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Event Approval

Approved AQHA classes at open and 4-H shows are giving you more opportunities to enhance your show experience.

The newest American Quarter Horse Association type of show is becoming one of the most popular ways to get into the world of AQHA showing by dramatically increasing the accessibility and broadening the range of AQHA shows to enhance your experience!  Now you can go to all the shows you love near your home!

These new shows aim to create a friendly and inexpensive show environment for you while providing the opportunity for many more American Quarter Horse owners to participate in the AQHA show experience.  To get a show approved, contact your show's manager and have them complete the procedure below!

The Simple Four-Step Process for 4-H and Open Show Managers
Begin planning your show today!

Collect Information about Your Show

Collect your show dates, the location of your show and select from AQHA's core list of novice classes to offer at your show.  Additionally, begin looking for an AQHA Judge to score your AQHA-approved classes.  A great place to start is with progressive and specialized novice judges at AQHA's list of approved judges. Fill out the application for American Quarter Horse Introductory Show and send it along with the application fee of $50 to Lisa Pond to start the approval process. PLEASE SEND THIS INFORMATION MORE THAN 90 DAYS BEFORE YOUR EVENT TO EXPEDITE PROCESSING AND TO ALLOW TIME FOR AQHA TO HELP PROMOTE YOUR EVENT.


Core classes include western pleasure, showmanship, western horsemanship, hunter under saddle, hunt seat equitation and trail.


>> Example: you can offer novice youth western pleasure and novice amateur western pleasure in addition to offering other western pleasure classes.

You do not need to hire a separate judge for the AQHA-approved classes.  AQHA Progressive judges may also judge your entire show if you wish.

During the show, Check AQHA Membership / Registration Papers 

When you have your show, verify AQHA membership and horse ownership status for all competitors entering in your AQHA-approved classes.  All competitors must show you these records before they are allowed to enter the AQHA-approved class.  Simply ask the competitor to show their AQHA membership card and a copy of the horse's AQHA registration papers.  For someone to show as an amateur, a family member must own the horse. Refer to AQHA's online handbook of rules and regulations as a family member is defined in Rule 403(5).

Remember, all competitors in your AQHA-approved classes must be AQHA members, and memberships may be sold at your show. 

AQHA Show Processing Fee

Each horse entered as an AQHA entry must submit a $4 processing fee.  This fee is required for AQHA results to be processed.  Each horse is only to be charged once per show.


>> Example: Horse A enters your show and is charged the appropriate processing fee. If you have two consecutive shows then the horse would be charged the fee for each of the shows.

Collect and Send Class Placings to AQHA 

During your show, collect and record the placings as you would for other classes.  For the AQHA-approved classes, you'll need to include the exhibitor's AQHA membership ID and their horse's registration ID.  We'll send you easy-to-use instructions on how to send the judge's cards and results back to AQHA for recording.

It's that simple!

Show Rules for OFfering AQHA Classes at Open and 4-H Shows

Excerpt from Rule 407 (Show Approval):
(u) In an effort to increase and enhance new exhibitors’ participation and AQHA show experience, AQHA, in its sole discretion, may waive and/or relax certain AQHA show rules for the following shows (collectively referred to hereafter as “Introductory Shows”)
     (1) An All-Novice show not held with an existing show; and/or
     (2) A single day show not held with an existing show.
(v) By way of example only, AQHA may choose to waive and/or relax certain requirements contained in:
     (1) Rule 407(e) (rule pertaining to date and proximity conflicts with other shows);
     (2) Rules 433-436 (rules pertaining to qualifications and obligations of show officials); and
     (3) Judges application rules for specialized novice judges.
(w) Should AQHA grant special dispensation status to an Introductory Show, the Introductory Show shall be allowed to include limited exhibitor eligibility classes for the Youth, Amateur and Open divisions.
(x) The applicant(s), organizer(s) and management of Introductory Show understand and agree that:
     (1) Unless a particular AQHA show rule is expressly waived or relaxed by AQHA, all show rules must be adhered to;
     (2) AQHA reserves the right to require six (6) core classes of Western Pleasure, Showmanship, Western Horsemanship, Hunter Under Saddle, Hunt Seat Equitation and Trail to be held; and
     (3) the show must not exceed a twelve (12) hour competition limit.