The AQHA Executive Committee approved several recommendations submitted by the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission.

AQHA Executive Committee Approves Animal Welfare Recommendations

2017 AQHA Convention

The American Quarter Horse Association’s Executive Committee approved recommendations aimed at supporting animal welfare.

The five-person committee gave the nod, which adds medications to the AQHA forbidden drugs list and creates educational opportunities for specific animal-handling procedures.

The Executive Committee approvals include the following list of AQHA Animal Welfare Committee suggestions:

  • Fines generated from drug and animal welfare violations be placed in the animal welfare budget to support the steward program.
  • AQHA should encourage show managers to establish an isolation protocol at AQHA shows using the industry-developed template to ensure horses on the grounds are protected should there be a disease outbreak. In addition, show management should be encouraged to conduct practice runs or audits to ensure proper procedures are carried out.
  • Develop a one-page educational flyer to educate exhibitors on the importance of vaccinating their horses for equine influenza virus and equine herpes virus prior to entering AQHA show grounds.
  • AQHA staff should continue work on an educational flyer regarding reporting animal abuse.
  • Effective January 1, 2018, AQHA Rule SHW325.1.2 be reworded to read: “Lameness is obvious at a walk.”
  • Form a joint task force made up of members of the Animal Welfare Commission, Professional Horsemen’s Council and the Show Format and Procedures Subcommittee to discuss options to increase AQHA Steward presence at shows.
  • Effective January 1, 2018, a no-jerk-down rule for tie-down roping will be implemented. The rule will read: “In the tie-down roping class, an exhibitor will receive a no score for that run if they bring the animal over backward with the animal landing on its back or head with all four feet in the air.”
  • Effective immediately, the “use of any drug, chemical, foreign substance, surgical procedure or trauma that would alter a horse’s normal tail function” be added to the prohibited inhumane practices set forth in AQHA Rule VIO204.
  • Form a task force to review AQHA’s definition of normal tail function.
  • Effective immediately, AQHA stewards can show at AQHA events that they are not assigned to steward.
  • Effective immediately, allow hydroxyzine to be submitted on a medication report form as long as all requirements of AQHA Rule VIO403 are met.
  • Effective January 1, 2018, and with respect to the medication rules that govern show horses, furosemide (Lasix) will be removed from the list of conditionally permitted therapeutic medications and added to the list of forbidden drugs or substances in AQHA Rule VIO401.
  • Develop and publish a list of medications that can be reported on a medication report form as long as all requirements of AQHA Rule VIO403 are met. Develop and publish a list of forbidden substances.

Effective January 1, 2018, add hair testing to AQHA Rules VIO302 and SHW120.1

The AQHA Animal Welfare Commission was created in 2012. It serves as AQHA’s primary body for rules, policies, and procedures related to animal welfare.