Level 1 Nutrena aqha group photo of riders
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American Quarter Horse Association

AQHA Championship

The American Quarter Horse Association has decided to waive the 2020 qualifications for the World Shows. The waiver is in effect because of the numerous cancellations of sanctioned shows caused by the coronavirus. Cancellations of the qualifiers started as early as March and continue into September in some areas. There have been upwards of 400 AQHA shows canceled since March, to see a complete list of shows visit: 2020 AQHA SHOW CALENDAR. Currently, most of the late summer and fall shows are still scheduled, including the World Shows. The AQHA has published precautions for competitors to review safety measures at COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS. It will be interesting to see if additional shows are eventually canceled, with the increased work that CDC guidelines put on the smaller show committees. The local and federal guidelines for large events may very well impact the planning and financial stability for the smaller show committees. 

Decision to Waive

Publicized on March 18th, The AQHA via their website, stated that the executive committee decided to waive the qualifications needed to compete at the World Shows. This could be very significant in the outcomes for the following prestigious shows. 

A Most Prestigious Award

An AQHA World Championship is one of the most prestigious awards that can be given to a quarter horse.  It takes thousands of dollars hauling the circuit to qualify for the World Show. Qualification normally consists of competing on every weekend and holiday to obtain the needed points. 

AQHA Championship Trophy
Photo Credit: AQHA Championship Trophy

Hold your horses though, because without the qualifications there could just be some stiff competition to hit the World Shows that would normally not be competing. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for some to enjoy showing with the best competition in the country. We might just see some surprise winners in the end!

The Big Question

Waiving qualifications will probably bring some challenges, especially for the judges. Shouldn’t there be a way to have elimination classes and finals for the title?  If there is a massive amount of entries, it will be interesting to see how the AQHA handles the increased number of contestants. There could possibly be some format changes to incorporate a large number of contestants entering classes. 

Additional Classes

The AQHA also reported that the Nutrena Level 1 classes that were scheduled in the Spring but were canceled, have been added to the world shows. See the UPDATES HERE

  • Nutrena Level 1 youth will be added to the AQHYA World Show
  • Nutrena Level 1 select amateur will be held at the AQHA Select Show
  • Nutrena Level 1 amateur classes will be added to the AQHA World Show
Level 1 Nutrena Class AQHA
Photo Credit: Nutrena West AQHA
Interesting Year

As with all things this year, 2020 has brought changes and new challenges. Equestrians are well known for their ability to excel during adversity and this year we will be seeing this attribute in full effect across all disciplines. Organizations are learning to adapt and power through these new challenges and the AQHA is also forging forward, see COVID 19 SHOW UPDATES. It will definitely be interesting at the World Shows this year, we may see some surprise unexpected winners taking home the coveted championship title. The ability for anyone to enter and compete at these high-level shows is uncharted territory. The AQHA will continue to overcome the challenges that the coronavirus has put on the industry.  In the end the question remains, will there be an asterisk next to the name of this year’s AQHA World Champions?

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One Response

  1. Andy
    May 26, 2020

    This ought to make things interesting!

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