Young Horse Development Program: 5 Reasons It’s Amazing

Young Horse Development Program: 5 Reasons It’s Amazing

AQHYA members can earn scholarships while bolstering their horsemanship skills with American Quarter Horse weanlings.

Samantha Pratt and RWS Scarlets Cutter

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The AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program showcases the stock being bred and raised by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders by matching donated weanlings with AQHYA members. Youth in this program are engaged in the horse industry at a fundamental level that is both fun and educational.

Encouraged by good fun and key education in the horse industry, youth learn to raise and train their weanlings. Here are five of the many reasons this program is amazing:

  1. Scholarships are awarded to first through fourth place. In total, $5,000 is awarded, with $2,000 of that going to first place.
  2. Participants get to network with the best of the best. From connecting with AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders to working closely with AQHA Professional Horsemen, program participants are surrounded by a wealth of equine knowledge in all directions. 
  3. Participants may receive a donated American Quarter Horse weanling. Many youth participate in the Young Horse Development Program with a donated weanling, while others purchase a weanling from a Ranching Heritage Breeder. 
  4. The horse isn’t the only one that’s developed. As each weanling is looking to their new owner for guidance, the program charges participants to step up to the plate and hone their horsemanship skills. Training a new weanling develops leadership skills, fosters confidence and instills bravery for challenges in and out of the barn. 
  5. A community of young horse people is created. Participants are surrounded by the support of their peers every step of the way. Communication and collaboration is encouraged throughout the whole process: successes are celebrated and hurdles are overcome together, as participants are able to offer support and perspective for each other. 

To learn more about the Young Horse Development Program, visit