Qualifications 101

Have you ever tried to figure out how to qualify a horse for an AHA Competition? Does it seem like you need a road map to navigate the qualifications needed for AHA Regional and National Shows? If so, here are some quick points to remember as you head off to your show:

  • Qualifications are earned during the current show year up to the time of the Regional or National show and the entire previous calendar year (i.e. for the 2016 show year the previous year's start is January 1, 2015).
  • Qualifications are not "used up". As an example, you may use the same qualification for a Regional and a National Championship class. If you show at Regional(s) or National(s) they EXPIRE after the qualification period.
  • Qualifications must be obtained in the same section (i.e. to qualify for Arabian Hunter Pleasure Open Championship - any Arabian Hunter Pleasure class will qualify). Note that additional rules for "Amateur" and "Amateur Owner" may preclude the use of some classes within the section. View point requirements here.
  • The number of points a horse receives is based on the number of horses in the class the time the gate closes. Horses will earn one point for every horse in the class that they beat PLUS one for themselves. Points are awarded through sixth place. Click here for more information.
  • The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) or Equine Canada (EC) "family" definition must be met to compete in Amateur Owner classes.
  • If a horse is qualified for an Owner or Amateur class - ANY age Owner or Amateur can show the horse.
  • Amateur or Amateur Owner points can be used by a professional, but not the other way around.
  • If the ownership changes, the new owner can use all the qualifications the horse has, including the previous owner's qualifications.
  • For Amateur Owner classes, the ownership transfer must be pending in the AHA office or must be on file with AHA or the Canadian Registries. Qualifications will not count toward ownership classes until this requirement has been met.
  • In addition to qualification points, a first or second place at an AHA Recognized Show (excluding Arabian Community Shows) qualifies you for Regional classes.
  • Performance and halter qualifications follow the horse.
  • Equitation/Showmanship qualifications follow the exhibitor.
  • National qualifications for Equitation must be obtained through AHA Medal Classes (Medal or Medal Points). Qualifications for Equitation at Nationals may also be obtained through a Regional Top Five in that particular Equitation class. Note: Medal Classes DO NOT qualify you for a Regional Equitation class, only regular Equitation classes at AHA qualifying shows can be used to qualify you for Regional Equitation classes.
  • Top Tens from any show and Regional Top Five, Champion or Reserve Champion do not qualify a horse for any Regional Championship classes.
  • A Champion, Reserve Champion or a Top Five placing from a Regional, East Coast or Pacific Slope or a Champion, Reserve Champion or Top Six placing from an Eastern or Western Canadian Breeders are automatic qualifications for Nationals.
  • Qualifying for an Achievement Leveling class (Select/Choice/Elite) is a two part process. The horse must be qualified in that section and the rider must not exceed the number of points the level requires.
  • Achievement Leveling points can be viewed for a rider under the member login on the AHA website. Click on the "Horse/Rider Points and Competition Records". Click on "Leveling Points" and either place a name or member number to view a record. Note: the number of points needed to determine an Amateur's or Youth's level have changed for 2016. Click here to view now.
  • Open qualifications can be used to qualify for Regional and Nationals in the following disciplines, Cutting, Working Cow Horse, Reining, Reined Cow, Dressage, Eventing, Combined Driving, Carriage Pleasure Driving, Driven Dressage, Working Hunter, Jumper, and Hunter Hack. The program is $45 per year as long as you enroll before your first event. For Regional Championships, open qualifications must be earned within the region you are trying to compete at. Click here for more information.

Remember that there are additional rules regarding qualifications. To see a more comprehensive explanation, please view "Qualifications 101".