Animal Welfare Violations

The AQHA Executive Committee approves three recommendations from the AQHA Animal Welfare Grievance Committee.

The American Quarter Horse Association

AQHA's utmost concern is for the health and well-being of the American Quarter Horse.

The American Quarter Horse Association Animal Welfare Grievance Committee periodically meets to discuss animal welfare and unsportsmanlike conduct cases. The committee’s recommendations regarding the violations are then sent to the AQHA Executive Committee for its review and decision. The Animal Welfare Grievance Committee is a subcommittee of the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission, which was established by the AQHA Executive Committee four years ago.

Three individuals were in violation of AQHA Rule VIO204.3 and received a warning card from an AQHA steward at the 2015 All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio. AQHA Rule VIO204.3 prohibits tying a horse’s head up (above withers), back or around in a stall or anywhere at an AQHA event in a manner as to cause undue discomfort or distress. The following individuals received a $5,000 fine and two years’ probation:

  • Matt Baker of Reddick, Florida
  • Andrew Frank of Monrovia, Indiana
  • Anthony Montes of Aubrey, Texas

Animal Welfare
The health and well-being of the American Quarter Horse is AQHA’s utmost concern. AQHA has very specific rules regarding inhumane treatment of animals. Part of AQHA’s mission statement says that the “American Quarter Horse shall be treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times.”

“AQHA’s goal is to educate both members and non-members on the issue of animal welfare,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines. “It is our responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our horse – the American Quarter Horse.”

AQHA welfare efforts also include the utilization of AQHA stewards. At AQHA-approved events, AQHA stewards answer exhibitor questions about rules; identify and document inhumane treatment; issue violation cards (white, yellow and red), which are reviewed by the Animal Welfare Grievance Committee; evaluate any unsafe conditions regarding the show grounds; and guide others on acceptable training practices and equipment. The stewards are trained on AQHA’s rulebook, the stewards’ training manual and their ability to handle difficult situations professionally. Most importantly, stewards help protect the breed, advance animal welfare and help ensure the integrity of the competition. AQHA stewards are assigned to specific regions. View a list of the AQHA stewards by region.  

For more information on animal welfare, visit  

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