Modifications Approved for AQHA Stewards Program
A change is coming to American Quarter Horse Association competitions, as modifications to the AQHA stewards program roll out in 2016. Under these modifications, stewards will now be assigned to specific regions, will no longer be permitted to actively show in AQHA competition and will be required to attend steward seminars to expand their knowledge on animal welfare.
Modifications to the AQHA stewards program began in 2015. The AQHA Stewards Task Force, appointed by the AQHA Executive Committee, assessed the program and developed ideas for enhancements. The task force proposed that the stewards program be dissolved to allow the program to be rebuilt from the ground up to ensure that the American Quarter Horse is treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times. This recommendation was approved by the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission, then by the AQHA Executive Committee.
From there, the task force redesigned and rebuilt the program.
“The Stewards Task Force reviewed the number of AQHA-approved shows in the United States and Canada, and used these numbers to break the areas into multiple regions,” said Alex Ross, AQHA senior director of judges and stewards. “The goal of the program modification is to have AQHA stewards assigned to specific regions, but to also have the allowance for stewards to work outside their designated region.”
There will also be a difference in the number of stewards on hand.
“The number of stewards will be reduced to allow for more continuity in stewarding decisions,” Ross added.
The AQHA Executive Committee, Animal Welfare Task Force and AQHA staff will develop a long-term goal to provide an increase in funding for the modified AQHA stewards program so that a higher number of AQHA competitions can be stewarded.