Ranch Rule Changes

Ranch Rule Changes

View the recommendations from the AQHA Ranching Committee that were recently approved by the AQHA Executive Committee.

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The AQHA Executive Committee recently reviewed and approved rule changes from the AQHA Ranching Committee, which were approved by the AQHA membership and the Board of Directors at the 2022 AQHA Convention.

All committee recommendations were reviewed for feasibility, based on a variety of criteria, including but not limited to available resources, budget constraints and necessary computer programming. Careful consideration, discussion and debate were devoted to each item. Read the full standing committee reports.

All rules are effective January 1, 2023, unless noted otherwise.

The highlights of the approved ranching committee recommendations are listed below.

AQHA Rule Changes

  • Amend SHW557.6 to read: In each class, specific maneuvers will be designated by the judge to be tiebreakers. Ties through 15th place should be broken in accordance to SHW124. Ties beyond 15th place can remain tied, and VRH All-Around credits will be split evenly.*

  • Amend ranch riding penalties as follows:

    SHW419.1 and SHW560.3 One (1) point penalty
    Wrong lead or out of lead for two (2) strides or less.

           SHW419.2 and SHW560.3 Three (3) point penalties
           Wrong lead or out of lead for more than two (2) strides.
           Trotting for more than three (3) strides in lope departures or exiting a rollback into a lope from a stop or walk.

  • Amend ranch trail penalties as follows:
    SHW422.3 and SHW561.11 One (1) point penalty
    Wrong lead or out of lead for two (2) strides or less.

           SHW422.3 and SHW561.11 Three (3) point penalties
           Wrong lead or out of lead for more than two (2) strides.
           Trotting for more than three (3) strides in lope departures or exiting a rollback into a lope from a stop or walk.
           Knocking down or over, or severely disturbing an obstacle.
           Stepping out of or falling off an obstacle with one foot.
           Missing or evading part of log/obstacle that is part of a series of an obstacle with one foot.


           SHW522.4 and SHW561.11 – Five (5) point penalties
           Stepping out of or falling off an obstacle with more than one foot.
           Missing or evading part of a log/obstacle that is part of a series of an obstacle with more than one foot.

           Strike  Knocking over an obstacle.

  • Add breakaway roping and steer stopping to Ranching Heritage Challenge events in open, cowboy, amateur and youth divisions as optional classes and to offer as non-qualifying classes at the 2023 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Finals.*

The AQHA Executive Committee also approved the formation of a task force to consider offering an AQHA International Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year award and outline award criteria.  

View more on AQHA’s rules and regulations

The full standing committee reports are available at www.aqha.com/committee-reports.

*Pending further review regarding feasibility of recommendation, including but not limited to available resources, budget constraints and necessary computer programming.

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