2021 and he was good but this year he came out firing and we are tickled pink.”

Ivory was the nearly unanimous pick for the 2022 AQHA Canadian Bred Race horse of the year, as voted by the AQHA Racing committee delegates. This is the third time in his career that her has earned this prestigious award.

Bryn Robertson and his daughter Kim Sabila attended the awards ceremony on January 18, 200 hosted in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to accept the award on behalf of Had to Be Ivory and the family.

The award is announce at 28:18 of this video!

The Robertsons said Had to Be Ivory will be back to race again in 2023!


This editorial was written with help from Jennifer Morrison / Ajax Downs for

AQHA News News General News Uncategorized

AQHA Creates New Promo Code for New and Renewing Canadian Members

Dear Canadian Quarter Horse Community,


AQHA is excited to announce a membership promotion that will help activate potential AQHA members in Canada.  


With promo code CQHA, specifically created for Canada, new and renewing members can save $5 USD on an AQHA membership. Simply share this code with American Quarter Horse enthusiasts in your country, including family, friends, neighbors, youth organizations, and more, and when they enter it into the promo code field of the online AQHA membership application they will save $5 USD on their membership. This is a great opportunity to help grow your affiliate membership and expand the international AQHA family! 


There are many benefits to having an AQHA membership and here are just a few: 

  • A digital subscription to The American Quarter Horse Journal. We’re celebrating the western lifestyle, and the many ways our members rely on their American Quarter Horses to have fun or get work done. 
  • Access to special programs supported by AQHA grants like Quality Samples, Educational Marketplace Clinics, and the Youth Excellence Seminar.
  • Take advantage of our Special World Show Qualifying process, show advisor and lease program
  • The rush of competition and the thrill of victory. Whether it’s ranch riding, jumping, barrel racing – or anything else – AQHA competitions are a valuable experience that create lifelong memories. 

Be sure to share information about the discount via email, or post on social media, so we can spread the word about the endless benefits of joining AQHA!





Jamie Hughes 

AQHA Director of International Activities

AQHA News News Member News

First Canadian to Win the AQHA Racing’s Gordon Crone Special Achievement

On the evening of January 12th, 2022 the who’s who of the Quarter Horse Racing industry met in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to celebrate at their annual AQHA Racing Champions Ceremony. For Canada’s Ross Brigden of Medicine Hat, Albert, this would be a night worth the trip to “The Sooner State”.

Brigden was awarded the prestgious American Quarter Horse Association’s Gordon Crone Special Achievement award. The award is given yearly to an outstanding man (it’s female counter part is the Mildred N. Vessels Special Achievement Award) within the American Quarter Horse racing industry to recognize his achievement within in the industry throughout the year. The award is voted on by the AQHA Racing Committee.

An AQHA member since the 1970’s Brigden, is a long-time supporter of Quarter horse racing. An AQHA director-at-large, he was elected to the AQHA Racing Council in May 2021, (this marked his third term serving on the Council) and he has twice been the Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association’s president. The retired trainer in his career saddled graded stakes winners Katies Sign and A Special Martini, and trained the earners of nearly $1 million. He has bred the earners of nearly half a million dollars, including stakes winners Snoboat and Princess Of Zoom.


When interviewed just days after being honoured with the award by the Mediciane Hat News, Brigden said it’s an honour to be the first Canadian to receive it. “For a Canadian to win it, that’s pretty good, I’m happy. . .There’s a lot of good people that probably deserved it. . . [The Committee] voted on it, I was fortunate enough to win it and it makes you feel great, no doubt about it.”

To read the full interview please click here.

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AQHA International Invites You to the 2022 AQHA Canadian and European Summits

Re-posted from the AQHA website: Connect with fellow AQHA members and affiliates in your region by attending a membership summit in Manitoba, Canada, or Vienna, Austria.

The AQHA International Department is excited for the upcoming 2022 AQHA Canadian and European Summits. An AQHA International Membership Summit is conducted every other year for each membership region. During the summit, AQHA provides updates on Association business activities that are most impactful for international members, as well as updates regarding international member programs that add value to engagement with AQHA and its affiliates.

Topics of discussion during the summits include, but are not limited to, international department-specific and general AQHA news, task force updates, rule changes, funding structures, educational seminars and any other information that’s pertinent to the region.

In addition to the business summits, AQHA International hosts an educational day on a topic important to the region, such as judge education, show steward education or show management.

Summits are free for current AQHA members or $55 USD for non-members.

2022 AQHA Canadian Summit
AQHA International is pleased to invite our Canadian provincial affiliates and AQHA members to attend the 2022 AQHA Canadian Summit, March 25-27 in Brandon, Manitoba.

This event will take place at the Keystone Centre. Click here to reserve your spot for this event! Please RSVP by February 1, 2022.

AQHA is happy to offer a discounted rate with the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Brandon, Manitoba. Click here to reserve your room by February 25, 2022.

Tentative Summit Schedule:

  • March 25 – Evening Reception
    • Join us for the Brandon Wheat Kings vs. Prince Albert Raiders hockey game! Purchase your tickets now for $25 to sit in the American Quarter Horse Viewing Lounge in the Keystone Centre.

  • March 26 – Business Summit Day and Canadian Quarter Horse Association Awards Banquet
  • March 27 – Education Day
    • Topic: Equine Health Management

2022 AQHA European Summit
To our friends, affiliates and members in Europe, we hope you and your families are safe and well during this escalated period of the pandemic. AQHA International is optimistic about hosting an in-person AQHA European Summit in Vienna, Austria, in April 2022, in conjunction with the Federation of European Quarter Horse Associations (FEQHA).

AQHA will continue to monitor international travel restrictions. If travel and limited group meeting restrictions stay in place, AQHA will investigate modifying the 2022 AQHA European Summit to a virtual format. An update will be shared in early 2022 as to whether this event will take place in person or virtually.

Stay tuned to the AQHA International website, social media and newsletters for updates and additional information about the upcoming summits in the European and Canadian membership regions. 

If you have any questions, please contact

AQHA news and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA on Twitter and visit

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2022 AQHA Show Rule Changes

Decembr 3, 2021 - Amarillo, TX

Each year, the American Quarter Horse Association Executive Committee reviews and approves rule changes from the AQHA Show Committee, which are approved by the AQHA membership and AQHA Board of Directors at the annual AQHA Convention.

Committee recommendations are reviewed for feasibility based on a variety of criteria, including but not limited to available resources, budget constraints and necessary computer programming. Careful consideration, discussion and debate are devoted to each item at the time of approval. AQHA is excited to implement these member-driven rule changes, which were voted on at past AQHA conventions and had been on hold for computer programming. The Association has made great strides this year to complete the necessary programming to implement these rule changes that enhance programs and events for our members around the world. All rules are effective January 1, 2022.
  1. Ranch riding has moved from achievement Category 2 to achievement Category 5. Read more about achievement categories.
  2. Horses entered in performance halter without a Performance ROM or Racing ROM must also show in a performance class at the same show. Read more information.
  3. Horses entered in Versatility Ranch Horse conformation must also show in two VRH performance classes at the same show in the same division.
  4. Exhibitors competing at 2022 AQHA events may not cross-enter their horse in the following classes:
    • AQHA reining and Versatility Ranch Horse reining
    • AQHA trail and either AQHA ranch trail or Versatility Ranch Horse trail
    • AQHA western pleasure and Versatility Ranch Horse ranch riding
    • Versatility Ranch Horse amateur and youth classes and the corresponding Limited or Rookie Versatility Ranch Horse amateur and youth classes
    • Walk/trot or walk/jog classes and the corresponding lope/canter classes by exhibitor
Learn more about the Association’s rules and regulations in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations. The 2022 AQHA Rulebook will be available soon on!