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AQHA Facing Horse Abuse Charges In The Name of Training and Showing



A recent story in the publication Horse Nation points out the challenges facing the Quarter Horse breed and their breed association the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA).   A group of concerned horsemen under the name of the Protect Them Coalition (PTC) has sent proposals to the AQHA for their annual convention in March where rule changes are dealt with.  

The group acknowledges that the AQHA has promoted a versatile breed and made it the largest breed in the United States. But the group accuses AQHA of transforming the showing of horses into something almost unrecognizable to the equestrian world.   The PTC wants to reward the natural forward going horse and less of the overly-collected and unnatural looking action, especially in the western pleasure classes.

The group accuses the Association of sweeping this issue under the rug and allowing the abuses to continue.  They further accused the Association of being too political by allowing the top trainers and judges basically to do whatever they want.  The PTC   wants increases in fines and penalties for violators for inhumane treatment such as excessive spurring, excessive jerking of the reins and using overly-tight cavessons and draw reins in training.  AQHA has lost 83,000 members in recent years according to the group and is urging immediate action on their proposals.

PTC points out the trend in humane treatment of all breeds including the “questionable” ways big-lick gaited horses make it into the show ring and they are encouraging the AQHA to retain its integrity and be a positive leader in the horse industry.

The Coalition wants a steward program similar to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) instead of the current stewards who are typically horse trainers; stronger fines and penalties sufficient to present a financial hardship, including  banning for life repeat offenders.  A list of offenders should be published and available to all the members.

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