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Types of Awards

A wide variety of AQHA awards recognize your achievements in the show pen with your American Quarter Horse.

To view all the guidelines regarding AQHA achievement awards, refer to the SHW800 section in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations.  

Registers of Merit – There are three Registers of Merit; racing, halter/performance halter and performance. A Register of Merit, or "ROM," is awarded in these instances:

  • Racing ROM – A horse must have received at least one official speed index rating of 80 or higher in racing. A racing ROM is based on speed index rating only and not racing points.
  • Performance ROM – Exhibitors must have won at least 10 points in one or more events in their respective division. No horse can be advertised as a Register of Merit winner in any specific performance class without having won at least five points in that specific class.
  • Halter/Performance Halter ROM – Exhibitors must have won at least 10 points in halter/performance halter classes.

Superior (Event) Horse – A Superior award will be awarded to any stallion, mare or gelding in the open division, or in the amateur and youth division to the contestant and his/her horse in their respective division, that earned 50 or more points in one event, except for the title of Superior race horse, which requires 200 points. Refer to Rule SHW810 in the AQHA Handbook for additional Superior event horse award guidelines.

Performance Champion – This will be awarded to any stallion, mare or gelding in the open division, or in the amateur and youth division to the contestant and his/her horse in their respective division, that has earned three individual performance Superior Event Horse awards.

Supreme Performance Champion – This will be awarded to any youth or amateur earning six youth or amateur Superior Event Horse awards with the same horse in performance events; not including halter/performance halter.

All-Around – A trophy will be awarded in the open, amateur, Select amateur classes and/or youth division to any horse earning the title of all-around the first time it earns the all-around title under the current record ownership. If that horse earns another all-around title in another division – open, amateur, select amateur classes and/or youth – the owner may purchase a similar trophy if the show does not award it. The trophy will be awarded to the highest scoring stallion (except in the youth division, where stallions are prohibited, unless otherwise allowed), mare or gelding in events in shows approved by AQHA. Once the first-time complimentary trophy has been awarded, AQHA will subsequently award specially designed certificates to any horse earning the title of all-around or reserve all-around each time the title is earned in each division - open, amateur, select amateur classes and/or youth. Refer to Rule SHW803 in the AQHA Handbook for additional all-around award guidelines.

Superior All-Around – This will be awarded to any individual youth or amateur exhibitor/horse combination or any stallion, mare or gelding in the open division that has earned 50 or more all-around titles.

Versatility Award – This will be awarded to any stallion, mare or gelding in the open division, or an amateur or youth with any one horse in their respective division, that has earned 65 points in eight events with a minimum of 10 points earned in each of five separate events and five points earned in each of three additional events. Halter/performance halter does not count toward the Versatility Award.

Grand Champion – This will be awarded in the open, amateur and/or youth division(s) to any horse earning the title of grand champion if there are five or more horses exhibited in the sex division (in a halter class). A trophy will be awarded to a horse the first time it earns a grand championship in each division – open, amateur and/or youth – under the current record ownership. If the horse subsequently earns another grand championship under the same ownership, the owner may purchase a similar trophy if the show does not award it.

AQHA Champion – An AQHA Champion title will be awarded in the open division to any stallion, mare or gelding, or in the amateur and youth division to the contestant and his/her horse in their respective division, that earns a total of 35 or more points in AQHA-approved competition or races (for open AQHA champions only), providing that:

  • Points have been won in five or more shows and under five or more different judges;
  • A minimum of 15 of these points have be earned in halter/performance halter classes, with a minimum of eight points being earned during or after the horse's 2-year-old year. In open division only, at least two grand championships with five or more horses in the sex division must have been earned under two different judges with at least one of them being earned on or after the horse's 2-year-old year and/or two performance halter champions, with five or more in the class;
  • A minimum of 15 of these points must be earned in performance events with a minimum of five points having been earned in each of at least two categories of performance events.

Supreme Champion (open) – This will be awarded to any stallion, mare or gelding that has earned two official speed index ratings of 90 or higher (AAA) and earned a total of 40 points in recognized halter/performance halter and performance classes at five or more shows and under five or more different judges approved by AQHA or in races recognized by AQHA. Refer to Rule SHW808 in the AQHA Handbook for additional guidelines regarding the Supreme Champion award.

Supreme Champion (amateur, youth) – This will be awarded when 50 points with one horse are earned in recognized halter/performance halter and performances classes at five or more shows and under five or more different judges providing that:

  • A minimum of 15 of these points must be won in youth or amateur halter/performance halter classes, eight of which must have been earned during or after the horse's 2-year-old year;
  • At least 20 points must be earned in youth or amateur performance events, with a minimum of five points having been earned in each of at least four categories of performance events as set forth in Achievement Awards (Rule SHW805);
  • The remaining 15 points may be won in either youth or amateur halter/performance halter or youth or amateur performance events.

Year-End High-Point Horse – This will be awarded annually based on the number of points earned by an individual horse in the open division or an amateur or youth with any one horse in their respective division during that year's competition, in each AQHA-approved event in which points are awarded.

Year-End High-Point Exhibitor (open) – This will be recognized based on the number of points earned by an individual in the open division during that year's competition.

Year-End High-Point All-Around – This will be given to the horse in the open division, and the amateur and youth with any one horse in their respective division, earning the most points in halter/performance halter and performance classes at AQHA-approved shows.

Intermediate of the Year (amateur, youth) – This will be awarded to the amateur and youth accumulating the most points on a one horse-one amateur/youth basis in the following divisions:

Amateur

  • 30 & under
  • 31-49
  • 50 and over

Youth

  • 11 & under
  • 12-14
  • 15-18

Special Achievement Recognition – This will be noted on a horse's record for outstanding achievements in special events not approved by AQHA. To learn about the criteria for which special events results will be accepted, refer to Rule SHW817 in the AQHA Handbook.