Based on a recommendation from the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) animal welfare commission, the AQHA steward program is being redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up. The AQHA steward task force was appointed by the AQHA executive committee to assess the current program and develop ideas for enhancements.
The task force, which met in June in Dallas, concluded that to meet the unique challenges of ensuring animal welfare, the steward program will need to be restructured. This recommendation was approved by the animal welfare commission in a July 7 conference call, and subsequently at the AQHA executive committee meeting July 22 in Amarillo.
“The steward program, in its current state, will be dissolved to allow the new program to be built from the ground up,” said Alex Ross, AQHA senior director of judges and stewards.
“We are very grateful for the hard work the stewards have put into ensuring the welfare of the animals at AQHA shows,” Ross added. “Because of these horsemen and -women, the Association has been able to build a platform for the next generation of the AQHA steward program.”
In an Aug. 27 statement, the association said the health and wellbeing of the American Quarter Horse is the AQHA’s utmost concern. In accordance with AQHA’s mission statement, the American Quarter Horse shall be treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times. It is the goal of the AQHA to educate members and non-members on this issue. The AQHA steward program is one piece in the animal-welfare puzzle.