2020 AQHA Standing Committee Reports Approved April 16

2020 AQHA Standing Committee Reports Approved April 16

The AQHA Executive Committee recently reviewed and took action on recommendations from four AQHA standing committees.

three chestnut broodmares and one sorrel foal in a field of green grass (Credit: Austria Arnold)

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The American Quarter Horse Association Executive Committee met April 16 via conference call to review the rule-change recommendations from the amateur, judges, ranching and show committees.

Careful consideration, discussion and debate were devoted to each item. Below are the highlights of approved agenda items.

View highlights from seven AQHA standing committees that were approved by the Executive Committee on April 8. Rule-change recommendations related to bylaws and rules of registration will not be considered until the 2021 AQHA Convention. Read the full committee reports, which the Executive Committee has taken action on at www.aqha.com/committee-reports.

All rules are effective January 1, 2021, unless noted otherwise.

AQHA Amateur Committee

The Amateur Committee provided two recommendations to the AQHA Show Committee, which were included in the primary Show Committee report. 

2020-21 AQHA Amateur Committee Chairwoman: Cheryllee Sargent

AQHA Judges Committee

The Executive Committee approved the following recommendations:

  • Add minor, major and severe fault wording to SHW350 that was developed between AQHA and WCHA.

  • Add SHW362.4.8 (Procedure for Judging Halter, Incorrect Pattern) to read as follows: All contestants that do not complete the prescribed pattern correctly in three (3) attempts.

  • Replace the first paragraph of SHW911.7 with the following paragraph: For scored classes only, upon completion of runs, judges may confer in a timely manner regarding disqualification or major penalties provided a ring steward or show official is present. There shall be no consultation or visiting between judges during the actual judging of any class. In all classes, judges should not confer regarding any other judging considerations. When questioning obvious lameness or other disqualifications… (with remainder of current wording to remain the same).

  • Amend SHW454.2 (Western Riding Penalties One (1) point) as follows:

    • hitting or rolling log

    • out of lead more than one stride either side of the center point and between the markers

    • splitting the log (log between the two front or two hind feet) at the lope hind legs skipping or coming together during lead change

    • hind legs skipping or coming together during lead change

    • break of gait at the walk or jog up to two strides

    • non-simultaneous lead change (including front to hind, hind to front, front or hind legs coming together during the change) (front to hind or hind to front)

  • Clarify maneuver and penalty application of all scored classes. Add “maneuver valuations and penalty applications are to be determined independently. The following penalties will be applied to each occurrence and be deducted from the final score.”

  • Delete SHW489, which previously provided “Faults against the rider to be scored accordingly, but not to cause disqualification: Losing stirrup; Failure to run circles or figure eights within the markers is not considered a fault depending on arena conditions and size.” (These are no longer in the NRHA handbook).

  • Amend conflict of interest rules contained in SHW904 as follows:

    • SHW904.5 judging a show or set of shows in which a horse owned by belonging to or being exhibited by any member of his/her immediate family is entered. See SHW220.1 for definition of “immediate family.” This rule applies regardless of whether the judge is scheduled to judge such horse.

    • SHW904.6 judging a horse at a show or set of shows that is trained by an immediate family member or an immediate family member’s assistant trainer.

    • SHW904.7 If prohibited by a show’s conflict of interest policy (check with show management), judging a show or set of shows in which a horse trained by an immediate family member or an immediate family member’s assistant trainer is entered and such immediate family member or their assistant trainer are on the show grounds. If not prohibited by a show’s conflict of interest policy, SHW904.6 above still applies.

    • SHW904.6judging a horse at a show or set of shows that he/she has been owner, trainer, agent in any capacity, or conditioner of that horse within the previous three months prior to the date of the subject show.

  • Amend SHW905.2 as follows: [To maintain approval as judge, an individual must:] attend an AQHA-sanctioned judges conference once every three years beginning January 1 of the year in which the individual becomes an AQHA-approved judge; furthermore, all AQHA-approved specialized judges must attend a judges conference when their discipline is conducted. A judge may request a one-time exemption, that is subject to approval, by contacting the AQHA Senior Director of Judges. If approved, there will be a cost recovery fee of $500 and he/she must watch the conference via online training prior to judging his/her next show.

2020-21 AQHA Judges Committee Chairman: John Pipkin

AQHA Ranching Committee

The Executive Committee approved the following recommendations:

  • Amend SHW552.3 (Divisions) to read as follows:

    SHW552.3 The cowboy and limited cowboy divisions will offer two different subdivisions as follows:

    SHW552.3.1 Cowboy: the rider of the horse must either be the owner of the horse (partial or full), or a family member or full-time employee of the ranch to which the horse is registered. Employees must have been employed for a minimum of 90 days prior to competing. Riders who receive compensation for riding non-ranch-owned horses are ineligible to compete in the cowboy division (i.e.: may not ride outside horses). There is no earnings cap for this division. SHW552.3.2 Limited cowboy: eligibility requirements are the same as cowboy division, except: the rider must SHW552.3.2.1 have combined earnings of less than $15,000 in any of the following organizations: NRHA, NCHA, NRCHA, ACHA, RHAA, ASHA, NRSHA or SHTX within the previous three years; SHW552.3.2.2 have earned less than 25 AQHA or American Paint Horse Association open points in reining, cutting, ranch cow horse or versatility ranch horse within the previous three years. SHW552.3.3 In VRH/RHC cowboy and limited cowboy classes there are three parts to Ranch Cow Work: boxing, fence work and roping (not box-drive-box-drive). (Rule change is pending programming.)

  • Amend rule SHW416.1 (Ranch Riding) to read as follows: For horses 3 years of age and older, offered as Level 1, junior or all-age open division class, and as a Level 1, 13-&-Under, 14-18 or all-age youth class, and as Level 1, Level 1 Select, Select or all-age amateur division class. (Rule change is pending programming.)

  • Create a World Show Ranch Rodeo Task Force to research the feasibility of holding a ranch rodeo in conjunction with the AQHA World Championship Show.

2020-21 AQHA Ranching Committee Chairwoman: Jecca Ostrander

AQHA Show Committee

The Show Committee approvals are outlined by each subcommittee.

English Subcommittee:

  • Amend SHW311.1 (English Optional Equipment) to read as follows: Spurs of the unrowelled type that are blunt, round or that include a smooth rolling rubber or stainless-steel ball and no longer than 1 inch.

  • Amend rule SHW637.3 (Working Hunter; Course or Arena Arrangement) to read as follows: Distance between fences is recommended to be in 12-foot (3.5 meters) increments with the exception of some combinations: one stride in and out, 24-26 feet (7 meters); two strides in and out, 36 feet (11 meters); three strides, 48 feet (14.5 meters). In Rookie classes, exhibitor may add one stride in a standard set line without penalty as long as it is done consistently throughout the course. Footage of distance between fences must be on the posted courses. If footage is not posted then management is required to allow a course walk prior to class.

  • Amend SHW638 (Fence Heights) by creating a chart of fence heights for all over fence classes based on the heights in 2020 AQHA Rule Book.

  • Amend SHW638.6 as follows: Minimum height for Rookie class must be 2 feet with maximum height of 2 feet 3 inches. Due to low fence height in Rookie over fence events it is recommended that the distance between fences be in 11 feet increments. Also recommended that the course not contain combinations such as one or two stride elements or oxers for use in Level 1 and Rookie events. If Select amateurs are required to combine to regular amateur classes because of rule SHW117.1.1, the resulting all-age amateur class fence height should be set as 2'9”.

  • Add SHW638.7 to read: Rookie classes may not have oxers in class. In and outs are not allowed in any Rookie or Level 1 class.

  • Amend SHW618 (Hunt Seat Equitation on the Flat. Basic Position) as follows: To mount, take up reins in left hand and place hand on withers. Grasp stirrup leather with right hand and insert left foot in stirrup and mount. To dismount, rider may either step down or slide down. The size of rider must be taken into consideration. “Judges should not ask exhibitors to mount or dismount.

General Subcommittee:

  • Amend SHW127 (Show Officials) as follows: Show Officials are defined as any person performing the duties of a show manager, steward, ring steward or show secretary.  Show officials, with the exception of ring stewards, must have a current AQHA individual membership. Any reputable person may act in the capacity of a show official who can furnish proof that he/she is capable through ability or experience.

  • Appoint an Equestrians With Disabilities task force to review EWD-related rule changes and report recommendations to the AQHA Executive Committee.

Halter Subcommittee:

  • Add new provisions to SHW350 (Halter Classes) in cooperation with WCHA to include minor, major and severe faults and other standard wording used in judging halter classes.

  • Add new rule to SHW362.4.8 (Procedure for Judging Halter) to read as follows: [Judges should disqualify and excuse from the ring prior to final placing a horse that:] does not complete the prescribed pattern correctly in three attempts.

Leveling Subcommittee:

  • Refer to subcommittee to conduct a comprehensive review of the Leveling program.

  • Modify SHW245.3.5. (Level 1 Eligibility) as follows: won a total of $5,000 in cash and prizes with any equine organization or association by class including earnings reported by QData, Equistat and other verifiable resources. [Make reference verbiage consistent when earnings are cited elsewhere in the rulebook.]

Show Format & Procedures Subcommittee:

  • Refer to subcommittee to conduct a comprehensive review of permitting concurrent breed classes.

Western & Timed-Events Subcommittee:

  • Amend SHW416.1 (Ranch Riding) as follows: For horses 3 years of age and older, offered as a Level 1, junior, senior or all-age open division class, and as an all-age class for Level 1 youth, youth, 13-&-Under and 14-18 youth, Level 1 amateur, Level 1 Select amateur, Select amateur and amateur. (Rule change pending programming.)

  • Amend SHW520 (Roping Events) by adding the following: If the barrier works and the contestant breaks out, a penalty will be assessed. The penalty will be carried over on a rerun.

  • Consider proposal to add a new class Working Western Rail outside of the ranching division; form task force to further define the class as to the rules, eligibility for points, awards, all-arounds, etc. (Rule change pending programming.)

  • Amend the last sentence of SHW452. (Western Riding) to read as follows: The three Level 1 western riding patterns and their reverse pattern layouts may be used for Level 1 amateur or Level 1 youth.

  • Amend the second sentence of SHW461 (Trail) as follows: Credit will be given to horses negotiating the obstacles with style, some degree of speed, positive expression, and minimal visible or audible cueing, providing correctness is not sacrificed.

World Show Subcommittee

  • Implement the five-judge system for the Level 1 Stakes classes at the AQHA World Show. (Rule change pending programming.)

  • Appoint task force to consider proposal to implement participation qualification for all classes at the AQHA World Show. (Rule change pending programming.)

  • Add a Level 2 division to the 2-year-old western pleasure class at the AQHA World Show, leveled on the exhibitor. (Rule change pending programming.)

  • Appoint task force to evaluate adding the time element to the scoring of the heading and heeling classes at the AQHA World Show.

  • Amend World Show rule as follows: No Weanlings may be shown at both the Select World and in the Amateur division at the AQHA World Show in the same year even with different exhibitors.

  • Add a new AQHA World Show rule to read as follows: For countries that have an AQHA Affiliate, an exhibitor who qualifies for any AQHA world show using the international qualifying system, must be a member of that AQHA Affiliate operating in the coinciding country. (Rule change pending programming.)

  • Amend the AQHYA World Championship Show Handbook to increase the number of affiliate entries allowed per state based on six entries multiplied by the total number of classes offered with no limit on individual class entries.

  • Add Amateur Horsemanship Challenge Event to 2020 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show. (Recommendation made by the AQHA Amateur Committee.)

  • Review All-Around awards programs at the Select and Amateur World Shows. (Recommendation made by the AQHA Amateur Committee.)

  • Amend AQHA World Championship Show performance halter eligibility rules in open, amateur, Select and youth divisions for barrel racing, pole bending and stake race classes, to require an exhibitor complete the pattern, without disqualification, and within 3 seconds of the fastest time, exclusive of any time penalties, in order to successfully fulfill the performance class requirement.

2020-21 AQHA Show Committee Chairman: Robin Frid

About the Cancellation of the 2020 AQHA Convention

The AQHA Executive Committee and AQHA leadership were faced with a difficult decision but, at the end of the day, it came down to the consideration of the health, safety and wellness of our members worldwide, board of directors and staff. This was the first time in the Association’s 80-year history that convention has been cancelled. Due to the uncertainty of the current COVID-19 pandemic witnessed around the globe, the AQHA Executive Committee opted not to reschedule the 2020 AQHA Convention, but to instead cancel the event until the 2021 AQHA Convention, which is scheduled for February 25 to March 1 in San Antonio.

Read more details about the cancellation of the 2020 AQHA Convention.

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