STEP Grant Information

View guidelines and criteria, as well as apply for a grant for the STEP Program.

Projects will be funded based on community involvement and sustainability of trail design. Funding is available for a variety of trail activities. Application must be received by AQHA on or before August 1  to be considered for funding. Visit for more information. Please use the following checklists to verify that your project will qualify for funding. Submissions that do not include all the required documentation will not be considered for funding.

Download a printable application ( You must complete both parts of the application to qualify)

To qualify for any funding, the STEP project(s) must meet the following criteria:

  1. Projects can include a variety of requests including, but not limited to:
  • Trail maintenance, trail construction and trail relocation on public land – i.e. BLM, NPS, NFS and local and state government.
  • Individual groups or private ranches – projects are for public benefit and must be open to public riding. Individual groups and private land owners who wish to apply for STEP funding must have a 501 (c)(3) status. Grants for exclusive use trails or facilities will not be considered for funding.
  • Tool needs – funding will be based on cost of equipment/tool and will be a 3 to 4 match.
  • Educational programs – educational projects targeting youth will have priority. Educational projects include Tread Lightly! and Leave No Trace training.
  1. Priority will be allocated to funds for improving an existing trail, such as design issues, erosion and additional features that will enhance safety and experience.
  2. Projects that do not qualify include, but not limited to electrical installment, private usage.
  3. Have a letter of approval/authorization sent to AQHA from the land manager or owner of the property by the application deadline. Any project without a valid support letter from the land manager or property owner will not be considered for funding.  The land manager or property owner of private land should provide written approval of public usage to include specified length of time for public access with a minimum of twenty years.  In the instance the land manager or property owner removes public access prior to the specified length of time they agree to reimburse funding equal to the original grant amount.
  4. Applications must be submitted and received into AQHA Headquarters by August 1. No late applications will be accepted.

Submissions must include ALL of the following to be considered for review:

  1. Date project will begin or educational project will take place
  2. Approximate date of completion for project
  3. Project name
  4. Project location (city, state, name of land, name of trail if available)
  5. Budget for the project showing clearly what the AQHA STEP grant is for, any matching funds from an agency or landowner, or any matching funds or in-kind services from a club or other partner. For large projects, a detailed breakdown of costs associated with the project.
  6. Land manager or owner contact information, including full name, title, mailing address, daytime phone number, e-mail address and Web site (if available)
  7. Name of host organization and Web site
  8. Primary contact person for the host organization, including full name, title, mailing address, daytime phone number, e-mail address and Web site address (if available)
  9. Letter of approval/authorization from the land manager – grant will not be considered without this documentation.
  10. Estimated number of volunteers and volunteer hours to complete project.
  11. Description of the project (approximately 50 words)
  12. Written description of the project includes the following:
  • Purpose and need for the project.
  • Benefit to the equestrian community and to the community as a whole.
  • Specific work accomplished by the project.
  • Number of volunteers and their specific duties during the project.
  • Number of volunteer hours needed to complete each project.
  • Additional documentation may include photographs or other appropriate material detailing the trail project.

Follow-up requirements due by August 1 of the following year:

  1. Summary of project (approximately 50 words)
  2. Summary of cost associated with project
  3. Detail the number of hours contributed by volunteers
  4. Summary of donated items, such as use of machinery and estimated dollar value
  5. Summary of monetary contributions
  6. Copies of any articles published in local newspaper and/or magazine
  7. Photos documenting the project
  8. Letter from land owner/manager confirming completion of the project
  9. Copies of any press releases and/or media coverage of the project

Summary of project may not exceed three typewritten pages double spaced, type face Times New Roman, 12 point with margins not less than 1” around the page.

Deadline to register projects - August 1. All submissions become the property of American Quarter Horse Association and may be used for publicity and/or shared with STEP partnering organizations.

Send all submissions to:
American Quarter Horse Association
Attention: STEP Program
PO Box 200
Amarillo, Texas 79168