Back at the Ranch

You might have a gold mine in your pasture and not even realize it.

Ranch Horse Journal

Myles Brown has accomplished a great deal with his Ranching Heritage-bred horses. PHOTO: Jim Jennings

March 26 marked the very first Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Finals. It was a big moment for the AQHA Ranching Heritage program, which launched in 2011.

The Challenge Finals attracted 134 entries that competed for just shy of $55,000, and complimented the Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships very well. The previous day, three of the six horses crowned as Versatility Ranch Horse world champions were also Ranching Heritage-bred horses! There is a lot of crossover between them.

I thought it was very exciting to be able to showcase the Ranching Heritage Challenge horses because I, personally, know a lot of the horses that showed in the event are still used every day on the ranch.

They are good using horses that people can also show and win on. They are truly upholding the traditions that this program was built on. In fact, this is how I got involved, and why this is so appealing to me personally. Having a horse that I could work on the ranch all week, then go show on the weekend has always been something that really interested me. 

But in talking to people, I wonder if maybe people don’t quite understand the Ranching Heritage program, so I want to explain it a little bit more.

The Ranching Heritage program was designed to help ranchers promote the great horses they were already raising and help them get the horses in the hands of people who want and need them. The Ranching Heritage Challenges were designed specifically to showcase these horses in an arena where more people could see them work, while maintaining the spirit of the ranching tradition. You do not have to be a breeder to show these horses – anyone can show them, as long as the horse was bred by a Ranching Heritage Breeder.

These ranch horses are really nice horses, and they can do lots of different things. We are seeing Ranching Heritage horses compete successfully in all different kinds of places – not just the Challenges, but also VRH and other stock horse competitions, National Reined Cow Horse Association, ranch rodeos, roping and barrel racing. So that means there are a lot of talented horses out there that are very athletic and good minded, because that’s exactly what they’re bred for.

We try to distribute the Challenges around different locations in the country. Classes include cow work, boxing and ranch riding, team roping and barrel racing. There are a number of different divisions for horses and people, so there are plenty of places for everyone. There is $15,000 added to each of those Challenges, plus jackpot money, so it is sure worth your time to show at them. 

All of the horses bred by Ranching Heritage Breeders foaled in 2010 and before are all grandfathered in – they could go show tomorrow! A lot of people don’t realize this. There are about 71,000 of these horses out there, so there well could be one standing out in your pasture. If you’re not sure, give us a call (806-376-4811) and we’ll check for you.  

If you know for sure you don’t already have one, the season to pick one up is fast approaching. The rest of this year, there will be a lot of sales where you can buy a RHB horse. Check the ranching calendar to see some of the sales, or look for sales in your area. Look for the Ranching Heritage-Bred logo in the sale catalog or on the registration papers, which will tell you that horse is eligible.
Once you buy the horse, you need to make sure the horse is current on his payments to the Challenge program and fully enrolled (which is good for his lifetime) – then visit our website again to find an event near you.
We know there are a lot of horses out there that people don’t even realize are Ranching Heritage-bred. We really want you to figure out if you’ve got one or how to get one, and once you do, we want you to come show with us!

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHAnews on Twitter and visit