Young Horse Development Program

Learn more about the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program for AQHYA members.
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The AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program (YHD) showcases the stock being bred and raised by AQHA Ranching Heritage members by matching donated weanlings with AQHYA members. Youth in this program are engaged in the horse industry at a fundamental level that is both fun and educational.

Participating Ranching Heritage breeders donate young horses for Young Horse Development participants to raise and train. Young horsemen and women learn responsibility and goal-setting, important components of horse ownership - and life skills that can follow them for years to come. Encouraged by good fun, as well as key education in the horse industry, youth learn to raise and train their weanlings.


About the Young Horse Development Program

Developing Horsemanship Skills

Through the Young Horse Development program, AQHYA members 12 years and older receive a hands-on horse training opportunity focusing on the fundamentals of horsemanship. The program is not only an excellent educational experience, it is also a lot of fun! Prizes and scholarships are at stake. Participants can showcase the skills and knowledge they have acquired for chances to win scholarships and awards.

Prioritizing Equine Wellness

Throughout the program, participants further their knowledge in horse health by prioritizing equine wellness.

Participants are encouraged to help ensure their horse‚Äôs health by working closely with a veterinarian and completing the Zoetis Good Start Equine Wellness Certificate. The certificate outlines key aspects of horse health care to help build a solid foundation of equine wellness for both horses and youth members. The Good Start certificate records veterinary wellness exam details, including core and risk-based vaccinations, to help the weanlings excel in both health and performance.


Program Details and Deadlines

The priority application deadline for the 2020 program is August 15, 2019, and the late application deadline is October 1, 2019. Apply by the priority deadline for the best chance of admission into the program and the most likely match with a horse closest to your home. Participants may be selected and matched with horses any time after August 15.

To apply, complete the Young Horse Development Project application form and waiver. 

Youth can participate in the Young Horse Development Program with a donated foal or purchasing a Ranching Heritage Challenge-enrolled foal from a Ranching Heritage Breeder. 


2018 Scholarship Winners

  1. Lydia Loken of Gunnison, CO, with Jessies Dry Hanke, a 2017 buckskin colt by Docs Dry Hankie and out of Jessies Vibrant by Pal Jessies Okie, bred by Scott West/West Brothers Inc of Arvada, CO - $2,000 and an Awards Recognition Concepts belt buckle.

  2. Lauren Weaber of Eaton, CO, with Justa Bita Ivy, a 2017 sorrel mare by Rickys Hickory and out of Justa Bita Blue by Lotta Advantage, bred by Kyle and Pam Simianer/Broken Box Quarter Horses of Osage, WY - $1,500 and a pair of Justin boots.

  3. Sarah Foley of Lena, IL, with Shiny Music, a 2017 dun colt by Shinycolonelfreckls and out of Music Meow by Lonsum Leo King, bred by Leroy and Shirley Wetz/Wetz Stirrup Ranches of Vale, SD - $1,000 and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

  4. Brynn Kelly of Kellyville, OK, with Peptos Seven Five, a chestnut mare by Sweet Peptos Promise and by WSR Duals Dry Jewel by Dual Peppy, bred by The Daube Company of Ardmore, OK - $500 and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

In 2018, 48 youth participated in the Young Horse Development Program. The program was highly competitive and the excellence achieved by participants was impressive. In addition to recognizing the four scholarship winners, AQHYA would like to acknowledge youth placing fifth thru tenth in the program. These individuals will be awarded a rosette from AQHYA.

5. Caitlyn Bass of Whiteville, NC, with Shine Like Ya Dun It, bred by Jack and Tina Clark/Clark Farms

5. Gage Choate of Marathon, TX, with SW MS Sun Cat, bred by Rob Waver and Mike Steward

6. Marion Grace Ryan of Beaverton, OR, with KT Double Pecan, bred by KT Ranch

7. Sarah Braul of Airdire, AB Canada, with Canam Twotimin Drift, bred by Jim and Joni Hunt/Open Box Rafter Ranch

8. Claire Wasniewski of Idaho Falls, ID, with Weaver Boogerster, bred by Stan Weaver/Weaver Quarter Horses

9. Emilee Hinrichsen of Elm Creek, NE, with Box O Heavens Lady, bred by Box O Quarter Horses

10. Cara Kent of Lanse, MI, with Royalty on Pitch, bred by Carrie Regehr Weller/Weller Ranch


2019 Program Participants

The following AQHYA members are participating in the program for 2019:


  • Addison Paulsen of Hutto, TX

  • Angelina Quintero of Dallesport, WA

  • Ann Pugh of Randall, MN
  • Anna Emch of Bucyrus, KS

  • Annika Mathias of Maple Plain, MN

  • Ashley Polson of Haslet, TX

  • Ashlyn Griffin of South Fork, CO

  • Bryana Tannehill of Eaton, CO

  • Bryce Smith of Marengo, OH

  • Caitlyn Dionne of Longville, LA

  • Callie Goins of Gatesville, TX

  • Callie Jo Ferrell of Burton, TX

  • Cash Campbell Lubbock, TX

  • Cheyenne Holm of Salt Lake City, UT

  • Chloe Childress of Buffalo, KY

  • Christian Lueck of Gilbert, AZ

  • Christopher Johnson of Montrose, CO

  • Claire Justus of Parkman, WY

  • Claire Lee of McAllen, TX

  • Cordelia Wade of Supulpa, OK

  • Courtney Stanek of Lino Lakes, MN

  • Elizabeth Holderman of San Martin, CA

  • Ella Rice of Schofield, WI
  • Emma Fehlen of Dresser, WI

  • Erica Yozie of Smock, PA

  • Ethan Young of Whitesboro, TX

  • Grace Veihl of Bark River, MI

  • Hailey Kidwell of Logan, OH

  • Haley Stundon of Black Hawk, CO

  • Hunter Powell of Swainsboro, GA


  • Jacalyn Myers of Bartonville, TX

  • Jaycee Hegg of Randall, MN

  • Jodi Banks of Muscotah, KS

  • Johnathan Hite of Osceola, WI

  • Jordan Roberts of Kemmerer, WY

  • Kalli Reed of Rosston, TX

  • Kelli Nelson of Pendleton, OR

  • Kira Lee of Mondovi, WI

  • Lauren Ducharme of Glendale, AZ

  • Makayla Roberts of Tyler, TX

  • Makenna Pidgeon of New London, IA

  • McKenzie Englehaupt of Alliance, NE

  • Melanie Gregory of Whitesboro, TX

  • Merritt  Roach of Butler, MO

  • Quinten Fletcher of Walden, CO

  • Riley Smith of Crowell, TX

  • Roper Smith of Crowell, TX

  • Sage Mizer of Mineola, TX

  • Sarah Kloster of Lake Crystal, MN

  • Sequoyah Branham of Jayton, TX

  • Sierra Steffen of Sequim, WA

  • Skylee Gibson of Myrtle Creek, OR

  • Sydney Holly of Rhinelander, WI

  • Taylor Rheaume of Marlette, MI

  • Taylor McCreedy of Atlantic, IA

  • Tess Palen of Glendo, WY

  • Treyton Knox of Highmore, SD

  • Tucker Roach of Butler, MO

  • Waylan Fletcher of Walden, CO