AQHA 2017 Standing Committee Reports Available


2017 Standing Committee Reports Available

The American Quarter Horse Association, May 11, 2017 – The AQHA Executive Committee met April 24-26 in Amarillo to review the standing-committee recommendations approved at the 2017 AQHA Convention by the AQHA Board of Directors, with the exception of those related to bylaw changes and rules of registration, for which final approval lies with the board of directors. Even though some agenda items were not approved, careful consideration, discussion and debate were devoted to each item. Below are the highlights of approved agenda items from the 2017 standing-committee reports. Read the full committee reports at

AQHA Equine Research Committee
The Executive Committee approved the American Quarter Horse Foundation funding of $252,735 in research projects. The Equine Research Committee also discussed various methods to improve the distribution of research results to the membership to promote better understanding of important issues such as animal welfare, selective breeding practices and overall horse health.

2017-18 AQHA Equine Research Committee Chairman: Dr. Bob Coleman

AQHA International Committee
The Executive Committee approved: an international educational exchange task force to examine and make recommendations regarding the international horsemanship seminar programs and other international educational program opportunities; an international championship event task force to examine the existing European and Latin American championship events and make recommendations for the structure of future international championship events; and an international affiliate task force to examine and make recommendations regarding the structure and function of international affiliates and their relationship to AQHA.

2017-18 AQHA International Committee Chairwoman: Lori Bucholz

AQHA Judges Committee
The Executive Committee approved an amendment to rule SHW911.6 to read as follows: At all shows where there is an official videographer, judges will be allowed to review “all major and/or severe penalties of two points or more, excluding marker penalties in the reining and the reined work portion of working cow horse as long as one (1) judge has called a penalty.” The Executive Committee also approved the creation of a judges task force to create guidelines for self-monitoring among judges.

2017-18 AQHA Judges Committee Chairman: Al Dunning

AQHA Marketing and Membership Services Committee
The Executive Committee approved the creation of subcommittees of the marketing and membership committee with specific objectives and measurable goals. The committee will be broken into subcommittees to work throughout the year and report back at the March convention meetings. The committee also discussed a variety of other marketing and membership initiatives that included an update from the young adults task force regarding its research on acquiring and retaining more members in the 19-34 age range; better ways to help promote the American Horse Council’s Time to Ride initiative to AQHA affiliates and Professional Horsemen; the potential to use microchips as a tool to drive AQHA membership and improve record keeping on horses in speed events and roping; a partnership with the Arabian Horse Association to assist in the creation and promotion of a literacy program tied to horses; a need to better involve non-horse people in events like the AQHA world shows via the creation of a hands-on horse experience, tours of the grounds, meeting with a trainer, etc.; and the consideration of a free equipment program, like those offered for other sports, where we could engage corporate partners and donors to provide things like helmets and boots to horse-interested youth.

2017-18 AQHA Marketing and Membership Services Committee Chairwoman: Gale Little

AQHA Nominations and Credentials Committee
The AQHA Board of Directors approved modifications to the following bylaws:  

  • Bylaw Article IV, Section 7:

All vacancies in the elective and appointed offices of AQHA may be filled by the Executive Committee for the unexpired term and those so appointed shall serve until the election and acceptance of their duly qualified successors.

  • Bylaw Article V, Section 2:

The president shall be the chairperson of the AQHA board of directors and shall preside at all meetings of the board of directors.

  • Bylaw Article VI, Section 2:

Executive Vice President: The executive vice president is the chief executive officer of AQHA, and, pursuant to direction of the Executive Committee, shall implement the actions, decisions and directions of the board of directors and Executive Committee

  • Bylaw Article IV, Section 9(e):

If there are fewer than 3 candidates that meet the requirements in (d)(i), the past presidents may submit resume(s) and written nomination(s) of additional candidate(s) which must be received by the executive vice president on or before December 1. Such candidates shall also be eligible to be nominated at the new board meeting by the committee of past presidents or nominated from the floor at such meeting so long as such candidate(s) personally appeared for an interview before the committee of past presidents at the annual convention in the same year of the election.

2017-18 AQHA Nominations and Credentials Committee Chairman: Dr. Scott Meyers

AQHA Public Policy Committee
The Executive Committee approved supporting language for the accelerated depreciation of racehorses in the upcoming tax reform legislation; the Horse Protection Act Amendment draft final rule; the American Horse Council’s request that USDA-APHIS publishes a rule for public comment on enhanced equine infectious anemia testing and reporting; and AHC’s efforts for continued development and collaboration between state, federal and industry representatives in implementing the National Equine Health Plan. The Executive Committee also approved the appointment of a task force to explore an AQHA public policy or congressional fellowship/internship program.

2017-18 AQHA Public Policy Committee Chairwoman: Dr. Eleanor Green

AQHA Racing Committee
No significant motions were made at convention by the racing committee that needed to be reviewed by the Executive Committee. However, the Executive Committee approved the recommendation by the racing council to incorporate crop rules as presented by The Jockey’s Guild rule proposal submitted March 19, 2017, when submitting a Quarter Horse breed-specific model-rules proposal to the American Racing Commissioners International, Inc. (ARCI) this spring. The racing council proposed and the Executive Committee approved that an AQHA Integrity Team Request Form be submitted by racetracks and/or commissions prior to AQHA’s involvement in any future onsite integrity teams. Effective January 1, 2018, the minimum requirement for AQHA Superior Race Horse award will be increased to 300 points. The Executive Committee also approved the 2018 AQHA Graded Stakes races.

2017-18 AQHA Racing Committee Chairman: Kelvin Childers

AQHA Ranching Committee
The Executive Committee approved recommendations to modify and clarify several rules related to Versatility Ranch Horse, in addition to adding Level 1 open ranch riding as an approved AQHA class, effective immediately, and ranch trail to be offered at AQHA-approved shows as part of a slate of classes in 2019. The Ranching Heritage Breeder subcommittee revised the application for the Ranching Heritage Breeder program and the criteria of the Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year application. In cooperation with Zoetis, the Ranching Heritage subcommittee will develop a ranch vaccination program for cattle and horses for Ranching Heritage Breeders.

2017-18 AQHA Ranching Committee Chairman: Jim Hunt

AQHA Recreational Activities Committee
The Executive Committee approved the following changes to the Recreational Activities Guidebook:

In the Trail Challenge section:

a)      Strike the phrase “or praise” from penalty five of the Recreational Activities Guidebook.

b)      Change “Each obstacle should have different degrees of difficulty” to “Each obstacle may have different degrees of difficulty.”

c)       Edit the obstacle scoring system to a sliding scale of

  1. -1/2 which is poor up to -3 which is extremely poor, 0 is correct, and +1/2 which is good up to +3 which is superior

In the Horseback Riding section:

d)      Review and update rules of the program.

The Executive Committee also approved the application of a $50 late fee to those not meeting the 10-day deadline to return all paperwork and fees after an event. Additionally, subcommittees of the Recreational Riding Committee were created to monitor, refine and promote AQHA’s recreational riding programs.

2017-18 AQHA Recreational Activities Committee Chairman: Larry Voecks

AQHA Show Committee
The Executive Committee approved modifications to several show rules. The Executive Committee also approved the formation of the Leveling review, individual rail and stewards expansion task forces.

2017-18 AQHA Show Committee Chairman: Tom McBeath

AQHA Studbook and Registration Committee
Modifications to three registration-related items were approved by AQHA members and the AQHA Board of Directors at the convention. Read more about the registration changes.

2017-18 AQHA Stud Book and Registration Committee Chairman: Jimmy Eller

AQHA Youth Activities Committee
The Executive Committee approved to accept changes to the AQHYA officer and director application process; to remove the requirement that regional director candidates must be, or have been, an officer in his or her state affiliate; and to standardize the time allotment for both national officer and regional director speeches to be three minutes in length, in addition to judging the national officer and regional director speeches separately. The Executive Committee also approved to allow nominations from the floor in the event of vacant regional director positions following regional elections. The youth scholarships task force was approved to explore additional opportunities for providing scholarships to youth members. Also approved by the Executive Committee was the pursuit of creating a horsemanship outreach program, and exploring the creation of a youth advisory board to mentor young leaders, develop youth alumni events and outreach to collegiate equine organizations.

2017-18 AQHA Youth Activities Committee Chairwoman: Jennifer Horton

About the AQHA Convention and Rule Changes
AQHA is an organization that works for its members. Each spring, AQHA holds a convention to review AQHA rules and policies. During the convention, member-submitted rule changes and suggestions are also reviewed. AQHA wants to hear any suggestions you have to make AQHA membership, programs and services to reach their fullest potential.

Even though members have until December 31, 2017, to submit items for the 2018 AQHA Convention, the Association encourages members to submit items as early as possible to give Association staff, committees and councils more time to prepare materials and communicate potential changes before the convention March 2-5, 2018, in Jacksonville, Florida.

Read more about AQHA’s rule-change process or watch this video on AQHA’s YouTube channel.

Log in to the AQHA Member Services area for a list of the standing committees.

For guidelines on writing proposed rule changes, visit

If you have any questions on the 2017 committee reports or about submitting a rule change, contact us!