• Photo by Molly Montag

Deadline Looms For AQHA Fee Increase

American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) members who want to get paperwork completed before the association’s new fee structure takes effect are running out of time to beat the deadline.
The association’s new fee structure, which includes increases regarding embryo transfers and other services, goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
With only a few exceptions, payments must be received by the association before Dec. 31, 2017, in order to fall under the current fee structure, said AQHA Spokeswoman Sarah Davisson. 
The exceptions are stallion breeding reports, which are based on postmark, and increases to show fees, which already went into effect.
Members can also avoid the fee increases by making payments at aqha.com prior to Dec. 31, 2017.
Announced in October, the new fee structure includes a number of increases, but the more significant are those that deal with embryo transfer. The new fee for annual embryo transfer enrollment will increase 100 percent, from $100 to $200, and lifetime embryo transfer enrollment will jump from $500 to $1,500. The new fee structure also includes a $100 embryo foal application processing charge in addition to the normal registration fees.
Other notable fee increases under the new structure include $100 leases for breeding, amateur showing and youth showing. Currently, a breeding lease is $20 and an amateur or youth showing lease is $30.
“We have arrived at a point where the association’s fees need to reflect the association’s services provided to our members, and we must continue to be a financially healthy association with at least a half of a year to a full year budget in reserves,” AQHA Vice President Craig Huffhines said in a statement. “[The] AQHA continues to invest in the future of the association in various ways, including but not limited to the enhancement of technology, which will then in turn create more opportunities for our members and horses.”
Some AQHA members, including some breeders, have expressed displeasure regarding the increases. More than 11,000 people have signed an online petition asking the AQHA to leave fees where they are. 
The change.org petition circulated by Jessicah Torpey, of Sumner, Texas, was created to show the AQHA how members are being negatively impacted by the association “doubling and tripling their fees.”
The AQHA is aware of the online petition.
“We knew that the fee increases would affect our members; however, we kept the fees as low as possible to be cost effective for our members, provide members with the best services available and help our great association stay financially strong, not only for today, but for years to come,” according to an AQHA statement.
Davisson, the AQHA spokeswoman, said if any fees are raised again in 2019, it will not be as significant as the increases taking effect Jan. 1.
“The AQHA Executive Committee and staff review the tentative budget each year before it is finalized, and we want to ensure we are providing our members with the best services available and are maintaining a health financial position for the future of AQHA,” the organization said in a statement.