To earn an invitation to an AQHA Novice championship show, the exhibitor must qualify in one of three ways:
1. Show at 20 shows in a Novice class; if a show does not offer the Novice class, contact the show manager or show secretary to add the class. Shows will be counted by show numbers on a one-horse, one-rider basis; for questions about how many show numbers a show will count for, competitors should ask the presiding show manager or secretary. As Novice halter classes are not commonplace, Novice-eligible halter exhibitors may compete in the corresponding youth or amateur halter class to count for their 20 shows. –or–
2. Place in the top 10 in a Novice class at an AQHA Regional Championship show; the top-10 placing qualifies the rider on that horse only. If your Regional Championship does not offer the Novice class you are interested in, contact the show manager or show secretary to add the class. Again, since Novice halter classes are not commonly offered, a top-10 finish in the corresponding youth or amateur halter class at a Regional Championship will count for Novice-eligible halter exhibitors. –or–
3. Qualify through the exhibitor’s state/provincial affiliate. If the exhibitor’s affiliate does not have a qualifying method listed, the exhibitor must nationally qualify or qualify through another affiliate. To qualify through another affiliate, the exhibitor must be a member in good standing with the other affiliate (other than the state/province you reside in) and be selected by that affiliate as a qualifier. Find your affiliate's qualifying method.
The national qualifying period is May 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. If a Regional Championship is scheduled for after June 30, 2013, it will count for the 2014 Novice championships qualifying.
To verify if you are eligible to qualify for the AQHA Novice championship shows in a particular class, visit www.aqha.com/leveling. Novice is part of the AQHA leveling program, and changes made to Novice eligibility were made effective January 1, 2013. Visit www.aqha.com/leveling to verify if you are eligible for the Novice level, and read on below to see if you comply with additional Novice championship rules.
Verifying qualification to the Novice championships depends on the method of qualifying. Per each qualifying method, see the suggested verification method:
1. Invitations to the Novice championship shows earned by nationally qualifying are done so on a one-horse, one-rider basis.
2. Exhibitors must be Novice-eligible at the time of qualifying to earn invitations to the Novice championships.
3. Novice eligibility is based on a calendar year, meaning January 1 to December 31; the Novice championship qualifying period is May 1 to June 30 of the following year. Novice-eligible exhibitors who nationally qualify before December 31, then graduate out of Novice on January 1, would still earn an invitation to the appropriate year’s Novice championship for which they qualified.
4. An exhibitor must qualify in at least one class to earn an invite to the Novice championship shows; the exhibitor may qualify either nationally or state/provincially, but not both.
5. If an exhibitor nationally qualifies, the exhibitor’s state/provincial affiliate will not include that exhibitor in their state qualifying list, which gives other exhibitors the opportunity to qualify.
6. An invitation to the Novice championship shows earns the invitee the ability to enter any class that the exhibitor feels comfortable showing in with that particular horse on which the exhibitor qualified. The exhibitor must be Novice-eligible in the class at the time of qualifying in order to enter that particular class at the Novice championship show.
7. There is no restriction on which Novice championship an exhibitor may attend. Exhibitors may only compete at one Novice championship per year.
8. The rule requiring youths to be 9 years old to compete in halter has been relaxed for the Novice championships.
9. Exhibitors may qualify, and attend, both a Novice championship and an AQHA world championship show in the same year.
10. Novice-eligible exhibitors who place in the top three at an AQHA world show will maintain Novice eligibility through the end of the year. Meaning, the exhibitor would remain eligible to compete at the Novice championship, provided they had qualified to attend the Novice championships.
11. Exhibitors who win a class at a Novice championship are ineligible to compete in Novice in that particular class for the three subsequent years.
12. Exhibitors who win a halter class at a Novice championship are ineligible to compete in Novice halter for the three subsequent years.
13. Each horse-and-rider combination will pay a flat entry fee, which will include the entry of up to three classes, office and drug-testing fees, plus one stall. Tack stalls may be purchased for $100, and exhibitors will also need to pay for shavings. Each additional class, after three, will cost an additional $35 per class. No classes are offered on an individual basis without the $300 flat fee being paid first.
14. No class entries will be taken on-site, but exhibitors have the ability to scratch from classes at the show.
15. Should a horse receiving an invitation to the 2013 Novice championships die, the exhibitor owning the horse may substitute and participate with another horse up to one hour prior to the appropriate class in showmanship, horsemanship and hunt seat equitation; the appropriate show office must be notified, and provided with a statement from an American Association of Equine Practitioners- approved veterinarian verifying the qualified horse’s death. Exhibitors who qualify in any other class may participate with another horse if the qualified horse dies before the entry deadline. When submitting entry to the designated show secretary, a statement from an AAEP-approved veterinarian verifying the death of the qualified horse must also be submitted.
16. For the Novice championships only, if a horse becomes severely injured or disabled, a substitute will be allowed for the Novice championships that the injured/disabled horse qualified for. In order to replace a debilitated horse, written statements from two AAEP-approved veterinarians stating the severity of the debilitating injury or illness, and lack of probably of short-term recovery, must be submitted to AQHA or the show office at the event and the appropriate show office is notified at least one hour prior to the particular class. [Please note that due to Novice rules, the competitor does not have to own the horse that he or she shows at the Novice championships.]
Do you have a question about the AQHA Novice championship shows? Check out our Novice championship FAQ.