Young Horse Development Program

Learn more about the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program for AQHYA members.

text size

The AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program (YHD) showcases the stock being bred and raised by AQHA Ranching Heritage members by matching donated weanlings with AQHYA members. Youth in this program are engaged in the horse industry at a fundamental level that is both fun and educational.

Participating Ranching Heritage breeders donate young horses for Young Horse Development participants to raise and train. Young horsemen and women learn responsibility and goal-setting, important components of horse ownership - and life skills that can follow them for years to come. Encouraged by good fun, as well as key education in the horse industry, youth learn to raise and train their weanlings.


About the Young Horse Development Program

Developing Horsemanship Skills

Through the Young Horse Development program, AQHYA members 12 years and older receive a hands-on horse training opportunity focusing on the fundamentals of horsemanship. The program is not only an excellent educational experience, it is also a lot of fun! Prizes and scholarships are at stake. Participants can showcase the skills and knowledge they have acquired for chances to win scholarships and awards.

Prioritizing Equine Wellness

Throughout the program, participants further their knowledge in horse health by prioritizing equine wellness.

Participants are encouraged to help ensure their horse’s health by working closely with a veterinarian and completing the Zoetis Good Start Equine Wellness Certificate. The certificate outlines key aspects of horse health care to help build a solid foundation of equine wellness for both horses and youth members. The Good Start certificate records veterinary wellness exam details, including core and risk-based vaccinations, to help the weanlings excel in both health and performance.


Program Details and Deadlines

The priority application deadline for the 2021 program will be August 15, 2020, and the late application deadline is October 1, 2020. Apply by the priority deadline for the best chance of admission into the program and the most likely match with a horse closest to your home. Participants may be selected and matched with horses any time after August 15.

Applications for the 2021 Program will be available in Spring 2020. 

Youth can participate in the Young Horse Development Program with a donated foal or purchasing a Ranching Heritage Challenge-enrolled foal from a Ranching Heritage Breeder. 


2019 Scholarship Winners

First Place Tie: Makenna Pidgeon of New London, IA, and Ella Rice of Schofield, WI – each receiving a $1,750 scholarship and an Awards Recognition Concepts belt buckle

Pidgeon’s Ranching Heritage-bred horse is Poco Doc Hank, a 2018 buckskin mare by Docs Dry Hankie and out of Lonsum Poco Seeker by Poco Red Dun King. The filly was bred by Scott West/West Brothers Inc. of Lusk, Wyoming.

Rice’s Ranching Heritage-bred horse is Dawsons Drifter, a 2018 dun gelding by Zans Tyree Drifter and out of Tyrees Dawson Two by Watch Tyree Two. The gelding was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Reed Kettlewell of the Sunup Ranch out of Brainerd, Minnesota.

Third Place: Caitlyn Dionne of Longville, LA, with DDS Lasting Catalyst, a 2018 bay roan filly by Spoonful Of Sweets and out of DDS Last Catalyst by Right This Minnick. The filly was bred by M-Heart Corp. of Vinton, Louisiana - $1,000 and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

Fourth Place: Callie Jo Ferrell of Burton, TX, with LC MR YEAR 50, a 2018 sorrel gelding by My Hotrods Afiring and out of LC Miss Roan Trinity by LC On The Trinity. The gelding was bred by Perry Corder/LC Ranch of Crockett, Texas - $500 and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

In 2019, 59 youth participated in the Young Horse Development Program. The program was highly competitive and the excellence achieved by participants was impressive. In addition to recognizing the four scholarship winners, AQHYA would like to acknowledge youth placing fifth thru tenth in the program. These individuals will be awarded a rosette from AQHYA.

5. Erica Yozie of Smock, PA, with Hickory Bar Blues bred by Jack and Tina Clark/Clark Farms

6. Lauren Ducharme of Glendale, AZ, with RO Command Her Frost bred by O RO Ranch

7. Anna Emch of Bucyrus, KS, with Docs Starry Lass1126 bred by Harlan D House

8. Merritt Roach of Butler, MO, with Wise High Bay One bred by Bobby Ray Wise

9. Bryce Smith of Marengo, OH, with Duals Royal Pep bred by Jack and Tina Clark/Clark Farms

10. Sarah Kloster of Lake Crystal, MN, with Lady Charlotte Rose bred by Jim and Joni Hunt/Open Box Rafter Ranch


2019 Program Participants

The following AQHYA members are participating in the program for 2019:


  • Addison Paulsen of Hutto, TX

  • Angelina Quintero of Dallesport, WA

  • Ann Pugh of Randall, MN
  • Anna Emch of Bucyrus, KS

  • Annika Mathias of Maple Plain, MN

  • Ashley Polson of Haslet, TX

  • Ashlyn Griffin of South Fork, CO

  • Bryana Tannehill of Eaton, CO

  • Bryce Smith of Marengo, OH

  • Caitlyn Dionne of Longville, LA

  • Callie Goins of Gatesville, TX

  • Callie Jo Ferrell of Burton, TX

  • Cash Campbell Lubbock, TX

  • Cheyenne Holm of Salt Lake City, UT

  • Chloe Childress of Buffalo, KY

  • Christian Lueck of Gilbert, AZ

  • Christopher Johnson of Montrose, CO

  • Claire Justus of Parkman, WY

  • Claire Lee of McAllen, TX

  • Cordelia Wade of Supulpa, OK

  • Courtney Stanek of Lino Lakes, MN

  • Elizabeth Holderman of San Martin, CA

  • Ella Rice of Schofield, WI
  • Emma Fehlen of Dresser, WI

  • Erica Yozie of Smock, PA

  • Ethan Young of Whitesboro, TX

  • Grace Veihl of Bark River, MI

  • Hailey Kidwell of Logan, OH

  • Haley Stundon of Black Hawk, CO

  • Hunter Powell of Swainsboro, GA


  • Jacalyn Myers of Bartonville, TX

  • Jaycee Hegg of Randall, MN

  • Jodi Banks of Muscotah, KS

  • Johnathan Hite of Osceola, WI

  • Jordan Roberts of Kemmerer, WY

  • Kalli Reed of Rosston, TX

  • Kelli Nelson of Pendleton, OR

  • Kira Lee of Mondovi, WI

  • Lauren Ducharme of Glendale, AZ

  • Makayla Roberts of Tyler, TX

  • Makenna Pidgeon of New London, IA

  • McKenzie Englehaupt of Alliance, NE

  • Melanie Gregory of Whitesboro, TX

  • Merritt  Roach of Butler, MO

  • Quinten Fletcher of Walden, CO

  • Riley Smith of Crowell, TX

  • Roper Smith of Crowell, TX

  • Sage Mizer of Mineola, TX

  • Sarah Kloster of Lake Crystal, MN

  • Sequoyah Branham of Jayton, TX

  • Sierra Steffen of Sequim, WA

  • Skylee Gibson of Myrtle Creek, OR

  • Sydney Holly of Rhinelander, WI

  • Taylor Rheaume of Marlette, MI

  • Taylor McCreedy of Atlantic, IA

  • Tess Palen of Glendo, WY

  • Treyton Knox of Highmore, SD

  • Tucker Roach of Butler, MO

  • Waylan Fletcher of Walden, CO