Quarter Horse Congress, the “world’s largest single‐breed horse show,” is opening its doors to more breeds in certain classes.
According to a recent press release from the Ohio Quarter Horse Association (the governing body of Quarter Horse Congress), now off-the-track Thoroughbreds registered with the Jockey Club may compete in Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle Futurity and Stakes classes. So can Appaloosas, Buckskins, Palominos and Paints, as long as they are registered with the proper association. And they’re not just competing for fun–the Western Pleasure futurity has an entry fee of $3000 and a first-place prize of $30,000, while the Hunter Under Saddle futurity has a $2,500 entry fee and $15,000 first-place prize.
This change in breeds allowed does not apply to AQHA breed shows across the U.S., just to the Quarter Horse Congress.
It’s old news that Thoroughbreds may be cross-bred with Quarter Horses, and that the resulting Appendix horses can compete in Quarter Horse breed shows (and even qualify for a Register of Merit to ‘become’ a full Quarter Horse). But as far as I could find out, this is the first time pure Thoroughbreds and other non-Quarter Horse breeds have been invited to compete at Congress, the largest and highest-profile Quarter Horse breed show in the U.S. You can find out more about the change at the OQHA website.
Tell us what you think, Horse Nation–good move or bad? Do you think that opening up classes to more breeds will spark more interest (and more prize money) for Quarter Horse Congress? Or is it a slippery slope?
Fun Fact: In researching this piece I found the answer to something I’ve always wanted to know: Why is a Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred cross called an Appendix? It turns out that when Thoroughbreds were first allowed to enter the registered Quarter Horse gene pool, the AQHA created an appendix to their breed registry to list them and their QH/TB offspring–hence, an “appendix horse”!