Young Horse Development Scholarship Winners

Young Horse Development Scholarship Winners

Four AQHYA members earned a total of $5,000 in scholarships through the 2019 AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program.

horse in field

text size

Since January, 58 American Quarter Horse Youth Association members have recorded their progress training a yearling bred by an American Quarter Horse Association Ranching Heritage Breeder. Recently, four AQHYA members were named scholarship winners for the 2019 AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program.

With a tie for first place, earning a $1,750 scholarship and an Awards Recognition Concepts belt buckle each was Makenna Pidgeon of New London, Iowa, and Ella Rice of Schofield, Wisconsin.

Makenna Pidgeon and Poco Doc Hank. 

Pidgeon’s Ranching Heritage-bred horse is Poco Doc Hank, a 2018 buckskin mare by Docs Dry Hankie and out of Lonsum Poco Seeker by Poco Red Dun King. The filly was bred by Scott West/West Brothers Inc. of Lusk, Wyoming.

Rice’s Ranching Heritage-bred horse is Dawsons Drifter, a 2018 dun gelding by Zans Tyree Drifter and out of Tyrees Dawson Two by Watch Tyree Two. The gelding was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Reed Kettlewell of the Sunup Ranch out of Brainerd, Minnesota.

Third place goes to Caitlyn Dionne of Longville, Louisiana. She receives $1,000 and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate. Dionne worked with DDS Lasting Catalyst, a 2018 bay roan filly by Spoonful Of Sweets and out of DDS Last Catalyst by Right This Minnick. DDS Lasting Catalyst was bred by M-Heart Corp. out of Vinton, Louisiana.

Callie Jo Ferrell of Burton, Texas, was fourth with her gelding, LC MR Year 50. The 2018 sorrel gelding by My Hotrods Afiring and out of LC Miss Roan Trinity by LC On The Trinity. The gelding was bred by Perry Corder/LC Ranch of Crockett, Texas. Ferrell receives $500 and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

Ella Rice and Dawson's Drifter.

The Young Horse Development Program was created in 2011 to give AQHYA members an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of horsemanship. The horses used in the program are bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, which are working cattle ranches with a remuda of at least five AQHA-registered mares that produce ranch horses. The participating Ranching Heritage Breeders donate weanlings for the program participants to evaluate, raise and train. Young Horse Development participants get to keep their horses.

“The Young Horse Development Program was created to help youth gain hands-on experience in raising and training horses,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines. “The program gives youth a mentor to learn from and showcase their hard work and dedication to their project. This will, in turn, give participants a skill set that will set them apart when applying for scholarships, college and jobs.”

The Young Horse Development Program participants raise their weanlings-turned-yearlings and document their monthly progress; participate in monthly webinars; complete monthly management assignments; track goals, such as competing in AQHA, 4-H, FFA or local horse shows; engage in mentoring sessions with local AQHA Professional Horsemen; and compile a video of themselves with their horse completing an in-hand trail pattern. Following project completion, a select number of scholarships and prizes are awarded.

The deadline to apply for the 2021 AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development program is in August 2020.

To learn more about the program, visit

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