“By voluntarily putting your number on your schooling saddle pad and halter, you are committing to the welfare of your horse,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines. Photo © Delores Kuhlwein

Update: Schooling Numbers Not Required But Encouraged at AQHA World Shows

While not required, AQHA highly encourages all exhibitors to wear their exhibitor number when working their horse(s) at the AQHA world shows. An extra schooling number and a number for the halter will be provided in entry packets when exhibitors pick up their packets from the show office.

AQHA recently followed suit of other segments of the equine industry, including the Federation Equestre Internationale, to require exhibitor numbers to be worn at all times when a horse is being worked at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA, Adequan Select and AQHA world championship shows. However, after hearing from AQHA’s members, the AQHA Executive Committee decided at its recent meeting in July to modify the requirement.

“The intent of the number requirement was to ensure the well-being and safety of the horses being exhibited,” said AQHA Chief Show Officer Pete Kyle. “We feel like we didn’t do a good job of communicating our intent, so we’re no longer requiring, but are still encouraging, exhibitors to wear numbers at all times.”

AQHA appreciates the hard work of our stewards, AQHA Professional Horsemen, exhibitors, owners and breeders in preparing and competing at high-level competition, and AQHA leadership listened to exhibitor feedback when changing this requirement.

“We still believe that having numbers on your horse is a step in the right direction to make AQHA showing the best it can be,” Kyle said. “We remain committed to the welfare of our horse and hope our exhibitors will wear their numbers. We want our exhibitors to be focused on competing at their best and did not intend to create any distractions.”

The wearing of schooling numbers outside the show arena is a benefit to both riders and their equine mounts; the numbers provide a way of knowing every horse and person on the grounds in addition to helping stewards become more familiar with the horses and riders. This practice is not uncommon in the equine industry.

“By voluntarily putting your number on your schooling saddle pad and halter, you are committing to the welfare of your horse,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines. “Our goal is to maintain a safe environment for our exhibitors and horses while building a better relationship between our exhibitors and AQHA stewards.”

As always, AQHA stewards will monitor the show grounds at AQHA world shows to protect the welfare of both the equine and human competitors.

“The use of schooling numbers is a practice the equine world has become accustomed to, and with AQHA being the leader in the equine industry, it is only natural that the Association would follow suit,” said AQHA Steward Butch Carse. “It’s also a way for spectators and fans alike to identify horses and competitors, and is nothing but positive in my eyes.”

AQHA understands you might have questions concerning wearing schooling numbers at world shows. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Q: Do you have to have a number attached any time a horse is being worked at a world show?
No. While it is encouraged any time a horse is being worked, the number is not required. AQHA will provide an extra number for your work saddle pad and a smaller version of your exhibitor number that you can clip to the side of your halter and that will not interfere with your horse, should you choose to use it.

Q: How does the halter number attach to the halter?
The halter number will clip to the side of your horse’s halter. This number will not interfere with your horse.

Q: Does the number stay with the horse or rider?
The number stays with the horse. Therefore, if a trainer is working the horse, the same number would stay with the horse even if the exhibitor is not working the horse.

If you have additional questions regarding schooling numbers, please contact AQHA at 806-376-4811.
For more information on the Ford Youth World, visit www.aqha.com/youthworld.