AQHA Youth Racing Experience

Youth Racing Experiences allow AQHYA members the opportunity to participate in the fast-paced world of American Quarter Horse racing from behind the starting gate to the finish line.

Youth Racing Experience participants

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The AQHA Youth Racing Experience is held in conjunction with the AQHA  Challenge Championships each year. The 2024 AQHA Youth Racing Experience will be held at The Downs Racetrack & Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This national event allows participants to build on the knowledge gained during a regional racing experience by working one-on-one with an experienced trainer at the three-day Challenge Championship event.

Youth must be 16 years old at the time of the national event to apply.  Racing affiliates may recommend one youth from their regional racing experience by submitting the participant's name and application to AQHA. Youth may also apply directly by submitting their application to AQHA by the deadline. Applicants must also complete the online Racing Skillathon Contest, and their results will count toward their cumulative total in the program.  Six participants will be chosen to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bank of America Challenge Championships.  All applicants must be members of AQHYA.  For details, see the application below.

Regional Racing Experiences

America's fastest athletes are featured in weekend events at racetracks around the country during Regional Racing Experiences for youth affiliate members.

The Regional Racing Experiences are typically a one- to two-day event structured to introduce participants to the sport of American Quarter Horse racing. Participants get a behind-the-scenes look into the racing industry and meet the people who help the show go on everyday. AQHA state and provincial racing affiliates host these experiences so youth don't have to venture too far from home. Contact your AQHA Racing Affiliate to inquire about their next event.

Get involved in a racing experience in your area to learn more about
test barn • jock's room • tote • mutuels • money room • track vet • chartwriters
clerk of scales • announcer • trainers • exercise riders • racing equipment
rules of racing • starting gate • photo finish • video production • paddock judge identifier • stewards • track photographer • owners • outriders • training techniques  

To support the role racing affiliates hold with regional racing experiences, AQHA provides support to each regional experience in the form of educational materials, sample itineraries, scoring rubrics, and additional resources as needed or requested.  

Racing Skillathon Contest

Racing enthusiasts are challenged to learn about Quarter Horse Racing and test their knowledge in the online Racing Skillathon Contest. The contest is free and open to anyone in the world to take online; AQHA membership is not required and there are no age restrictions. Participants will study the resources listed below and then will take an online test that will be open for a limited time each year. Questions are multiple choice, true/false, and short essay. Contest certificates will be provided.

Youth applying for the AQHA Youth Racing Experience are required to complete the Racing Skillathon Contest, and their results will count toward their selection and cumulative total in the program. 

Please find skillathon study resources here and here

For more information please contact Youth Department at 806-378-4330.