Youth Programs and Opportunities

Youth World Cup

A major initiative of the Canadian Quarter Horse Association (CQHA) is to co-ordinate and field a team to represent Canada at biennial American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Youth World Cup competition. The Youth World Cup competition is an educational, leadership-based event for youth from around the world, to participate and showcase skills learned in an atmosphere of friendly competition.

Each participating country may select up to five competing riders, two alternate riders and three non-competing youth (leadership members). The host country provides a pool of horses of various ability levels, which are grouped into lots of five horses each. During the opening ceremonies, teams draw to determine their assigned group of five horses. Teams then designate three riders each to compete in Western Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, Western Riding, Hunter Under Saddle, Hunt Seat Equitation, Showmanship, and Trail; and two riders each for Reining and Cutting classes. Points earned from placing in each class are tabulated to determine the overall team placings. Two sets of medals are awarded – one from each judge, each day.

Funding for travel expenses for Team Canada is cost-shared by AQHA/CQHA, provincial/regional Quarter Horse Associations, corporate and/or individual sponsors, and team members’ families.

CQHA Awards for Youth

In 2019 the CQHA introduced a slate of awards to recognize outstanding members of our national Quarter Horse community. Two of these awards are dedicated to youth CQHA members, a winner and runner-up is awarded in each division:

Canadian AQHA Youth of the Year

This award is aimed at recognizing youth already associated and engaged with AQHA.Nominations must include:

  1. Must have an AQHA membership for a minimum of one year.
  2. Demonstrate involvement with AQHA through an AQHA youth program(s).
  3. Preference will be given to youth that volunteer their time to promote AQHA.

Rising Star Award

This award is aimed at recognizing a youth that is not already involved with AQHA but has demonstrated true worth as an up and coming horse professional and future industry leader. Nominations must include:

  1. Youth between the ages of 10-17
  2. Must demonstrate commitment to the industry through affiliation with an agriculture or horse related type program, participation in events that involve the training of horses, or participation in events that help educate youth on improving horsemanship. Examples of this may beclinic participation, 4-H/Pony Club, rodeo, or trainer events that involve youth and so on.
  3. The winner will be provided with a free AQHA 1 year youth membership which includes all of the AQHA “swag” sent out to new AQHA youth members. This is in additionto the award received for winning this category.
  4. Must provide two references that can verify the applicants’ credentials.
  5. Preference will be given to youth that do not already have an AQHA membership.

PLEASE NOTE: Nominations for the 2023 CQHA Awards will be accepted up until midnight mountain time February 13th, 2023.


CQHA encourages all Canadian youth to continue their education, and hopes that the scholarships that association endorses may assist youth achieve their academic goals.

Preference will be given to eligible, full-time, post-secondary Canadian resident students studying at Canadian colleges and universities.

The Shannon Burwash Memorial Awards for Equine and Agricultural Studies

In May of 2014, Dr. Wayne Burwash launched the Shannon Burwash Memorial Award for Equine and Agricultural Studies at The Calgary Foundation, to honor the legacy of Shannon’s love for the horse and her contribution to the horse industry. 

Each year the number of scholarship applications received far exceeds funds available for distribution, and the cost of higher education continues to rise. One of the most impactful ways to address this challenge is funding scholarship awards. Gifts to a scholarship fund are not spent; they generate interest income which is used to award scholarships. Your support is an investment in the future of our industry as deserving students develop into the leaders of tomorrow.This is the fifth year that scholarships have been awarded since Shannon’s passing in 2013, totalling $23,000 to date. Congratulations to all the recipients and best wishes for rewarding careers involving the horse.

The overall goal was to raise $125,000 so the fund can keep generating annual awards into the future. Dr. Burwash’s personal commitment to this goal was that he matched all other donors’ contributions to a maximum of $62,500. Dr. Burwash is most appreciative of all the generous donors to date.

As of 2019, the fund reached its target goal of $125,000, but welcomes further donations so that it may increase the number of scholarships awarded annually,

Shannon Burwash was a leader and a lover of the horse industry across Canada. To honour her legacy,  scholarships will continue to be awarded to deserving students who are focused on getting a post-secondary education, and being involved in the horse industry in their future

Deadline to Apply:  midnight, June 1st, annually