Sun Circuit 2019 to Add Championship Tournament

The Arizona Quarter Horse Association introduces a bi-annual poll to rank top 64 competitors in showmanship, horsemanship and hunt seat equitation.

From the Arizona Quarter Horse Association

(Credit: Kris Spinning)

The Arizona Quarter Horse Association unveiled a championship competition to be introduced to the 2019 Sun Circuit in Scottsdale, Arizona. The National Championship Tournament will be offered in showmanship, horsemanship and hunt seat equitation in the Select, amateur and youth divisions.

How It Works

Distinguished industry professionals will be polled twice annually to rank the exhibitors in each division from 1-25 with 64 names listed compiled from results submitted by participating Top 20 AQHA and Color breed horse shows. Exhibitors 26-64 will be listed in alphabetical order with no ranking. The Ranking Committee will be judges and trainers strategically selected to represent all areas of the lower 48 states. The Ranking Committee will remain anonymous and will not be informed whothe other committee members are. 

First poll to be announced the thirdSaturday of July each year. Results from all participating shows, that have occurred at this time will be provided to the  Ranking Committee to evaluate prior to making their rankings. Participating shows will  receive a National Championship logo to display to acknowledge that they will be submitting their circuit standings.  Individuals who do not appear on the summer ranking who feel they should be considered may submit their current year show results and a letter of 100 words or less by email to the respective email of the event they wish to be considered for. Emails must be submitted between Nov. 15th and Dec. 1st of the current year for consideration by the Ranking Committee. 

Email address for each event are:

Second poll to be released the second Saturday of  Dec. each year naming 64 exhibitors in each division with the top 25 ranked,  the rest listed in alphabetical order. Results from Top 20 participating shows, NSBA World show, AQHA World shows and Color breed  World shows that have occurred at this time will be provided to the Ranking Committee to evaluate prior to making their rankings This is not a horse and exhibitor  poll it is an  exhibitor ranking. The 64 individuals in each respective division to be recognized and eligible  to compete at Sun Circuit for the National Championship in each respective event. The rankings  will be released to all horse media for  promotion and recognition of the outstanding achievements of these exhibitors.

Any of the 64 exhibitors who attend will show to the first set of judges as a part of the regular draw at Sun Circuit,  eligible paints and colored horses will run in a separate draw immediately following the AQHA class.  AQHA, APHA and NSBA ownership rules must be followed to exhibit in the classes. After the class the high scoring 16 will be recognized and promoted via media. Special recognition,  Sensational 16 award. It is important to note that all exhibitors are welcome to compete in the respective classes at Sun Circuit whether they are on the list of 64 eligible exhibitors for the National Championship tournament or not. L2 classes are held within each of these classes to provide a welcoming environment for all exhibitors. 

The Sensational 16 as well as all other  exhibitors  will show to the second set of Judges as a part of the regular draw at Sun Circuit. After the class the high scoring Exceptional 8 will be recognized and promoted via media. Special recognition,   Exceptional 8 award.

The Exceptional 8 as well as all other  participants  will show to the third set of Judges as a part of the regular draw at Sun Circuit. After the class the high scoring Final Four  will be recognized and promoted via media. Special recognition, Final Four award.

The Final Four will then compete for the National Championship in a head to head competition with the highest ranked remaining exhibitor  competing against the lowest ranked  remaining exhibitor and the second highest ranked remaining exhibitor against the third highest ranked remaining exhibitor. Then the winner of the two battles will come back to compete against each other to be named National Champion.

Why These Just Three Classes?

The exhibitor has a tremendous impact on the quality of the run. Showmanship, horsemanship and hunt seat equitation are extremely exhibitor dependent.

Do you have news to share from your AQHA affiliate? Send it to Tara Matsler at tmatsler@aqha.org.