AQHA Releases Leveling Changes For 2014

 

The AQHA leveling program groups horses and riders with their peers of similar experience and points earned.

The aim of the AQHA leveling program is to level the playing field, with the overall goal being to get more new people involved in showing their American Quarter Horses and drive the showing market in a strong direction.

Levels are formulated from an objective handicapping system that assigns exhibitors and horses to competition levels. That handicapping system is based on real data from AQHA shows.

Level eligibility is based on both points and awards earned. Level point ranges are designed to group horses and riders with their peers of similar experience and points earned.

How Leveling Works

Classes are leveled based on exhibitor or horse records. Level eligibility is based on both points and awards earned.

– Leveled by exhibitor record: youth, amateur, Select amateur, halter and cattle classes
– Leveled by horse record: open division classes (excluding halter and cattle events)

Definition of Experience 2013 Level Names 2014 Revised Level Names
Most highly accomplished – exhibitor Open Level 3
All points earned in the past three years, all divisions, all levels excluding Level 1
Most highly accomplished – horse Open Level 3
All open division points earned in the past three years, excluding Level 1
Moderately accomplished – exhibitor Intermediate Level 2
All points earned in the past three years, excluding Level 1
Moderately accomplished – horse Progressive Level 2
All open division points earned in the past three years, excluding Level 1
Minimally accomplished – exhibitor Novice Level 1
All points earned in the past three years, excluding Level 1 (horse) points; an exhibitor can return to Level 1 if the exhibitor has not earned any points in that class for 10 consecutive years and must meet the eligibility requirements per Rule SHW245.3
Minimally accomplished – horse Green Level 1
Lifetime points, all divisions, all levels excluding Level 1 (exhibitor) points
Beginner to few accomplishments – exhibitor Rookie Rookie
Lifetime points, all divisions, all levels excluding Level 1 (horse) points
Beginner to few accomplishments – horse Rookie Rookie
Lifetime points, all divisions, all levels excluding Level 1 (exhibitor) points

2014 Leveling Rules

The following rule changes will go into effect January 1, 2014:

Rookie

If a competitor is Rookie-eligible as of January 1, that competitor will remain Rookie-eligible through December 31, no matter how many points that competitor has earned through the course of the year.
The top 50 Rookie standings will be posted on www.aqha.com.
All other Rookie rules will remain intact, such as the fact that Rookie is a level based on lifetime points earned (no more than 10 points on the horse or rider). Refer to Rule SHW252 in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations for more on Rookie rules.

Level 1 (exhibitors – formerly Novice)

Three-year cumulative points earned by the exhibitor will be used to determine if the exhibitor is eligible to compete in Level 1.
Once an exhibitor points-out of Level 1, the exhibitor can only return to Level 1 in that particular class if the exhibitor has not earned any points in that class for 10 consecutive years and must meet the eligibility requirements per Rule SHW245.3 in the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations.
If a competitor has earned a top-10 placing in a class at an AQHA world championship show, that competitor will never be eligible again for Level 1 in that particular class.
If an exhibitor wins an equivalent of world or reserve world championship with any equine organization or association with a membership of 7,500 or more, including the National Collegiate Equestrian or Intercollegiate Horse Show associations, they will no longer be eligible for Level 1 in the corresponding AQHA class.
Winners of classes at the AQHA Novice Championship shows cannot return to Level 1 in that class.
If a competitor has earned an AQHA Superior, that competitor will never be eligible again for Level 1 in that particular class. If a competitor has earned a Superior or equivalent in any equine association with a membership of 7,500 or more, that competitor will never be eligible again for Level 1 in that particular class.
If a competitor has won a total of $5,000 in cash and prizes in a particular class with any equine organization or association, that exhibitor will never be eligible again for Level 1 in that particular class.
If a competitor has won an international or reserve international title in that particular class at the European Championships or German Championships, regardless if the class was an AQHA-approved class, that exhibitor will never be eligible again for Level 1 in that particular class.
Point ranges that determine the various levels will remain static for a three-year period; after that time, points will be recalculated and adjusted accordingly.
The top 50 Level 1 standings will be posted on www.aqha.com.

Level 1 (horses – formerly Green)

Lifetime points earned by the horse will be used to determine if the horse is eligible to compete in Level 1.
Once a horse points-out of a Level 1 class, that horse is ineligible to compete in Level 1 in that class for the subsequent years.
If a horse has earned a top-10 placing in a class at an AQHA world championship show, that horse will never be eligible again for Level 1 in that particular class.
The Level 1 point range for horses is 0-25 points.
The top 50 Level 1 standings will be posted on www.aqha.com.

Level 2 (exhibitors and horses – formerly Intermediate and Progressive)

An AQHA world or reserve world champion will not be eligible for Level 2 competition for the subsequent three years.
AQHA year-end high-point certificates will be awarded to the high-placing exhibitor/horse in each class, based on points earned in Level 2.
Points earned in Level 2 will count toward world show qualification and AQHA Incentive Fund points and payouts.
The top 50 Level 2 standings will be posted on www.aqha.com.

Classes and levels will be monitored periodically by the Blue-Ribbon Task Force and AQHA staff. Should anything out-of-the ordinary appear to warrant an adjustment, the Blue-Ribbon Task Force will look at those classes.

Level point ranges will remain static for three years. At the conclusion of the three-year period, all points earned in each class will be evaluated and the new point-level ranges will be recalculated.

Find Your Level for 2014

To aid with level verification, the AQHA Blue-Ribbon Task Force will be working with the AQHA IT Department to develop a Web-based verification system for 2014 that will aid members in finding their level. The verification system will have the ability to be operated in the Web browser of any device, including computers, smart phones and tablets.

Stay tuned to www.aqha.com/showing for the launch of the level verification system.

Per the 2014 rule changes, level point ranges will remain static for a three-year period, meaning the level point ranges will remain the same 2013 to 2014.