Op-Ed: The AQHA Wants To Do What?

The American Quarter Horse Association has released its 2023 Stud Book and Registration Committee Agenda items. One item on the agenda has garnered quite a bit of social media attention. Kayla Zielke weighs in on the proposed item:

Featured clockwise from top left: Metallic Cat, Big Chex To Cash, Poco Bueno, Smart Little Lena, Colonels Smoking Gun, Zippo Pine Bar

In the past week a post made its rounds on social media regarding the stud book and registration committee meeting agenda for the annual American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) convention and it immediately went viral. So let’s dig into the nitty-gritty.

Every year the AQHA hosts its annual convention in Fort Worth, Texas. The convention holds various meetings on different AQHA topics throughout the five days. Any AQHA member can make a request to have a ruling brought to discussion during these meetings. The meeting agenda for the stud book and registration committee was posted on social media. Although there were many items on the agenda, with a single ruling was highlighted and has since garnered much attention. The ruling read:

Amend REG102 to require all foals to be health panel tested by two years of age to be eligible for registration. Any foal who carries one copy of any defect must be spayed/gelded to receive papers.

On the surface, this seems to be a great move that would only strengthen the breed as genetic defects get bred out. But what would AQHA look like if this ruling were to be passed and any horse would require a negative 6 panel disease test to be registered?

For starters, here are some of the stallions that would not be eligible to reproduce under this ruling (past and present):

  • Metallic Cat
  • Dual Rey
  • Smart Little Lena

  • A Smooth Guy
  • Wimpys Little Step
  • Zippo Pine Bar

  • High Brow Cat
  • Poco Bueno
  • WR This Cats Smart
  • Colonels Smoking Gun
  • Lil Joe Cash
  • Big Chex To Cash

Recognize some of them?

While in a perfect world it would be great to have the AQHA completely disease free, it’s just not realistic. If we look at just the cutting bred side of the AQHA, we would quickly realize how small the gene pool would become if only genetically clean horses were allowed to reproduce. The entire industry is based off of big names such as Metallic Cat, Dual Rey and Smart Little Lena, all of whom are not 6 panel clean. Not only would this constrict the gene pool, but also it would axe the value of most Quarter Horses in the registry as they would not be eligible to reproduce.

Theoretically one could say that the entire cutting industry would go to grade horses or would need create its own registry. Most of these industry-building stallions are only carriers of HERDA or GBED, both of which are recessive genes and through selective breeding and likely will never become a problem in the resulting offspring.

I strongly believe this ruling will be passed over just as quickly as it was brought up at the convention.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the Facebook comments.