The American Quarter Horse Association Executive Committee approved rules, effective January 1, 2013, that will govern the new AQHA leveling program.
The leveling program breaks down divisions – youth, amateur and open – based on exhibitor and horse performance records from the past three years. Youth, amateur and Select amateur levels will be determined based on the exhibitor’s show record. Open-division classes, with the exception of cattle and halter classes, will be based on the horse’s show record; open-division cattle and halter classes are leveled by exhibitor record.
Levels based on exhibitor performance:
- Open youth/Open amateur/Open Select amateur
Levels based on horse performance:
- Open horse
AQHA staff and the AQHA Blue-Ribbon Task Force examined five years of data before deciding how to best approach restructuring AQHA shows and divisions.
“The data painted a clear picture that the middle level – what we call the Intermediate and/or Progressive levels – has been neglected, namely because we didn’t have a level to offer once a person left Novice,” said Patti Carter-Pratt, AQHA executive director of shows. “In 2011, we tested our first level – Rookie. In 2012, we put the Rookie level into effect and we’ve seen that it is indeed a true introductory level, and one that has had great success.
“For 2012, we needed to examine our data and decide how to best handle the other levels,” Carter-Pratt explained. “In addition to the data that was gathered by the AQHA Information Technology Department, we held two leveling program pilot shows that tested the ins and outs of leveling.
“The data, plus our findings from the two pilot shows – the Prairie Classic and the Silver Dollar Circuit – provided the basis for the rules approved in July by the Executive Committee,” Carter-Pratt added.
The following rules, effective January 1, 2013, were approved by the AQHA Executive Committee:
- A point earned in a Rookie, Green or Novice class will not count toward AQHA world championship show qualifying or AQHA Incentive Fund payout.
- A point earned in an Intermediate-, Progressive- or Open-level class will count toward world
- A point earned in an Intermediate or Progressive class has the same value as a point earned in an Open-level class (youth, amateur, Select amateur or open); the difference is in the number of points it takes to qualify to show an Open-level entry at the AQHA World Show or an Intermediate/Progressive entry.
When a class is leveled, the show management has the option of running the Intermediate/Progressive level and the Open level either as concurrent classes or as totally separate classes.
- For classes run concurrently or separately, the points available to the Intermediate/Progressive class will be based on the number of Intermediate/Progressive entries in the class.
- The number of points available to the Open-level entries will be the total number of both Intermediate/Progressive- and Open-level entries in the class.
With the exception of Rookie, which is a level based on lifetime achievement, level eligibility will be effective January 1 of each year and the exhibitor or horse will remain eligible for that level for the entire calendar year, regardless of the number of points earned during the year.
Further eligibility rules include:
- For the Novice, Green, Intermediate, Progressive and Open (youth, amateur, Select amateur, open) levels, point ranges will be determined based on the cumulative points earned during the previous three years as of November 1 of that year. New point levels will become effective January 1 of the following year.
- Throughout the year, horses or exhibitors can show “up” from the level they are eligible for,
- Once a horse points out of the Green level in AQHA classes, that horse can continue to show in
- An Open-level horse may drop back to the Progressive level in future years due to lack of points earned in the previous three-year period.
- Novice is another level where exhibitors may move in and out of the Novice/Intermediate level as the point ranges so dictate.
- An Open-level youth, amateur or Select amateur exhibitor may drop back to the Intermediate level in future years due to lack of points earned in the previous three-year period.
- If a horse places in the top-three in the Open level at the FedEx Open AQHA World Championship Show, that horse is not eligible for Green or Progressive levels for the subsequent three years in that class, regardless of points earned in the past three years.
- If an exhibitor places in the top three in the Open level at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA, Bank of America Amateur or Adequan Select world championship shows, that exhibitor is not eligible for the Novice or Intermediate level for the subsequent years in that class, regardless of points earned in the past three years. Additionally, if an open competitor places in the top three in halter or cattle classes at the FedEx Open World, that competitor is not eligible for the Novice or Intermediate level for the subsequent years in that class, regardless of points earned in the past three years.
- A horse in its first year of senior competition will automatically be eligible for Progressive classes unless the horse places in the top-three in the Open level at the FedEx Open World Show.
- Beginning in 2013, if a class is leveled, an exhibitor can show up to four horses. For example, in a leveled senior trail class, an exhibitor could show one horse in the Progressive level and three in the Open level, or two in Progressive and two in Open, or three in Progressive and one in Open, or four in Progressive, or four in Open.
For more details on the AQHA leveling program, go to http://www.aqha.com/leveling
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