The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has joined forces with the American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) through the selection of twenty-seven talented young horsemen and women for participation in the 2015-16 AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program.
The AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program intends to engage the youth in raising yearlings, completing projects and furthering themselves as horsemen by pairing AQHYA members with weanlings raised by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders.
The program was created to give willing AQHYA members the opportunity to receive hands-on exposure to horse breaking and training while allowing them to learn the fundamentals of horsemanship. The horses used in the program were bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, all of which are working cattle ranches with a remuda of at least five AQHA-registered mares that produce ranch horses. The participating Ranching Heritage Breeders offered weanlings for the program participants to judge, select or purchase, raise and train.
“The Young Horse Development Program was developed to help youth gain hands-on experience in training horses,” says AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines. “The program gives youth a mentor to learn from and showcase their hard work and dedication to their project. This will, in turn, give participants a skill set that will set them apart when applying for scholarships, college and jobs.”
While raising their weanlings-turned-yearlings, the program participants will document their monthly progress; participate in monthly webinars; complete monthly management assignments; and track goals, such as competing in AQHA, 4-H, FFA or local horse shows; engage in mentoring sessions with local AQHA Professional Horsemen; and compile a video of themselves with their horse completing an in-hand trail pattern. Following project completion, a select number of scholarships and prizes will be awarded.