EDITED PRESS RELEASE
Cross-posted from TheHorse.com
The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Executive Committee has adjusted some rules regarding equipment use at all AQHA-approved shows and has approved a structure of fines and penalties that will be assessed to violators of these rules, the organization announced Sept. 14.
All of these changes are based on recommendations from the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission, which was appointed earlier this year by the Executive Committee to ensure the welfare of the American Quarter Horse. The Executive Committee also approved the Animal Welfare Commission’s definition of abuse: Any excessive and/or repetitive action to cause obvious distress or discomfort to a horse.
Beginning with the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show in November, the following training equipment, in addition to that listed in the AQHA rulebook, will not be allowed at any AQHA shows:
- Prohibited training equipment at all AQHA shows include riding in a curb bit without a curb strap, wire, or solid metal curb straps no matter how padded; wire cavessons; wire or cable tie-downs; bumper bits; metal bosals, no matter how padded; chambons; headstalls made of metal (even if encased in a protective material); twisted rawhide; rope (3/8-inch rope may be used with a slip [gag] bit with a smooth mouth piece only); running martingales with curb bits; or draw reins attached between or around the front legs;
- No one is allowed to ride a horse with a curb bit without a properly adjusted, approved curb strap or curb chain;
- A running martingale may be used with a snaffle bit only;
- Draw reins may be used on the show grounds as a training device so long as they are attached no lower than the elbow of the horse.
“The greatest danger to our industry is the inhumane treatment of our horses during their training and the resulting appearance in the show ring,” said Jim Heird, PhD, executive professor and coordinator of the equine sciences initiative at Texas A&M University and chairman of the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission.