AQHA Leveling Program

Member-driven rule changes will affect the AQHA leveling program for 2014.

American Quarter Horse Association
November 1, 2013

2013 AQHA Region Seven Championship

Visit www.aqha.com/leveling to see the renamed levels and leveling rule changes for 2014. (Journal photo)

Changes to the AQHA leveling program – driven by exhibitor feedback – are on the way for 2014. Many of those changes are directed at what had been known as the Novice and Rookie levels, and 2014 will see the reintroduction of the mid-levels.

To collect exhibitor feedback, the AQHA Blue-Ribbon Task Force worked with Mallory Vestal, Ph.D., of West Texas A&M University, and C. Jill Stowe, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky. The group designed an email survey, which was sent to 23,000 AQHA members, ages 19 and over who have shown in the past three years.

The choice to loop exhibitors into the decision-making process behind the leveling program was an obvious one for the Blue-Ribbon Task Force, said AQHA Executive Director of Shows Patti Carter-Pratt.

“Considering the vastness and intricacy of the AQHA show industry, we were quite excited to analyze the results from this widespread survey, then use it to hone our levels,” she added.

Levels are formulated by an objective handicapping system that assigns exhibitors and horses to competition levels. That handicapping system is based on real data from AQHA shows.  

Exhibitor feedback showed that the previous names for the levels created some confusion. To simplify matters, the levels will be renamed for 2014. Visit www.aqha.com/leveling to see the renamed levels.

The Blue-Ribbon Task Force, charged with researching and designing the leveling program, comprises AQHA Professional Horsemen, judges, amateurs, show managers and AQHA staff members.

“What our task force members were hearing out in the industry and what the survey results indicated was that exhibitors needed further clarification on what exactly the levels were and how they were to find their level,” Carter-Pratt said.

To aid with level verification, the Blue-Ribbon Task Force will be working with the AQHA IT Department to develop a Web-based verification system for 2014 that will aid members in finding their level.  

To view the rule changes made to the AQHA leveling program, effective January 1, 2014, go to www.aqha.com/leveling

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