Impact on the Industry

The American Quarter Horse Foundation and Equine Research

During the 1960 American Quarter Horse Association Convention in Amarillo, Texas, a presentation was made to the members that described several diseases that were a serious threat to the horse industry. The tone of the message expressed a grave need to fund research – research that would benefit all horses.

And so it began; AQHA’s Equine Research Committee was formed and a $20,000 budget was established. That first year, Texas A&M University was given the lion’s share of a $10,000 grant to study equine parasites, which ultimately lead to today’s medications that control parasites in horses.

“The research funds AQHA has provided to investigators over the past 40 years have been either partially or, in some cases, fully responsible for notable discoveries that have significantly improved the health and welfare of all horses,” says Dr. Nat Messer, Consultant and retired Associate Professor of Equine Medicine and Surgery with University of Missouri at Columbia.

Since 1960, and thanks in large part to its generous members, AQHA and the Foundation have awarded more than $9 million in research grants to various colleges and universities.

Among the notable discoveries or advancements achieved through AQHA research funding are:

  • Immunizations of horses
  • Advancements in controlling and treating laminitis
  • Validated the diagnosis of equine infectious anemia (EIA)
  • Studies of musculoskeletal injuries in performance and racehorses
  • The effects of strenuous exercise on navicular bones of young horses
  • Anatomical and functional consequences of tail alterations
  • Discovery of the cause of hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), development of a specific DNA test for HYPP and recommendations for management of horses afflicted with HYPP
  • The role of progesterone in equine pregnancy
  • Established the feasibility of using DNA markers for routine parentage verification
  • Discovery of the cause of hereditary regional dermal asthenia (HERDA), also known as hyperelastosis cutis (HC), and development of a DNA test for HERDA
  • Development of a model to study uterine infections
  • Pulmonary and respirator studies
  • Discovery of the cause of polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) and glycogen branching storage deficiency (GBED), development of a diet to manage tying up and creation of a DNA test for both GBED and PSSM

Research Partners
The Equine Research Coordination Group (ERCG) is a team of researchers and organizations that support equine research by promoting the discovery and sharing of new knowledge, enhancing awareness of the need for targeted research, educating the public, expanding fundraising opportunities and facilitating cooperation among funding agencies.

The American Quarter Horse Foundation, American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation, Morris Animal Foundation and The Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation have provided a searchable database of currently funded equine research projects. These organizations raise private funds to be directed toward the best and most relevant research projects aimed at enhancing the safety, health and soundness of horses of various breeds. Visit www.EquineResearch.net for more information.

green and white AAEP logo   orange and white circle logo with a horse  Morris Animal Foundation logo

For more information on obtaining the results of any AQHA-funded research, please contact Laura Owens at (806) 378-5034 or lowens@aqha.org.