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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.

Blog Members Post Youth Post

Canadian Hannah Buijs Shines as an Athlete and Scholar at California State University, Fresno

By Hannah Buijs as told to Lynn Riley

Being an NCAA Division 1 student-athlete comes with a lot of time commitment and responsibility, but is an unforgettable journey. Personally, I feel as though I experienced the most out of being a student-athlete. Not only did I enter my collegiate career as a Biochemistry major, but I was also a competing member of the Fresno State Equestrian Team, traveling to every away meet we participated in.

Additionally, I was a team captain and a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Therefore, I had a very demanding schedule. Despite this, it taught me a variety of life skills, such as time management and encouraged me to engage in a more active and healthy lifestyle.
A typical day for me, as an undergraduate, consisted of arriving at the barn at 7:00 a.m. for barn chores, followed by a one-hour riding practice. Then I would go to class for most of the day (as a science major meant lectures and 3-4 hour labs a couple times a week). My day would conclude with a one-hour fitness workout (twice a week) and catching up on homework and studying. In addition, I was spending time working as part of a research group in the chemistry department.

One of the many perks to Fresno State is that the equestrian facility is on campus, allowing me to go to the barn in between classes and cutting down a lot of travel time. I also liked in particular that we were assigned chore horses each year that we had to care for throughout the semester, so it was like having your own horse with you! Even though the team and school kept me busy, I argued that I wasn’t busy enough and still had extra time. Therefore, I decided to rescue a dog and retire a team horse in my spare time.

Living in Fresno, California also enabled me to travel and explore places where I’d never been. Throughout my time here, I have spent a lot of days in the mountains (where I was able to get my snow fix), as well as the beaches, oceans and lakes. One of the greatest advantages in my experience being a student-athlete aside from the obvious horse part, is the community you become a part of. Being a part of a team meant that you had family right from the start, which is important when you move across the continent to a different country! Older teammates are able to tell you which professors are more suitable for you and can lend you used books for classes you may have had in common. We have a great academic-athletic advisor that helped me with picking classes and ensuring I was staying on track with graduation. The team also has access to free tutors, a nutritionist, a private workout facility and a sports medicine facility. Our coaching staff created a welcoming environment and pushed me to be my best with every practice. Additionally, I was able to partake in other disciplines such as the jumping seat events and reining. This only improved my appreciation of these wonderful animals and the sport they allow us to do.

Some of my highlights over my five years on the team include becoming All-American Second Team in the Horsemanship and the All Big 12 Conference Horsemanship Team, and being named to the All-Academic First Team and All Big 12 Conference Academic First Team every year. I was also awarded with the Fresno State Horsemanship Rider of the Year for two years and received the Workhorse Award and the Award of Excellence. I am eternally grateful for all of the amazing horses I had the opportunity to meet and ride.

I highly recommend exploring the opportunity to become a member of a NCAA Equestrian Team. It is an experience like no other that enables you to do what you love while achieving a degree and opens so many doors for your future. The community you become a part of provides you with a home away from home and a variety of connections through various workshops put on by the athletics department. WHAT could be better than creating lifelong friendships with people who share the same passion as you, and spending time riding and caring for horses while achieving a university degree?

For other Canadians interested in recruitment for an equestrian team, recommend creating an academic and athletic resume, as well as putting together some videos of yourself riding multiple
horses, then contacting coaches from the schools you are interested in and sending this information to them. A variety of schools also put on equestrian camps, which are a great way for coaches to see your skills/work ethic, and for you to get an idea of the NCEA format, as it is different than what we know
from the CQHA/AQHA world. In addition, I recommend showing at some shows in the USA, especially the bigger ones such as the All American Quarter Horse Congress and AQHYA World Show where many coaches often go to recruit. Don’t be afraid to send a follow up email to the coaches of schools you are interested in, letting them know where you will be showing so they can keep an eye out for you!

If anyone has any questions or wants to learn more about the student-athlete experience, please feel free to send me an email:

You just never know what the future holds – follow your dreams!!!!!

Blog Breeders Post

Cnd Bred AQHA Horse of the Year Had to Be Ivory Stretches Winning Streak to Seven

Ontario-bred Had to Be Ivory has his ears pricked as he easily wins the $30,375 Norman Picov Maturity on May 17. (Clive Cohen/New Image Media photo)
Jockey Josh Scott takes a victorious leap off Had to Be Ivory (Clive Cohen photo)
AJAX DOWNS, MAY 18, 2023 – Making his 8-year-old debut, reigning Horse of the Year HAD TO BE IVORY showed no signs of slowing down as he romped to an easy 1 1/4 length win in the $30,375 Norman Picov Maturity at Ajax Downs on Wednesday. This was the fourth time Had to Be Ivory, owned and bred by Carol and Jaime Robertson of Hillsburgh, ON, has won the Maturity, the first stakes race of the Quarter Horse season.
“It’s incredible,” said jockey Josh Scott to Ajax Downs’ guest interviewer Terry Johnson, the popular host of the morning show on CKDO Durham radio. “The energy he has, he just keeps getting better.”
Trained by Bryn Robertson, Had to Be Ivory was bet down to 2 to 5 in the seven-horse field which included a pair of champions half his age: 2021 Horse of the Year First Cold Wave and the champion 3-year-old filly of 2022, Eye Live for Candy, both trained by Jason Pascoe.
After breaking quickly from post position two, Had to be Ivory was quickly in front of his rivals and never challenged. First Cold Wave finished second for owner Robert Bailey and Eye Live for Candy finished fast for third. The time for 300 yards was 15.364 for a 97 speed index.
It was the seventh straight victory for Had to Be Ivory dating back to his undefeated 2022 campaign. The son of Ivory James – Had to Be Fandango has won 23 of 29 career races and his earnings are over $376,000, making him one of the richest Ontario bred Quarter Horses in history.
“He’s never been worse than fourth in his career,” said Bryn Robertson. “He’s just a sweetheart at the barn and easy to handle. He just does everything right.”
*The combination of owner Milena Kwiecien, trainer Jason Pascoe and jockey JB Botello won two races on the May 17 card. SW Snowmagicallykool, a daughter of Kwiecien’s stallion Maryland Magic (who still races), won race 2 while Spy for the Senate, who doubles as a stallion and racehorse, won the fourth-race allowance event for his 13th career victory.
*Racing continues at Ajax Downs next Wednesday, May 24 with the final of the Open Derby for 3-year-olds. First race post time is 1:30 p.m. Don’t forget to check out all our race dates and special events at and follow us on social media, @AjaxDowns.


Blog General Post

Barn & Stable First Aid

Every Barn & Trailer should be equipped with a first aid kit that has safe & practical items for an emergency! Both a equine & human emergencies should be considered for these!


Kits are $10 each (tax included) Team Canada receives $4 from each kit sold to support their fundraising goals for the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup.

Every Barn & Trailer should be equipped with a first aid kit that has safe & practical items for an emergency! Both a equine & human emergencies should be considered for these! 

Keeping in mind you should be prepared to provide emergency health assistance until Paramedics or a Vet can attend. Please keep in mind that any emergency care you provide should only consist of knowledge you have & are confident doing until professionals can attend. 

When an emergency arises the most important thing and one of the hardest is to stay calm. 

Depending on the nature of the injuries you maybe able to manage the problem on your own with items from your First Aid Kits. 

If Not 

  • Call 911 or a vet needs to be called send someone to do that immediately (get the professionals to you as quickly as possible) 
  • Do a visual examination of the equine or human to determine the nature of the injuries.
  • If Paramedics are attending send someone to the roadside to flag them down direct them to the patient.
  • If a Vet is attending, make some notes on the horses condition and call the vet back to update. (A vet usually takes longer to attend)

I hope this will give you a better understanding of the importance of a stocked first aid kit in the barn or trailer. 

EOQHA is selling an assortment of first aid kits suitable for home, barn, trailer, or vehicle. 

A portion of all sales will go to the association to help support the 2023 Hot Hot Sizzler AQHA Circuit.

To Order please email

Blog Members Post Uncategorized

Ontario Amateur is Accepted in to the AQHLead Class of 2023 Program

Photo Credit: Nika Parsoni

Mallory McKewen of Burford, Ontario says that growing up with horses shaped her as a person, and that continuing to have them in her life gives her purpose. So, when the opportunity came to apply for the American Quarter Horse Association’s “AQHLead” program late last year, it was an opportunity that she eagerly capitalized on. 


The American Quarter Horse Association developed the AQHLead program back in 2008 in order to develop the future leaders of the Quarter Horse Industry. CQHA’s current first vice president Laurie Haughton in an alumnus of the program and was excited to learn that McKewen had been accepted to the program. “I’ve known Malory since she was a youth competitor and have watched her in recent years assume more responsibilities with the Ontario Quarter Horse Association, such as spearheading the association’s virtual horse shows held during covid and taking on the role as the province’s youth advisor, so I personally know that she is exactly the type of member that AQHA hopes to attach with the AQHLead program. She’s dedicated, motivated and has skills that our industry needs as we step into the future,” said Haughton.


AQHLead is designed for young adults, ages 19-34, to help support their development as young leaders in the equine industry. During the program, participants attend leadership-focused webinars to provide additional insights into AQHA and the industry. They have the opportunity to partner with a mentor from the American Quarter Horse industry to learn about their mentor’s leadership activities in service to AQHA and the equine industry, and benefit from gaining more insight into their roles in impacting the industry. 


When asked to tell us why this specific program appealed to her, she told us “It’s in the barn while mindlessly cleaning stalls and reflecting where I come up with my most innovative ideas and solutions to problems which are key both in my career and as a community servant. And it’s in the saddle where I become grounded again, and suddenly my anxieties escape me.


For the past few years, I’ve said and deeply felt that “I hope to learn enough in the first half of
my life, to spend the second half teaching and giving back.” I’m still in the first half of my life and have a ton to learn (I believe we all keep learning and changing until the day we die), but I’m starting to give back as a volunteer in areas where I’ve gained enough experience to be valuable.”


The CQHA welcomed McKewen as a new member of two of its committees in January, the youth committee and the officials and professional development committee, her professional skills , experience as a provincial youth advisor and the knowledge she has gained as a ring steward/scribe at AQHA shows in the past years will be of great value to both these committees,


On behalf of the Canadian Quarter Horse Community, we would like to wish Mallory much success as she begins her AQHLead journey, and we strongly encourage other young Canadians with a passion for our horses to learn more about the program by visiting


Blog General Post

Canadian Mare Highest Seller at the 2023 Heritage Place Sale in Oklahoma

Congratulations to Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association members Barry and Janice Sather from Beaverlodge, Alberta on selling their mare SINGLES CRUISE SI 101 at Heritage Place Sale in Oklahoma on Jan 19.

The 2016 brown mare was the top selling broodmare at the opening day of the Heritage Place Sale in Oklahoma on Jan 19th and the fourth high seller overall.

Singles Cruise is in foal to champion KVN Corona and fetched $95,000 USD. The California bred mare by Favorite Cartel and out of the Mr. Eye Opener mare Going Single was raced in Alberta and California by the Sathers. Singles Cruise won 9 out of 20 starts, earned $103,586 USD and is a Graded Stakes winner.

In 2018 she was the Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association’s Grand Champion Running Horse and Champion Two Year Old.

Janice and Barry have embryo transfer babies from this great mare coming to the track in 2023 and beyond.



Written with material supplied by the Alberta Quarter Horse Racing Association

Blog General Post

2022 CNATT Fashion Show

The 2022 CNATT Fashion Show took place between Christmas and New Years. The videos submitted by all 12 Designers were posted on YouTube and the CQHA community was invited to vote on their favourites to determine the winners.
A total of 150 votes were cast, and in a last minute surprise the event’s sponsor Show Horse Today announced that they were so impressed by the creativity and fun, that all entries would receive a full page ad in a 2023 issue of their publication!!!
Congratulations to all participants and a special shout out to Leslie Riley of team My Sleepy Valentine on winning the fashion designer contest!
Leslie Riley of Ontario, representing team My Sleepy Valentine was crowned the 2022 CNATT "Barn Fashion" Designer of the Year
Blog General Post

Noseband November

Noseband November – how tight is too tight?

By Lindsay Grice

Lindsay is an renowned Ontario riding coach, horse show judge. You may know her as a columnist or speaker, specializing in equine behavior and equitation science.

Standard equipment in English disciplines. Training equipment in western. While nosebands are designed to prevent bit evasion, in the horse business, we’re inclined to think, “If a little is good, more is better!
Equestrian Canada initiated “Noseband November” , following a noseband measuring project at horse shows last year. (See below for horse show rules and current research findings re nosebands).
The question upstream from noseband “restrictions” is -Are we masking bit evasion without asking WHY the horse might be resisting?
The International Society of Equitation Science responded to the dilemma of cranking nosebands in equine sport with studies and by designing a noseband gauge for horse show ring stewards:
“Some equestrian manuals and competition rule books propose that ‘two fingers’ be used as a spacer to guard against over-tightening, but fail to specify where they should be applied or, indeed, the size of the fingers.”
“When this device was used to check noseband tightness on 737 horses at a variety of national and international dressage and eventing competitions, 44% of nosebands were found to be too close to the horse’s face to accommodate the tip of the taper gauge under the noseband. By extrapolation, this revealed that we are routinely preventing swallowing, chewing, yawning and licking in the name of sport.” I.S.E.S.
The EC rule, amended last year reads:
Cruelty can be defined as causing pain or unnecessary discomfort to a horse. As examples, an act of cruelty can be but is not limited to any of the following:
a) nosebands used in such a way that they interfere with the horse’s breathing, or be tight enough to cause pain or discomfort
Although we cannot interview horses to ask them how it feels to have an over-tightened noseband, the research is convincing that it’s a significant welfare issue.
Here’s a summary:
Horses wearing tight nosebands, have demonstrated elevated physiological stress responses (Fenner et al., 2016; McGreevy, 2012), are prevented from performing normal oral behaviours such as chewing, licking, and tongue resalivation (Fenner et al., 2016; McGreevy, 2012), experience stress due to constant unrelenting pressure, may experience physiological damage to nasal bones (Crago et al., 2019), and commonly experience pressure that greatly exceeds that of a tourniquet, which in humans restricts arterial blood flow and causes significant pain and potential nerve damage (Casey et al., 2013).
Blog General Post

Canadian Horse Journal Winter 2022 Issue

Featuring the CQHA sponsored Quarter Horse Division.


  • The Queen’s Legacy: A Passion for Horses
  • The Peter Gray Dressage Symposium
  • Lunging Horses – Why Bother?
  • Do Riders Crave Control?
  • Pony Club: Incubating Canada’s High-Performance Riders
  • Canada’s Wild Horses: An Uncertain Future
  • Crossing Mongolia for Charity



  • Can Horses Use Tools?
  • Three Common Equine Skin Cancers



  • The Geography of Belonging
  • Riders of a Certain Age
  • Essential Horse Speak



  • Alberta’s Equine Economic Impact Study
  • Horse Council BC News
  • Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association News
  • Canadian Quarter Horse Association News