Straight Talk

Find out how focus groups and surveys conducted across the show industry will help direct the next step of the AQHA leveling program.

By Patti Carter-Pratt
The American Quarter Horse Journal
July 12, 2013

Patti Carter-Pratt

Visit the Straight Talk archive at www.aqha.com/straighttalk to read more from AQHA Executive Director of Shows Patti Carter-Pratt. (AQHA file photo)

A little more than a year ago, I wrote my first blog. Straight Talk was meant to be an outlet where I could converse with you, the member, on a personal level. In the last several months, my blogging has dropped off, and for that I want to apologize.

Since my last blog, some of AQHA’s biggest endeavors as of late got off the ground. Those would be the inaugural AQHA Novice championship shows and the AQHA leveling program. Both came about as a means to recognize competitors – entry- and mid-level exhibitors and horses – who were long due some recognition.

As we all know, the fully effective leveling program was set to coincide with the launch of the AQHA database upgrade. However, the need to revert back to the former database system meant that part of the leveling program – the Intermediate and Progressive levels – would need to be temporarily put on hold.

During this temporary hiatus, AQHA staff and the AQHA Blue-Ribbon Task Force are using this time to study the show industry and survey competitors.

To collect exhibitor feedback, we are taking two avenues. A portion of exhibitors will receive a survey via email, while other surveys will be sent to focus groups across the United States. Considering the vastness and intricacy of the AQHA show industry, we’re quite excited to analyze the results from these widespread surveys, using them to hone our levels.

The Blue-Ribbon Task Force already has several new features in store for the leveling program in 2014, with the potential for more program alterations and additions once the survey feedback has been analyzed.

From all the calls, emails and conversations I have received in the past two months, I can see that our owners and competitors are really missing the Intermediate and Progressive levels. On that note, AQHA staff and the Blue-Ribbon Task Force are hard at work to make sure those levels will re-join the class line-up at your favorite shows.  

As the AQHA executive director of shows, Patti Carter-Pratt's mission at AQHA is to find more and better ways to improve AQHA members’ experiences with their American Quarter Horses. With that in mind, she wants to keep show managers, exhibitors, trainers and judges in the know, plus hear their feedback on new programs and changes they would like to see in the industry. To keep the communication lines open, Patti started a blog, named Straight Talk.