- Created on Tuesday, 30 August 2011
- Written by AQHA
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“AQHA was built with ranch horses and it’s time to recognize their efforts and their breeders again,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway Jr. “We want to put the spotlight on the backbone of the industry.”
The initiative begins with a breeder-referral program called the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders. To become a Ranching Heritage Breeder, ranches must be members of AQHA and their ranch remudas must consist of American Quarter Horses. Those remuda horses must be used primarily to work ranch cattle. The ranch must own at least five Quarter Horse mares that are used to produce the remuda, and the ranch must have received at least a 10-year breeder award. Ranches that qualify can be nominated to the program, using an application that can be downloaded from www.aqha.com.
The Ranching Council will approve the applications, and the program will cost $10 per year. Ranching Heritage Breeders will be entitled to use a special logo on advertising, and that logo will also appear on the AQHA registration certificates of the ranch’s foals. Ranches that are members of the Ranching Heritage Breeders will also be able to enter their horses in exclusive competitions and sales that are designed to increase the market for ranch-bred horses.
The Ranching Heritage Breeders will have the opportunity to show off their horses at a series of regional Ranching Heritage Challenge events, with purses of $100,000 to $150,000, developed by 2015. Similar to the AQHA Incentive Fund or Bank of America Racing Challenge, foals will be paid into the Ranching Heritage Challenge to develop purses for the events, with added money provided by AQHA and its corporate partners.
Owners of nominated foals will continue to pay into the futurity program, with the opportunity to compete in the series of regional events starting in 2013. Each Ranching Heritage Challenge will feature an open and non-pro ranch horse competition along with a non-pro trail trials – all for the chance to win great purses. Nominations are being accepted now for weanlings and older horses to be eligible for Ranching Heritage Challenge events in 2013 and beyond.
The first Ranching Heritage Challenge is Jan. 13 as part of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas. This entry-fee-only event will include an open ranch horse class for 4-year-old horses that anyone can own and ride. The second class will be a non-pro ranch horse class for 5-year-old and older horses. Exhibitors must own their horse as per AQHA amateur rules, and the horse must be properly transferred. The exhibitor cannot be a professional trainer and cannot have earned certain limits in National Cutting Horse, National Reining Horse, National Reined Cow Horse association or Ranch Horse of Association of America competition. All foals 4 years old and older that have been bred and raised by a Ranching Heritage Breeder are eligible to enter the Fort Worth event. To enter, exhibitors should contact AQHA at www.aqha.com or 806-376-4811.
The third facet of this new program is the Young Horse Development Program that was formed to help drive markets for weanlings and yearlings that are nominated to the program. American Quarter Horse Youth Association members will have the opportunity to qualify for ranch-bred foals or purchase one for just $700 or less – depending on the ranch – and bring it along as part of this youth-focused program.
This will allow AQHYA members to learn how to develop young horses the right way and get breeders’ foals in the hands of future buyers. They will take their weanlings home and train them for an in-hand competition held during Ranching Heritage Challenge shows starting as yearlings and then be able to show them again as 2-year-olds in a ranch pleasure class. Applications are being taken now through Sept. 2 for AQHYA members to take ownership of a foal as part of a pilot project.