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AQHA Announces Trail Modifications Due to COVID-19

The AQHA Executive Committee and AQHA leadership are currently evaluating protocols and recommendations to implement when local, state, and federal mandates are lifted and the impact of any new guidelines on AQHA shows and programs. The Executive Committee recently approved waiving the gate as a mandatory obstacle in the trail, AQHA Rule SHW 466.1, and Versatility Ranch Horse trail, in addition to the obstacle drag in open, cowboy, and amateur VRH ranch trail, AQHA Rule SHW561.7.

“The AQHA Show Department recommended granting a waiver until further notice for both the gate and obstacle drag as mandatory obstacles due to the current safety concerns related to COVID-19 and the potential spread of the virus through frequently touched surfaces,” said Justin Billings, AQHA chief show officer. “We also received feedback from AQHA trail course designer Tim Kimura, the AQHA return to competition working group of industry stakeholders and the AQHA Professional Horsemen and Show councils. They shared our concerns and feel it is necessary to implement measures to protect exhibitors, knowing these obstacles are frequently touched during competition and practice leading up to the classes.”

By eliminating these as mandatory obstacles until the spread of the virus ceases, the Association will be better able to protect AQHA exhibitors as shows resume and also be in compliance with existing CDC recommendations.

“The safety of our members and staff is our top priority,” said Billings. “We are greatly anticipating the reopening of the country so our members can continue to do what they love – show their American Quarter Horses. In the meantime, our team is working diligently with other associations and alliance partners to determine certain protocols and recommendations that must be in place to safely do so.”

View information regarding the current status of AQHA-sanctioned shows.

More information will be shared at a later date regarding recommendations for a return to shows, pending government mandates.

Once AQHA deems it safe to reinstate the requirement for the mandatory obstacles, a statement will be posted on

CLICK HERE to view more information from AQHA.