The AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge highlights the versatility, soundness and willing attitude of American Quarter Horses born and raised on a ranch. First, the goal of the Ranching Heritage Breeders program is to recognize AQHA’s ranching members who have steadfastly continued to maintain the ranching tradition by raising American Quarter Horses for use working cattle. Second, through a series of ranch horse competitions, the Ranching Heritage Challenge is intended to increase the demand for ranch horses by providing an opportunity for ranches and horse owners to compete in a unique ranch horse competition with a significant purse.
Ranching Heritage Challenges are open to any horse bred by an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder. Anyone who owns an eligible horse can compete in one of the multiple age and skill level divisions offered for both horse and rider. Classes include working ranch horse, ranch riding, team roping and barrel racing.
2019 Original Ranching Heritage Challenge Events
- January 17 & 19 – Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas
- June 22-23 - Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Finals, Guthrie, Oklahoma
- July 26-28 - SDQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Rapid City, South Dakota | Barrel Racing and Team Roping offered
- August 28-30 - Colorado State Fair, Pueblo, Colorado | Barrel Racing and Team Roping will be offered
- September 13-15 - Tri-State Fair, Amarillo, Texas | Barrel Racing and Team Roping will be offered
- October 13 - NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, Fort Worth, Texas
- October 16 – Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE), Billings, Montana | Entry Deadline October 1 Barrel Racing will be offered
2019 Ranching Heritage Challenge Events - These are qualifying events for the 2020 RHC Finals
- April 7 - Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team RCH, Lubbock, Texas | Entry Deadline March 25
- April 13 - RCR Spring Works RHC, Camp Verde, Arizona | Entry Deadline April 1
- May 18-19 - Central Coast Ranch Horse Classic, Carmel Valley, California | Entry Deadline May 4
- May 18-19 - Osage Gathering RHC, Pawhuska, Oklahoma
- October 26-27 - WSVRHA Championship, Las Vegas, Nevada | Entry Deadline October 14
2018 Ranching Heritage Challenge Events
- January 11 & 13 – Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas
- May 26 - SDQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, Rapid City, South Dakota | Barrel Racing and Team Roping offered
- June 17 - Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Finals, Guthrie, Oklahoma
- August 29-30 - Colorado State Fair, Pueblo, Colorado | Barrel Racing and Team Roping will be offered
- September 16 - Tri-State Fair, Amarillo, Texas | Barrel Racing and Team Roping will be offered
- October 14 (tentatively)– NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, Fort Worth, Texas
- October 17 – Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE), Billings, Montana | Barrel Racing will be offered
Ranching Heritage Breeder Qualifications
Foals bred by Ranching Heritage Breeders will be eligible for nomination to the Ranching Heritage Challenge. The Ranching Heritage Challenge is exclusively for foals bred and nominated by Ranching Heritage Breeders that remain eligible via payments by their owners.
Read more about Ranching Heritage Breeders qualifications.
Horse eligibility for the Ranching Heritage Challenge
All foals bred by a Ranching Heritage Breeder will be eligible to be nominated into the Ranching Heritage Challenge. Ranches have the opportunity to nominate weanlings to the program for only $10 before December 31 of the horse's weanling year. Nominations can be submitted along with the foal’s registration papers. Because much of the benefit of the program is adding value to young ranch horses, ranches are encouraged to ensure the horse is enrolled and ownership is transferred at the time of sale. As long as the foal is eligible for the program, anyone can enroll and sustain the payments for the horse in the Ranching Heritage Challenge.
Ranching Heritage Challenge enrollments began with the 2011 foal crop and the payment schedule applies to 2011 and subsequent foal crops.
- Weanling - $10
- Yearling - $50
- 2-year-olds - $100
- 3-year-olds - $150
All Ranching Heritage-bred horses born in and before 2010 are automatically enrolled and eligible to compete in Challenge events on an entry-fee basis.
Call AQHA to determine if your horse was bred by a Ranching Heritage Breeder.