Curb Bit with Chain. Google Image.

New AQHA equipment rules to ensure horse welfare


Cross-posted from

Curb Bit with Chain. Google Image.
Curb Bit with Chain. Google Image. Photo not filed with original post.

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:

  1. 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;

  2. No one is allowed to ride a horse with a curb bit without a properly adjusted, approved curb strap or curb chain;

  3. A running martingale may be used with a snaffle bit only;

  4. 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.

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12 thoughts on “New AQHA equipment rules to ensure horse welfare”

  1. I agree, Harley, and also redmm97, I believe that this is an attempt to remove bad training from the show ring and warm-up, but however you get that stupid “peanut roller” headset and and limp unexpressive tail at home is not that much of a problem to them.. Just appearances… And the truth will come when an undercover film is made of a horse tied with his head so high that it almost breaks his neck for hours so that his head will be carried low at the show… to much pain to raise it…


    1. Dear Polopaula,When they resort to giving the Horse such pain as this , \it become extreme cruelty , when you have no compassion for your trusting horse , it needs to be addressed with extreme Justice !!!!!!!


  2. What about the unnatural “peanut rolling” headset? I can’t imagine the strain on the horse to get that ridiculous headset.


  3. Are you just coming up with this b/c of the abuse in the TWH industry and you want to look like you care. Stop slaughter, stop abusing these horses. The AQHA allows overbreeding, resulting in a lot of neglected horses. Shameful


  4. Just wanted to agree with mpclark, and Arlene. also to note that the horse in the picture in the Dressage double bridle, would not be against the new rules. that bridle is very typical and accepted in upper levels of Dressage, and is often used in great partnership with the horse as seen by the Great Britain team who won the gold medal in the Olympics. this picture seems to be of a very heavy handed rider, or could have been taken in the instance before the horse is beginning the free walk.


  5. The Betrayal of the Quarter Horse because of AQHA, all these new rules are insignificant , stop the over breeding and the Slaughtering AQHA…………………….. Then your new rules will be appreciated !!!!!


  6. Thanks for the article.

    You have to wonder why any rider would need this equipment in order to ride what is supposed to be a trained horse. Pathetic. The horse and rider are trained or they don’t belong at a show.

    “The greatest danger” to the industry is having the truth revealed about the breed, use and dump practices of the AQHA. Slaughter is just another way the AQHA betrays the Quarter Horse. This is the ultimate hypocrisy. Everybody already knows it. “Trainers ” will go on using torture to get results.

    The chances of rigid enforcement of any reform is compromised by the existence of slaughter. Why obey humane rules when dumping and killing is accepted? The horse is disposable and the ribbon/trophy matters more than anything else.

    The AQHA is avoiding the real issues as usual. I am reminded of the numbers of kind, loyal reg QH in rescues, those killed horrifically at slaughter plants and those being abused for Big Pharma. The abuse and killing is enormous and the AQHA funds it.


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