AQHA Racing Statement

The American Quarter Horse Association is committed to protecting the welfare of the American Quarter Horse on and off the racetrack.

American Quarter Horse Association

Recent industry headlines have chronicled stories about areas of concern in racing that still need to be addressed. The American Quarter Horse Association is committed to protecting the welfare of the American Quarter Horse on and off the racetrack. The Association has not joined in the barrage of media focused on these topics; instead, AQHA has been focused on creating positive improvements by diligently working to encourage and implement positive reform.

AQHA is a single equine breed registry; the Association strongly supports uniformity in the horse racing industry. As such, much of the work it performs regarding these topics is behind the scenes. However, AQHA endorses racing integrity, as this not only secures the welfare of the horses, but also secures confidence in the industry.

“We work extensively with AQHA in the development of our model rules,” said Ed Martin, president of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. “Both organizations work together as members of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, and over the past year or so, we’ve had extensive discussions with representatives of AQHA about breed-specific policies, especially with regard to the regulation of clenbuterol. We have worked to encourage breed-specific policies with our members, which has been a joint effort, and encouraged all Quarter Horse regulators to get together in the same room and try to adopt common policies embodied in RCI model rules.”

Racing integrity is a key priority. The industry continues to work toward bringing forth the very best science, the very best standards for monitoring, with uniformity and reciprocity of rules of law across state lines to secure the integrity of the sport. For the past year, AQHA has been pushing very hard for racing uniformity and reform by conducting joint meetings with key Quarter Horse jurisdictions, organizing a laboratory uniformity meeting in conjunction with Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

Current efforts focus on: 

  • Lobbying regulatory bodies (racing commissions) to work with a coalition of laboratories to unify medication standards across jurisdictions
  • Lobbying regulatory bodies to be consistent in testing and detecting violations, and in enforcing the law and imposing deterrents both in an individual body and across jurisdictions
  • Encouraging the closing of loopholes to keep horses trained by violators off the track until drug testing clears them to run.
  • Encouraging state attorneys general and state courts to support commission suspensions and not delay rulings through legal stays of appeal
  • Team up with racetracks and racing commissions to deploy Racing Integrity Teams to racing events. These teams, made up of members of the Organization of Racing Investigators, ensure integrity at tracks and major events. 

AQHA is committed to the welfare of the racehorse and will continue to work with international, national and state racing organizations to evaluate racing protocols. 

For more information on American Quarter Horse racing, visit www.aqha.com/racing.