AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge

Celebrate the versatility of the American Quarter Horse at the next AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge.

If you’ve ever ridden a ranch-bred American Quarter Horse, chances are good that you are already familiar with the versatility and work ethic of the ranch-type Quarter Horse. There’s a select group of breeders -- the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders -- that are devoted to breeding, raising and maintaining these horses to preserve the tradition of the ranch-type American Quarter Horse.

To earn the right to be dubbed an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder, ranches must meet certain criteria, such as owning and producing remudas that consist of American Quarter Horses and earning at least an AQHA 10-year breeder award. As Ranching Heritage Breeder members, ranches are entitled to use special logos on their advertising and registration certificates and to enter their horses in exclusive competitions and sales. AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges are the quintessential venues for putting horses raised by Ranching Heritage Breeders to the test. In January 2012, the first Ranching Heritage Challenge debuted in Fort Worth, Texas, in conjunction with the Fort Worth Stock Show. Now, on August 30, the second AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge will take place at the Kjerstad Event Center in Rapid City, South Dakota. Exhibitors will compete for their share of $15,000 in added purse money. The open and non-pro will split $10,000 of the purse, and an extra $3,500 will be added to the limited open class, courtesy of Open Box Rafter Ranch. In addition, the Ranching Heritage Challenge in Rapid City will feature a cowboy class for family members and full time employees of Ranching Heritage Breeders, as well as a Novice amateur class for participants who are just getting started in ranch horse competition. Each of the new classes will have $1,000 added to the purse. The deadline to enter is August 15. Any 4-year-old horse that was bred by an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder can compete in the open or limited open divisions, while any 5-year-old or older horse that was bred by a Ranching Heritage Breeder can compete in the non-pro, amateur or Novice amateur classes. Visit AQHA's website for more information on the AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge in Rapid City or click here for full rules and information.

The late Bill Van Norman grew up learning vaquero training traditions from some of the best cowboys in the industry, and he was always eager to share that knowledge with others. Now, in AQHA's Vaquero Horse Training Tips report, Bill Van Norman shares his knowledge on how to build a solid training foundation and achieve a finished bridle horse. Don't miss it! Download today.

Forming a Bridge The AQHA Ranching Heritage program celebrates ranches’ efforts through three complementary initiatives:

With the Young Horse Development Project, Ranching Heritage Breeders have the opportunity to form a bridge between themselves and youth through education and outreach. The program also showcases the stock being bred and raised by the participating Ranching Heritage members. Here’s how the Young Horse Development Project works:

  • Ranching Heritage Breeders can make weanlings eligible for youth to apply to receive for free or at a nominal fee.
  • The AQHYA members then apply through AQHA to become recipients of foals.
  • If chosen, the youth are able to take the weanlings home and train them for participation in one of the AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge events, thereby adding value to the ranches’ foals.

This new program provides an opportunity for youth to become engaged in the horse industry, participate in hands-on horse training, implement the fundamentals of horsemanship and showcase their skills and knowledge. Even better, youth also have the opportunity to earn scholarships and prizes.