Horse Showing, Novice Championship-Style

Whether you live in the East or the West, the AQHA Novice Championship shows are fast approaching.

AQHA is excited to welcome more than 4,000 entries to the inaugural AQHA Novice Championships, October 4-7, 2012. The SmartPak AQHA West Novice Championship Show will be held in Las Vegas, while the Nutrena AQHA East Novice Championship Show will be held in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. And The American Quarter Horse Journal will be on site to cover all of the best moments of each show!

Competitors qualified nationally or through affiliate qualifying methods. Methods of affiliate qualifying varied by affiliate, and the AQHA Affiliate Council helped to coordinate with the state and provincial affiliates to determine the method of affiliate qualifying.

Two national invitation opportunities also existed for competitors. Those include a top-10 placing at an AQHA Regional Championship show in a Novice class or showing at 20 AQHA shows throughout the year. For this latter option, competitors may show around the nation – there is no regional preference or requirement.

The national qualifying period for this year’s Novice Championships was May 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012. Competitors’ invitations were not specific to the event in which they qualified; competitors were able to enter all classes at the Novice Championships for which they are Novice eligible.

If your goal is to make it to one of next year’s Novice championship shows, download AQHA’s Beginner’s Guide to Showing report! This robust report is full of tips to help you get started in the AQHA show pen.

Another plus to the Novice Championships equation is that there is no restriction on which show an exhibitor may attend. If a competitor residing in the East wishes to attend the Smar

tPak West Novice Championship, he or she may do so. The same goes for competitors residing in the West who would like to compete at the Nutrena East Novice Championship.

Want to take a look at the Novice Championships patterns? You can find the showmanship, horsemanship, hunt seat equitation, western riding, trail and reining patterns at

Not only will competitors be vying for the title of the very first Novice champion, but AQHA is also offering up a herd of other awards. At the show, awards will be given for all-around, high-point, halter Champion of Champions and high-point Rookie.

A new award, the AQHA Road Warrior trophy, will be handed out, as well. This award will go to the high-point Novice youth and Novice amateur who competed in either the Scottsdale Classic in Arizona and then the SmartPak West Novice Championship, or the Nutrena East Novice Championship and then the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Ohio.

The Journal’s Beginner’s Guide to Showing report is packed with valuable information to help you gear up for your first horse show, find Quarter Horse trainers and more.

In addition, AQHA Professional Horsemen will teach free Ride the Rail and Ridethe Pattern clinics. To view a schedule of clinics, visit

Think the inaugural Novice Championship shows sound like a blast? If you’d like to qualify for the 2013 Novice Championships, the qualifying period kicked off on May 1, 2012, and it will wrap up on June 30, 2013. Be sure to check the 2013 qualifying methods at, as some methods varied from 2012 to 2013.

To learn more about AQHA’s first Novice championship shows, check out Straight Talk, a blog brought to you by AQHA Executive Director of Shows Patti Carter-Pratt.