AQHA partners with associations, national or international in scope, which predominately feature American Quarter Horses in their competitions. The following associations have fair rules and judging procedures that are widely recognized and accepted throughout the world and, where applicable, are substantially similar to AQHA's rules and regulations. Many of these associations have the ability to provide AQHA with points and/or money earnings on American Quarter Horses competing in their events.
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.
Founded in 2008, the American Roan Horse Association’s mission is to record and preserve the pedigrees of roan horses. Provide beneficial services for members that will enhance and encourage ARHA ownership and participation. ARHA develops programs and incentives beneficial to roan horse owners, while generating growth of the ARHA membership and registration via marketing, promotion, advertising, and publicity of roan horses. ARHA ensures the welfare of roan horses so they are treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion, at all times.
Established in 1946, the National Cutting Horse Association promotes and celebrates the cutting horse, whose origin traces to American ranches. By establishing rules for the conduct of cutting horse shows, NCHA strives to give cutters a level playing field and a progressive class structure, which accommodates everyone from the beginner to the advanced competitor. NCHA draws on the diverse talents and background of its members, and encourages their participation in helping it achieve these goals.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, the governing body of cow horse competition, is responsible for promoting the sport, insuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of the reined cow horse. Formed in 1949, the association continues to work to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today's equine industry.
Founded in 1966, the National Reining Horse Association is an organization dedicated to the promotion of the reining horse. It serves as the standard-setting body for the sport of reining worldwide. NRHA provides a variety of competitive and educational events for members from beginner to advanced.
The purpose of the National Snaffle Bit Association is to define, promote and improve the quality of the pleasure horse. Established in 1983, NSBA promotes exhibits, events and contests in expositions and shows; strives to improve the training of pleasure horses; cultivates interest in pleasure horses among younger horsemen; and encourages the use of the standard rules for holding and judging contests of the pleasure horse.
Formed in 2021 by industry leaders and influencers, the Barrel Racing Industry Alliance's mission is to develop and implement initiatives and programs that will foster continued progress and growth for the sport of barrel racing. Members of BRIA are the American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association, Barrel Futurities of America, Better Barrel Races, Breeder’s Challenge, National Barrel Horse Association, West Coast Barrel Racing Association, Pink Buckle/Ruby Buckle and Women’s Pro Rodeo Association.
Palamino Horse Breeders of America was formed in 1941 to record and preserve the pedigree of the palomino horse while maintaining the integrity of the breeds. PHBA provides services for its members to enhance and encourage palomino ownership and participation, and to generate growth of PHBA membership via the marketing, promotion, advertising and publicity of the palomino horse.
The mission of the International Buckskin Horse Association is to record and preserve the pedigree of buckskin, dun, red dun and grulla horses. First incorporated in 1971, the IBHA provides beneficial services for its members that enhance and encourage ownership of IBHA registered horses and participation in the Association; improve the well-being of IBHA horses by establishing safe and humane rules, while enforcing such rules; and generate growth of IBHA membership through the promotion, advertising and publicity of the association.
The American Buckskin Registration Association is an equine color association registering horses, ponies, miniature horses, and mules of Buckskin, Dun, Red Dun, Dunalino and Grulla colors. The purpose of the ABRA is to collect, record and preserve the pedigrees of Buckskin, Dun, Red Dun, Grulla, and Dunalino horses, ponies/ miniature horses, and mules, as well as those eligible horses of unknown ancestry. ABRA also serves as an information center for its members and the general public on matters pertaining to shows and projects designed to improve the association and aid the industry, for its breeders and all equine owners.
The World Conformation Horse Association was formed in 2007 to promote the value of good conformation for a horse, regardless of the horse's discipline. WCHA hosts events and serves as the industry authority on conformation for western stock horses.
The United States Team Penning Association was created in 1993 to provide competition, resources and support to members who participate in the sport of team penning. USTPA is acknowledged as the authority on cattle penning and sorting events. USTPA promotes exhibits, events and contests, and encourages the use of standard rules for holding team penning competitions.
Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association is one of the fastest growing equestrian sports in the nation. Mounted contestants compete in this fast-action timed event using two .45 caliber single action revolvers each loaded with five rounds of specially prepared blank ammunition. Formed in 1991, the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association has a variety of levels of competition for everyone, ranging from novice to the seasoned professional. CMSA generates growth of membership through the promotion, advertising and publicity of mounted shooting competition.
AQHA is a participating organization of the USDF All-Breeds Awards. The awards are designed to recognize the accomplishments of specific breeds in dressage, and the awards are presented to horses delcared for a participating registry or organization. For a horse to be eligible for the All-Breeds Awards, the horse must be AQHA registered, and its owner must be an AQHA member. To be eligible for the award, a horse must be declared with USDF and AQHA by August 1 of the award year in order to participate. To learn more about AQHA's participation, visit the AQHA All-Breeds Award page. To view the USDF requirements and eligibility for the award, visit the USDF AQHA All-Breeds Awards page.
The NRSHA, in partnership with AQHA and other founding associations, intends to work for ranch horse enthusiasts by:
- Preserving and protecting the ranching heritage by helping these events stay true to their ranching roots
- Record major achievements of the great ranch and stock horses competing in these associations
- Offer educational platforms with respected horse industry experts, such as AQHA Professional Horsemen, and through AQHA Judges Seminars
The NRSHA is comprised of six founding associations, the focus of which is hosting ranch/stock horse events. Other associations included are the National Versatility Ranch Horse Association (NVRHA), Stock Horse of Texas (SHTX), Western States Versatility Ranch Horse Association (WSVRHA), Oklahoma Stock Horse Association (OkSHA) and the East Coast Stock Horse Association (ECSHA).
Educational Marketing Alliances
For associations that promote equine health for educational initiatives and desire to increase the public’s awareness of healthy horses and proper equine health care. Agree to work with AQHA in providing educational information relevant to the American Quarter Horse.
American Association of Equine Practitioners was established in 1954 and is the world’s largest professional group dedicated to equine veterinary medicine. It comprises more than 9,000 veterinarians and veterinary students in 57 countries, from all types of practices, joined together in a common pursuit: to improve the health and welfare of the horse.
AAEP membership is open to graduates from a college or school of veterinary medicine or to those licensed in good standing to practice veterinary medicine.
Established in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1971, the mission of the American Farrier’s Association is to further the professional development of farriers, to provide leadership and resources for the benefit of the farrier industry, and to improve the welfare of the horse through continuing farrier education. AFA provides many educational events and maintains an online database of certified farriers.
Certified Horsemanship Association certifies riding instructors, accredits equine facilities, maintains an online database of instructors, publishes educational manuals and produces conferences for all horse enthusiasts. Formed in 1967, the purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education internationally for the entire horse industry. CHA serves leaders, instructors, trainers, riding program directors, clubs, riding stables, camps, colleges and recreational programs.
For associations that have common interest with AQHA on various issues, such as an activity, vocation or other issue that could affect AQHA members and their horses.
The American Hippotherapy Association is recognized as part of the international community that provides education, facilitates research and promotes equine-assisted therapy as an effective treatment strategy that improves the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational or speech and language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. This strategy has evolved over 30 years. Through education and clinical experience, physical, occupational and speech and language therapists continue to refine the use of hippotherapy as part of an integrated rehabilitation approach. Using the movement of the horse as the strategy of choice has resulted in improved functional outcomes for a wide variety of patients. These positive results ensure that hippotherapy will continue to be used in treatment for many years to come.
The American Polo Horse Association was founded in 2006 to recognize polo horses, or ponies, in the United States, as well as encourage events that showcase the polo horse. APHA collects, records and preserves pedigrees of horses being used for polo in America and is the foremost authority on the documentation of polo ponies in United States. The registry is open to all breeds of horses being used for polo and includes horses from any country of origin.
The mission of the Dude Ranchers' Association is to preserve the rural way of life and to help people experience the wonderful environment in which it takes place. Membership in the association is not automatic. Dude ranches applying for membership go through a rigorous two-year inspection and approval process. The Dude Rancher's Association is the governing body of the West's dude ranch industry. Created in 1926, DRA provides an organized structure for members, in which they are able to exchange ideas and experiences in an effort to uphold the highest quality of services within the industry. The association promotes the western ranch vacation, while continuing to build a strong working relationship with federal and state land agencies in order to preserve and protect parks, forests and wildlife.
The mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and to improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety and responsible care and disposal of these horses. Established in 2005, the UHC represents a broad alliance of equine organizations that have joined together under the American Horse Council to educate the horse industry about unwanted horse issues.
Association Marketing Agreements
For associations that promote and/or sanction specific events and/or competitions, but are not recognized as the established international association for that event. Association provides its records to AQHA in return for pre-determined promotion of organization in AQHA media outlets.
Since 1985, Barrel Futurities of America has become one of the premier organizations in the barrel racing industry. BFA is dedicated to the betterment of futurity/derby competitions for horses ages 4 to 6. Becoming a member of the BFA enables you to compete for year-end championship points, bonuses and awards.
Ranch Horse Association of America was formed in 1998 to promote the qualities and characteristics of the ultimate working ranch horse, while providing a means of competition to show these ranch horses.
RHAA sanctions local working ranch horse competitions, provides a uniform set of rules, qualifies working ranch horse competition judges, and promotes uniformity and consistency in judging.
RHAA seeks to accomplish these goals while maintaining traditional western influence with historic western sportsmanship and a cowboy ethic.
Ranch Sorting National Championships was established in 2007 as a sport to continue the western tradition that was established before fences, where horseman gathered cattle from surrounding ranches on the open range and sorted cattle from the big herd for branding or sale. On today's ranch at branding time, the ranch work is called sorting cow/calf pairs. RSNC has established a set of rules to create a fun, affordable and exciting cow-horse competition for the whole family. Using two figure-eight round pens with a 12-foot opening connecting the two pens, a group of 11 cattle are gathered into one pen; all but one animal is tagged 0-9. Two-rider teams compete. The objective is to sort the cattle, one at a time, in numerical order away from the herd and through the opening within 60-seconds. The team that sorts the most cattle in the least amount of time wins. RSNC a fun, affordable family sport, "Where Old Traditions Meet the New West."
WDAA was established in 2011 with the mission of building an equine community that combines the western traditions of horse and rider with classical dressage. With more than 1,500 members, WDAA is recognized as the sole affiliate representing the discipline of western dressage through the United States Equestrian Federation. This alliance was formed as a result from the approval of western dressage as a new class starting at AQHA events in 2020.
The American Rope Horse Futurity Association (ARHFA) was founded in 2007 to fill a need in the rope hose industry in showcasing the abilities and talents of rope horses for futurity aged horses (3 – 6 years olds) just as the cow horse, cutting, and barrel industries had done. The ARHFA was formed to take all aspects of a well-rounded rope horse, from the precise scoring of a horse show run combined with the speed of a winning run at a jackpot or rodeo. With those criteria in mind, a judging system was created to take the talents of a young rope horse to the national stage to earn the coveted Futurity title and earnings to back it. The judging system and the ability to compete at a top level for big payouts has proven to allow the rope horse industry to grow for the young futurity aged horses and given them a bigger stage to show what a well-rounded rope horse can be. This has filled a gap in the roping industry for the owners, trainers, breeders, and buyers that has been missing for some time and the ARHFA is proud to have had a contributing role in that growth. The ARHFA stives to continue to develop the organization and industry for our members with total transparency in all aspects of rules, judging and event protocols.