Read the new rules approved by the AQHA Executive Committee. Photo © The American Quarter Horse Journal

New AQHA Show Rules Approved by Executive Committee

The American Quarter Horse Association has released the AQHA Standing Committee Reports for the 2019 AQHA Convention, which was March 8-11 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas.

Even though the deadline to submit rule-change proposals for the 2019 convention was December 31, 2018, your input is encouraged and taken into consideration when decisions are being made. After all, it is AQHA members who lead the charge toward changes that make the Association – and the equine industry – better.

The AQHA Executive Committee met April 2-4 in Amarillo to review the standing-committee recommendations approved at the 2019 AQHA Convention by the AQHA Board of Directors, with the exception of those related to bylaw changes and rules of registration, for which final approval lies with the board of directors. Even though some agenda items were not approved, careful consideration, discussion and debate were devoted to each item.

Read the full standing committee reports.

GENERAL SUBCOMMITTEE

  • Approved staff study of feasibility of developing a system to account for USEF member achievements when crossing over to show in AQHA leveled competition within youth, amateur and open divisions. Committee recommends staff develop guidelines consistent with other alliance partner parameters currently in place.
  • Modify rule SHW378.3 such that biting is considered a blatant disobedience and a 10-point penalty.
  • Amend Cowboy Mounted Shooting rule SHW750.1.1 to read as follows: AQHA/CMSA events for officiating purposes will follow AQHA bit and bridle, western equipment and speed event rules. Notwithstanding, these rules include but are not limited to SHW300, SHW305, SHW306, SHW307, SHW325, VIO300 and VIO320.
  • Add equipment rule SHW300.8 to read as follows: All inhumane/prohibited equipment as listed in VIO204.13 is illegal for use at any time on the grounds at an AQHA-approved event.

SHOW FORMAT AND PROCEDURES SUBCOMMITTEE

Approve report from AQHA Affiliate Show Task Force to include the following modifications to AQHA rules and show approval guidelines:

  • Allow any show with less than 500 entries to apply for halter classes as follows**:
    • Junior youth, junior amateur and junior open (defined as junior 2 and under).
    • Senior youth, senior amateur and senior open (defined as senior 3 and over).
    • Youth performance mares and geldings.
    • Amateur performance halter mares, geldings and stallions.
    • Open performance halter mares, geldings and stallions.
  • Provide show managers access to judges database.
  • Allow states to earn three total six-pointed circuits per year if the following criteria is met:
    • Must hold two of these three types of shows:
      • Level 1
      • Introductory
      • Single-judge
    • Must be held for two consecutive years and have applied for a third consecutive year before applying for an additional six-pointed circuit.
    • Level 1, introductory or single-judge shows must continue to be held or the additional six-pointed circuit will not be approved.
  • Modify calendar of shows to be assigned by weekends of the month, replacing the current weeks of the year. Weekends to be defined as beginning on Saturday. Approved implementation for 2021**.
  • Develop marketing tool kits for affiliates, managers and secretaries.

Approve report from AQHA Show Fines and Penalties Task Force to include the following modification to AQHA rules and show approval guidelines:

  • The following parties may be fined or disciplined for infractions:
    • Show secretary/management.
    • Judges.
    • Exhibitors.
    • Show sponsor/financially responsible party.
  • Categories of infractions:
    • Show approval application.
      • Received after deadline (defined as less than 60 days prior to show). The following incidents constitute being “received after deadline”:
        • Received incomplete. It is not considered complete until all requested information is provided.
        • Received without fees. It is not considered complete until fully paid.
        • Staff inquiries. It is not considered complete until all inquiries are answered.
      • Penalties/disciplinary action for above infractions:
        • $1,000 for first offense.
        • $2,000 for second offense.
        • 1-year suspension for third offense and show will not be approved in the future with the same management.
    • Show results
      • Received after deadline (defined as more than 10 days after completion of the show). The following incidents constitute being “received after deadline”:
        • Received incomplete. It is not considered complete until all requested information is provided.
        • Received in non-electronic format. It is not considered complete until it is received in an acceptable format.
      • Unverified results received. The following incidents constitute being “received as unverified”:
        • Exhibitor allowed to show without membership.
        • Grand/reserve halter not held.
        • Grand/reserve judge cards not submitted.
        • Unregistered horse allowed to show in an AQHA class.
      • Penalties/disciplinary action for above infractions is a fine of $50 per day per event code.
    • Other
      • Re-judging of classes already held and placed.
        • Judges have primary responsibility here and should be held accountable.
      • Recommend modifying current rule SHW100.10 to read as follows:

Any AQHA-approved show that fails to pay for services rendered by third parties in connection with the holding of the approved shows (i.e. judges’ fees, cattle charges, facilities, insurance or drug-testing fees, etc.) or pay premium monies to exhibitors can be denied AQHA approval for present and future shows. The sponsoring organization and/or its representatives can be denied privileges of AQHA and suspended from membership.

      • Management not on show grounds.
        • After staff investigation, allow 1 written warning. Upon second infraction, a 120-day suspension shall be imposed. Such suspension shall be delayed to begin 120 days after verification of the infraction. For suspension to be lifted, show management must be recertified.
      • Management not reporting animal welfare issues.
        • After staff investigation, allow 1 written warning. Upon second infraction, a 120-day suspension shall be imposed. Such suspension shall be delayed to begin 120 days after verification of the infraction. For suspension to be lifted, show management must be recertified.
    • Standard operating procedure for the following areas:
      • Inadequate equipment/obstacles being used. The disciplinary action to be imposed upon the financially responsible party/sponsor.
        • Two written warnings.
        • Show not allowed approval on next application for classes with prior questionable equipment.
        • In addition, a steward needs to be assigned at the next show to assess if the issues have been rectified.
      • Actions detrimental to AQHA. The fine/disciplinary action to be imposed upon show management/secretary.
        • Adding judges/number of points at any event without prior approval
          • $1,000 for first offense.
          • $2,000 for second offense.
          • 1-year suspension for third offense and show will not be approved in the future with the same management.
        • Canceling event for reasons other than acts of God, facility conflict/loss, conflict with AQHA event, or disease outbreak. The fine/disciplinary action to be imposed upon the financial responsible party/sponsor.
          • Must show proof that all responsibilities identified by grievance committee are met prior to next approval.
          • Provide explanations for issues and plans to resolve in the future.

Amend rule SHW103.1 to include shows held in international countries will retain priority date for their country-specific holidays. International affiliates shall be required to identify their country-specific holidays to AQHA. **

Delete rule SHW245.3.4, which reads: [In addition, at the time of application for Level 1, an individual may not have] won an international or reserve international title for that particular class at the European Championship or German Championships, regardless of whether the international class in question was an AQHA-approved class. **

WESTERN AND TIMED-EVENTS SUBCOMMITTEE

  • Amend rule SHW452 to allow western riding patterns 1-4 to be performed the opposite direction (mirror image) of how they are currently set, creating 4 additional patterns labeled as patterns 6-9.

ENGLISH AND DRESSAGE SUBCOMMITTEE

  • Add SHW108.3.5 to read as follows: [A maximum of two class types will be allowed per event] except for English Special Events, which, for a trial period of three years, will be allowed to include English classes from Categories IV, V and VII. English special events will not be limited in number of events allowed per year during the trial period, but must have approval of affiliate and meet all other show approval requirements. Success at the end of the trial period to be measured by an increase or stabilization in the number of entries in all the English classes. **

This addition will be subject to annual review by the AQHA Executive Committee.

WORLD SHOW SUBCOMMITTEE

  • Add dressage as a stakes class at the AQHA World Championship Show, beginning in 2020.
  • Include any exhibitor who has met the class requirements, regardless of qualification method, in the tabulation for the all-around title at the Select World Show. The Executive Committee also approved that this will apply to the all-around amateur award at the AQHA World Championship Show.

AWARDS, RECOGNITION AND MARKETING SUBCOMMITTEE

  • Modify rule SHW804 to allow Select all-around titles to count toward earning a superior all-around award. **

HALTER SUBCOMMITTEE

  • The AQHA Animal Welfare Commission Task Force will explore options and make recommendations pertaining to modifying rule SHW355.
  • Current performance halter eligibility rules (SHW365.3) will apply and/or horses that are competing in a performance class at the same show may also be shown in performance halter. Horses must be ridden or driven at that show. Walk/trot classes and showmanship do not count as an eligible performance class. The exemption for horses that have earned a Racing Register of Merit will still apply.

 

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