Quarter Horse * Photo by Amy Olson

AQHA Updates Animal Welfare Policies

Effective October 1, 2023 the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) by recommendation from the Animal Welfare Commission, is implementing new minimum penalty levels of offense, as well as adjusted fines and penalties regarding inhumane treatment violations.

These violations are listed under AQHA Rule VIO204, in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations. Inhumane treatment can be considered any excessive and/or repetitive action to cause obvious distress or discomfort to a horse. VIO204.1-VIO204.20 outline specific actions that are not acceptable.

View the updated chart of minimum penalty levels of offense.

In addition to the changes in levels, all suspensions as a result of inhumane treatment will trigger AQHA Rule VIO657.

No person shall treat any horse in an inhumane manner. This prohibition against inhumane treatment applies to AQHA members and nonmembers. Inhumane treatment shall include, but not be limited to, the prohibited conduct specified in the AQHA Rulebook. Inhumane treatment to horses other than American Quarter Horses is included in this prohibition.

About the Animal Welfare Commission

The AQHA Animal Welfare Commission, which was created by the AQHA Executive Committee in 2012, reports directly to the Executive Committee, which evaluates all proposals in relation to the current state of the industry. 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 welfare.

The Animal Welfare Commission’s mission is to provide a framework for its members to 1.) Identify issues negatively affecting the welfare of the American Quarter Horse, 2.) Stay current on all welfare issues and 3.) Recommend actions that will help protect the American Quarter Horse from inhumane practices and AQHA and its members from the negative impacts associated with those practices. The AQHA Animal Welfare Commission will share discussion, action items and recommendations with the Association’s alliance partners in an effort to ensure all horses are treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all time.

AQHA’s prohibition against inhumane treatment applies to AQHA members and nonmembers.