At last, someone is willing to reward us for doing what we love.
The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) will give you free stuff for riding your horse. Yep, it IS that easy. The AQHA Horseback Riding Program isn’t a new development, but it’s gone surprisingly under the radar.
While the AQHA is probably best-known in the equestrian world for breed showing, the Association supports the Quarter horse in all forms: showing, ranching, and recreational riding, whether on the trail or in the arena. For those of us who don’t show and therefore may be missing the opportunity to record our accomplishments in the saddle, the AQHA has set up a riding rewards system called the Horseback Riding Program, sponsored by Professional’s Choice and Smartpak.
The program is simple, though you will need an AQHA membership to enroll. Enroll online or over the phone, pay a one-time fee and then start logging your hours in the saddle. That’s it! You don’t even need to be riding a Quarter horse–the program sponsors both a Quarter horse division and an all breeds division, both with a registration fee of just $35 (or you can sign up for both for $70.) You can choose to either log your hours on hard copy and mail them in, or even simpler, log them online and receive your rewards right away.
As a sneak peak, the 50-hour reward is a $25 Smartpak gift card. Seriously, that’s $25 bucks to spend at Smartpak just for riding your horse which you would be doing anyway. Progress up the levels of hours and you’ll earn gear for your barn and feed room, plenty of Smartpak dollars, trail riding gear and Professional’s Choice boots and saddle pads. The big 5,000 mark will earn you a Montana Silversmith belt buckle as well as a special commemorative patch.
For someone like me that isn’t planning on returning to the show ring any time soon, but logs 5-6 hours a week just hacking around the farm and moving cows, this is really a no-brainer. To learn more and sign up online, get started at the AQHA website’s riding page. I’ll see you out on the trail!
Red was a tired kid after chasing wayward cows for three hours in deep snow. But a good horse throughout. Switching horses for the afternoon. #redthecowpony A photo posted by Kristen Kovatch (@thehorsebackwriter) on
Go riding! (And start earning rewards!)