August 1, 2014
By Becky NewellThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Lameness check point sign at the 2014 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.
There has always been a procedure in place for AQHA judges to follow when they encounter a horse being shown that is obviously lame. Now AQHA has a system in place to check every horse for obvious lameness prior to that horse entering the show pen.
“We had a procedure in place for the judges when they encounter an obviously lame horse – one that we believe doesn’t need to be in the show pen – in their classes,” says Pete Kyle, AQHA executive director of shows and judges. “In both performance and halter classes, a horse shall automatically be disqualified if three or more judges call the horse lame during the class. Now, beginning at the Ford Youth World, we are implementing mandatory lameness checks on every horse prior to that horse entering the show ring.”
The lameness checks are being conducted by AQHA stewards, and will be done at the 2014 Adequan Select and AQHA world championship shows this fall, too.
“If the stewards determine the horse is ‘obviously lame,’ as described in Rule SHW325 of the AQHA Official Handbook, the horse will be disqualified from competition and not allowed to enter the show arena,” Pete says. “If the horse is not ‘obviously lame,’ it will be allowed to show in the competition where the final determination will be made by the five judges.”
This rule also applies to help horses – those used, for example, in cutting or by the ringmen helping with the roping classes.
“None of us want to see an obviously lame horse being forced to show,” Pete adds. “And the comments we’ve gotten from exhibitors, owners and trainers just today – the first day of the Youth World – are all extremely positive.”