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AQHA Ranching Heritage

Learn more about the AQHA Ranching Heritage program.

From the earliest days of western cattle ranches, cowboys needed a horse that could handle the strain and pressures of working cattle each day. While the West has long since been settled, American Quarter Horses are still the preferred partner for working cattle ranches.

It's the AQHA Ranching Heritage program that recognizes AQHA’s ranching members who have steadfastly continued to maintain the ranching tradition by raising American Quarter Horses for use in working cattle.

The program has three facets:



To become a Ranching Heritage Breeder, ranches must be members of AQHA and their ranch remudas must consist of Quarter Horses, which 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, register at least 5 foals a year, and the ranch must have received at least an AQHA 10-year breeder award. Take a look at our list of current Ranching Heritage breeders.

Horses foaled at a Ranching Heritage Breeder's ranch can be nominated to compete in a Ranching Heritage Challenge. Ranching Heritage Challenges highlight the versatility, soundness and willing attitude of American Quarter Horses that are ranch-born and -raised. Challenges consist of working ranch horse, boxing and ranch riding classes, and horses must be nominated by their breeders to compete.

The third facet of the Ranching Heritage program is the AQHA Young Horse Development Program. This program showcases the stock being bred and raised by AQHA Ranching Heritage members. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for youth to become engaged in the horse industry at a fundamental level that will be fun and educational.

For the Young Horse Development Program, participants can either apply to receive a donated weanling from participating Ranching Heritage Breeders or purchase a weanling from a RHB, then apply to participate in the program. From there, participants document their monthly progress with their weanlings-turned-yearlings; participate in monthly webinars; complete monthly management assignments; track goals, such as competing in AQHA, 4-H, FFA or local horse shows; engage in mentoring sessions with local AQHA Professional Horsemen; and compile a video of themselves with their horse completing an in-hand trail pattern. Following project completion, a select number of scholarships and prizes will be awarded.

Overall, Ranching Heritage adds value to American Quarter Horses, recognizes Ranching Heritage Breeders' efforts in preserving the heritage of AQHA and the integrity of the American Quarter Horse breed, and helps foster enthusiasm in youth for the American Quarter Horse.

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