How to Qualify for the 2017 AQHA Level 1 Championships

December 9th, 2015 8:08 AM | 1 Comment

[source: AQHA]

[photo credit: the Quarter Horse Journal]

[photo credit: the Quarter Horse Journal]

The American Quarter Horse Association has released the qualification guidelines for the 2017 AQHA Level 1 Championships. To earn an invitation to the 2017 Nutrena East, AQHA West or AQHA Central Level 1 Championships, exhibitors must qualify in one of four ways within the qualifying period of January 1 – December 31, 2016.


1.    Show at 20 AQHA-approved shows.

  • Shows will be counted by show numbers on a one-horse, one-rider basis in any class; for questions about how many show numbers a show will count for, competitors should ask the presiding show manager or secretary.   

2.    Place in the top 10 in any Merial AQHA Regional Championships class

  • A top-10 placing qualifies the rider on that horse only.
  • If your region does not host a Merial Regionals, you can participate in a region that is offering one. For information on participating in another region, visit for the list of 2016 Merial Regionals. Call AQHA Customer Service at 806-376-4811 or log-in to AQHA’s member services area and order a performance record on the horse you placed with to verify your top-10 placing.
  • Participation in a pointed show held in conjunction with a Merial Regionals will count for one of the 20 shows, but will not count for the “regional championships qualifying.”            


If not nationally qualified, an exhibitor can qualify as an AQHA state/provincial affiliate qualifier.

3.    Qualify through a state/provincial affiliate.

  • If the exhibitor’s affiliate has a qualifying method, the exhibitor must qualify through their resident state/provincial affiliate.
  • If the exhibitor’s affiliate does not have a qualifying method, the exhibitor must nationally qualify or qualify through another affiliate.
    • To qualify through another affiliate, the exhibitor must be a member in good standing with that affiliate (other than the state/province affiliate you reside in) and be selected by that affiliate as a qualifier. Check with your affiliate on its qualifying method and ask where you stand on their list of qualifiers.


4.    Enter Rookie classes before the entry deadline. (No qualification method is necessary for Rookie classes.) 

  • Rookie classes will be offered for exhibitors and horses that are eligible for the Rookie level as of January 1, 2017, for the Nutrena East, AQHA West or AQHA Central Level 1 Championships.
  • The horse you intend to bring for the class must also be Rookie eligible.
  • Call AQHA Customer Service at 806-376-4811 or visit to verify your and your horses’ Rookie eligibility.

Before you can qualify, first you must determine if you are eligible to compete at the Level 1 Championships. Eligibility is determined on a class-by-class basis. Look up your eligibility or visit for more information regarding AQHA’s leveling program.

According to AQHA Rule SHW245.3, if an exhibitor wins a class at a Level 1 Championships, that exhibitor is no longer eligible to compete in that class at any future Level 1 Championships; however, if an exhibitor is Level 1-eligible, the exhibitor can continue to show in that class in any other Level 1 competition.

The 2016 AQHA West Level 1 Championships will return to the South Point Equestrian & Events Center in Las Vegas, April 20-24. The 2016 Nutrena East AQHA Level 1 Championships is May 4-8 at the Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina, with the newly added 2016 AQHA Central Level 1 Championships April 13-17 at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. For more information on the Level 1 Championships, visit

As a proud sponsor of the Nutrena AQHA East Level 1 Championships, Nutrena delivers optimum nutrition, exceptional health and world-class performance for your animals. Whether you keep animals around for fun, competition or work, you can trust Nutrena to provide the right nutritional solutions.


One Response to “How to Qualify for the 2017 AQHA Level 1 Championships”

  1. How do you know when and where aqha shows are?

Leave a Reply