Apply for the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program

Apply for the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program

AQHYA members can earn scholarships by raising a weanling from an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder; the late deadline to apply is October 1.

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American Quarter Horse Youth Association members have the opportunity to participate in hands-on horse training as they complete a record book and submit assignments that will teach the fundamentals of horsemanship. Then they can showcase their learned skills and knowledge and earn scholarships and prizes through the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program proudly sponsored by SmartPak and John Deere.

Applications received by the priority deadline, August 15, will have the best chance of admission into the program and match with a horse closest to the applicant’s home. However, applications will still be accepted through October 1.

Accepted AQHYA members receive a donated weanling from an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder. Learn more about how to donate a weanling to the program here. Youth who are not selected to receive a donated foal but are still accepted into the program will be able to purchase a weanling from a Ranching Heritage Breeder and participate in the program. Throughout the program, AQHYA members work with and train their yearlings, complete assignments and exhibit the yearlings at AQHA-approved and local shows. The top project participants have the chance to be recognized and rewarded with scholarships.

Generous Ranching Heritage Breeders are already selecting weanlings to donate to this year’s program. To receive one of these donated foals, free of charge, AQHYA members should submit their online application no later than October 1.

The weanlings donated by Ranching Heritage Breeders will be announced and matched between September and November.

To learn more about program requirements and guidelines, please view the 2023 Young Horse Development Program Record Book. Interested applicants are encouraged to review the Frequently Asked Questions resource.

The 2024 Young Horse Development Program participants will be vying for $5,000 in scholarships and prizes. 

• 1st place: $2,000 scholarship and a custom Montana Silversmiths belt buckle 
• 2nd place: $1,500 scholarship and a Justin boot certificate
• 3rd place: $1,000 scholarship and a $100 Wrangler product gift certificate 
• 4th place: $500 scholarship and a $100 Wrangler product gift certificate

To learn more about the Young Horse Development Program, visit .

About the Sponsors

John Deere is a leader in manufacturing, distributing and financing a full line of agricultural, consumer, construction and commercial equipment. Since it was founded in 1837, the company has maintained a heritage of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation. And John Deere is proud to support the American Quarter Horse Association. Members can qualify to receive discounts of up to 28% on select John Deere equipment including: lawn and garden tractors, compact utility tractors, Gator utility vehicles, commercial mowing equipment and much more

For details on the exclusive equine member discounts on John Deere equipment, call 866-678-4288 or visit

At SmartPak, we believe in Healthy Horses & Happy Riders. That's why we have everything you need, from our convenient SmartPaks feeding system, to thoughtfully designed supplements and new SmartTherapy products for your horse. Whatever you need, we've got you and your horse covered. To learn more, check us out at Have a great ride!  


AQHA news and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA on Twitter and visit