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, ranch cutting, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and steer stopping.
Refer to the 2023 AQHA Rulebook for class rules.
2024 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Events
Compete in a class at one Challenge in order to qualify for the 2025 RHC Finals
- January 11 - February 3, 2024 - Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas
- January 20-25, 2024 - Black Hills Winter Stock Show, Rapid City, South Dakota
- Entry deadline January 15,2024
- February 08-11, 2024 - SCQHA Cattle Classic RHC, Camden, South Carolina
- February 03, 2024 - AZVRHA Winter Roundup, Scottsdale, Arizona
- Entry deadline January 26, 2024
- May 18-19, 2024 - Central Coast Ranch Horse Classic RHC, Carmel Valley, California
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 fully enrolled into the challenge program.
Read more about Ranching Heritage Breeders qualifications
Horse Eligibility for the Ranching Heritage Challenge
Foals bred by a Ranching Heritage Breeder and their associates will be eligible to be nominated into the Ranching Heritage Challenge. Ranches have the opportunity to nominate weanlings into the program for each year they meet the programs criteria. 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 make the nomination 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
- Full enrollment includes all fees - $310
Please keep in mind, all payments must be made in order for the horse to be considered fully enrolled. Payments can be made at any time, just be sure your horse is fully enrolled prior to entering its first AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge.
All Ranching Heritage-bred horses born in and before 2010 are automatically enrolled (no enrollment payments due) and eligible to compete in Challenge events on an entry-fee basis.
Review the list of AQHA's Ranching Heritage Breeders to determine if your horse was bred by one! Ranching Heritage Breeder.