Young Horse Development Program

Learn more about the Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program

2017 Young Horse Development winner Arielle Wortham (Arielle Wortham photo)



The Zoetis 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 Zoetis 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 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. Developed by YHD sponsor Zoetis and AQHA, 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 is August 15, 2018, and the late application deadline is October 1, 2018. 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.

To apply, complete the Young Horse Development Project application form and waiver. 

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

For more information about the Zoetis Young Horse Development Program procedures, view the 2017 YHD Record Book.


2017 Scholarship Winners

  1. Arielle Wortham of Wimberley, TX, with Jiffy Wild Card, a 2016 sorrel filly by Wild Card Dun It and out of Colonel C Boomerang by Colonel Clout, bred by Mr. & Mrs. Louis A. Waters of Utopia, TX - $2,000 and a Montana Silversmiths belt buckle.

  2. Emily Schimnich of Sauk Rapids, MN, with Miss Lillian Frost, a 2016 palomino filly by PC Cisco Frost and out of Suzanna Joak by Sonny Pep San, bred by Jim and Joni Hunt/Open Box Rafter Ranch of Faith, SD - $1,500 and a pair of Justin boots.

  3. Samantha Pratt of Monroe, OR, with RWS Scarlets Cutter, a 2016 sorrel filly by Legendary Cutter and out of Comanches Playgirl by Smart Lil Comanche, bred by Raymond and Georga Sutton/Raymond Sutton Ranch of Gettysburg, SD - $1,000 and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

  4. Jacqueline Potwora of Eugene, OR, with RWS Cuttin Class, a 2016 sorrel gelding by Young Pobre and out of Gingers Fancy Peppy by Mr Holliday Pep, bred by Raymond and Georga Sutton/Raymond Sutton Ranch of Gettysburg, SD - $500 and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

In 2017, a record 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. Katherine Walden of Larkspur, CO, with SCR Conchos Edition, bred by Singleton Ranches

6. Curtis Johnson of Indianola, IA, with Lilly Drift Annewood, bred by Jim & Joni Hunt/Open Box Rafter Ranch

7. Sarah Schwieterman of Portland, IN, with Wattilda, bred by Brad Emerson

8. Karissa World, Heber City, UT, with Kotas Frostd Freckle, bred by Jim and Joni Hunt/Open Box Rafter Ranch

9. Lila Jolley of Victor, ID, with RWS Mavens Peppy Gem bred by Georga Sutton

10. Amber Brown of Aurora, IL, with AZ Gifted, bred by Brad Emerson/Emerson Ranch


2018 Program Participants

The following AQHYA members are participating in the program for 2018:

  • Alex Loftin of Chester, AR
  • Alex Rose of Gallipolis, OH
  • Ayden Long of Lebanon, KS
  • Bailey Carwile of Kimichael, MS
  • Brennen Wilson of Gilmer, TX
  • Brianna Heath of Tucson, AZ
  • Brogan Hill of Saint Anthony, ID
  • Brooke Kiehnhoff of Wathena, KS
  • Brynn Kelly of Kellyville, OK
  • Caitlyn Bass of Whiteville, NC
  • Cara Kent of Lanse, MI
  • Claire Wasniewski of Idaho Falls, ID
  • Colby Bryant of Hines, OR
  • Dacy Peine of Columbus, KS
  • Emilee Block of Reeds, MO
  • Emilee Hinrichsen ofElm Creek, NE
  • Gage Choate of Marathon, TX
  • Gracie Ayers of Corsicana, TX
  • Grady Aasby of Highmore, SD
  • Jenna Meredith of Rineyville, KY
  • Jennifer Rossey of Cheney, WA
  • Jessi Monnin of Winnsboro, LA
  • Jozlyn Lee of Mount Pleasant, IA
  • Justine Jordahl of Alden, IA
  • Karli Hudson of Hixon, WI
  • Katelynn Arns of Moundville, AL
  • Katie Orth of Randall, MN
  • Katie Mason of Tollhouse, CA


  • Katy Horner of Curryville, MO
  • Kelly Harper of Inverness, Fl
  • Lauren Weaber of Eaton, CO
  • Lindsey Nobes of Granby, MA
  • Lydia Loken of Gunnison, CO
  • Madeline Bone of El Reno, OK
  • Madelyn DeSelm of North Branch, MI
  • Makayla Motzkus of Chappell, NE
  • Marion Ryan of Beaverton, OR
  • McKenzie Mahurin of Sweeny, TX
  • Mikayla Brooks of Gilmer, TX
  • Mindy Russell of Kinnear, WY
  • Molly Johnson of Cottonwood, ID
  • Naccona Birnel of Wibauz, MT
  • Quincee Clark of Doddsville, MS
  • Rose Kuperus of Freeport, MI
  • Ryan Brown of Keenesburg, CO
  • Samantha Hornberger of Apple Valley, CA
  • Sarah Foley of Lena, IL
  • Sarah Braul of Airdire, AB Canada
  • Wyatt Atkinson of Casper, WY








About the Sponsor:

As the leading animal health company, Zoetis is committed to working together with equine veterinarians, horse owners and equine professionals to help improve horse health and wellness every day. Building on a six-decade history and a singular focus in animal health, Zoetis is proud to discover, develop, manufacture and market veterinary vaccines, medicines and services with an unmatched commitment to the equine industry. Learn more about Zoetis.