10 Reasons to Own a Ranching Heritage Horse

A quick insight to the benefits of owning an AQHA Ranching Heritage-bred horse.

The American Quarter Horse Association

Competing in Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges is an exclusive opportunity for Ranching Heritage Challenge-enrolled horses. Journal photo

While the American Quarter Horse Association Ranching Heritage Breeders program is slightly new to AQHA, the ranches that take part are not. The program was established in 2011 and has been growing ever since. Here are a few reasons why.

Reason 1: Own a horse that’s a part of history.

To be approved as a Ranching Heritage Breeder, ranches must have been breeding American Quarter Horses for at least a decade, though many participating ranches have actually been around for centuries. There’s other criteria that must be met in order to be approved, like using horses for daily ranch work, which keeps the program true to its roots.

Reason 2: Compete at exclusive events.

The AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders program includes the  Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges, a series of ranch horse competitions – six shows and a finals event, which is slated for June in Guthrie, Oklahoma, in conjunction with the Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships.

Reason 3: Compete with your horse in the division that’s right for you.

Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges offer divisions based on horse age and rider experience. In general:

  • Open 
  • Cowboy
  • Amateur
  • Limited amateur
  • Youth 
  • Limited youth

See this full list of class rules.

Reason 4: Challenges offer a variety of classes.

  • Working ranch horse
  • Limited working ranch horse (box-drive-box)
  • Ranch riding
  • Barrel racing (offered at some challenges)
  • Team roping (offered at some challenges)

Reason 5: Ride to win tens of thousands of dollars.

Each Challenge features $15,000 added, plus jackpotted money! The Zoetis Ranching Heritage Finals features $30,000 added money.

Reason 6: But wait – there’s even more money to be earned.

At 11 of the industry’s top events, the Ranching Heritage Breeders program pays out $250 to the owner and $250 to the ranch that bred the highest-placing RHB horse.

Reason 7: Your horse’s registration certificate won’t look like any other.

For horses raised by Ranching Heritage Breeders, the Ranching Heritage logo appears on the beautiful registration certificate.  

Reason 8: Youth with RHB yearlings have one of the neatest opportunities in the horse industry.

AQHYA members can apply for AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program and then either receive a Ranching Heritage-bred weanling or purchase an RHB weanling. Training begins at the end of the gelding or filly’s weanling year, then on into its yearling year. Participating youth develop their horses, track their progress and compete to win scholarships and prizes. Bonus – they have an amazing horse to keep.

Reason 9: They're versatile, too!

Ranching Heritage horses excel at more than ranch horse classes, like A Red Bird, who won the Level 3 13-&-Under jumping title at the 2017 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show, or HR Dry Smart Jewel, who was the Level 2 reserve champion yearling filly at the same event.

Reason 10: Thousands of great horses!

Ranching Heritage Breeders have bred thousands of horses, which carry long-standing bloodlines whose abilities are recognized worldwide. Find a breeder who offers horses to match your goals.  

Call 806-376-4811 to find out if your American Quarter Horse was bred by an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder.