Leveling the Playing Field

In 2010, the American Quarter Horse Association Executive Committee appointed a task force to review and address AQHA’s show initiatives, with an eye toward increasing participation in AQHA-approved events.
The resulting recommendations were to manage the number and types of approved shows in 2011, and develop a leveling program that offers showing opportunities for all rider and horse skill and ability levels – tested throughout 2011, with implementation in 2012. AQHA Professional Horsewoman Patti Carter-Pratt was hired as AQHA’s executive director of shows to oversee the development of AQHA\’s levels initiative. Other task forces were appointed to discuss versatility ranch horse, introductory shows, AQHA champions/performance halter, regional championships, English/over fences, halter, ethics, show managers, stock show managers and ranchers.
The regional championships task force met in January to examine the 11 AQHA Regional Championship shows. During the discussion, the question was asked, “What if Regional Championships ultimately became regional novice championships leading to a national championship?”
“The group pondered the question and it seemed to gain traction,” said Tom Persechino, AQHA executive director of competition and breed integrity. ”If a showing level above novice could be developed (which is being built as part of the new show “leveling” program being spearheaded by Carter-Pratt), the concept of a championship that recognized novices for their accomplishments then guided them into the next level could have some merit. This is in the very preliminary stages of discussion. We have a lot of due-diligence to do to make sure the concept is sound and viable.”
Persechino added that the topic will likely be discussed at length at the 2011 AQHA Convention, March 4-7 in Grapevine, Texas.


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