• Photo by Molly Montag.

AQHA Makes Changes to Ranch Classes, Forms Task Forces

Several rule changes related to ranch classes were recently reviewed and approved by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Executive Committee. The changes were originally approved by the association’s membership and Board of Directors in March at its annual convention.

In announcing the changes, the Amarillo, Texas-based association said all committee recommendations were 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 were devoted to each item.  

All rules are effective Jan. 1, 2022, unless noted otherwise.

Rule Changes: Ranch Classes

The following ranch class-related changes were approved by the AQHA Executive Committee:

  • Amend rule SHW561.7 (VRH Ranch Trail) and SHW421.6 (Ranch Trail) to read: MANDATORY OBSTACLES AND/OR MANUEVERS. Ride over obstacles on the ground (natural logs are required). Walk, trot or lope may be used, but only one gait is required.
  • Amend rule SHW561.6 and SHW421.5 to read” PROHIBITED OBDSTACLES: Tarps, water obstacles with slick bottoms, PVC pipe used as a jump or walk over, tires, rocking or moving bridges, painted logs or poles, logs elevated in a manner that permits such to roll in a dangerous manner.
  • Amend rule SHW564.1 to read: Part Four – Drive the cow back down the fence (original side) past the middle marker and continue until the judge blows the whistle to show completion. While boxing the cow at the opposite end, if the rider loses control and allows the cow to cross the center line, the judge will whistle the end of the run. The rider will receive off pattern penalty (OP) for the run.
  • Amend rule SHW567.1 to read: to be eligible to compete in the ranch conformation class, the horse must be shown in at least two riding classes in that division the day of the show.
  • Amend SHW567.6 to add: Exhibitors may qualify and show more than one horse in ranch conformation classes. Not allowing these horses to be shown by other exhibitors will make them ineligible for the all-around, which will also affect the overall all-around results for other exhibitors. Any current AQHA member can show the second or third horse for the open competitors in Open VRH Ranch Conformation.

Task Forces

The AQHA Executive Committee also approved the formation of two task forces. The first task force will explore the development of breakaway roping and steer roping classes to be added to the list of available Ranching Heritage Challenge classes. The second task force will work in conjunction with the AQHA Ranching Council to review the Ranching Heritage Breeders application form, mission of the Ranching Heritage Breeders program and ways to elevate the impact of the program.