USDF and AQHA Encourage Participation in Dressage More American Quarter Horses Excel in the Sport

For Immediate Release
Friday, July 15, 2005

The United States Dressage Federation and The American Quarter Horse Association are pleased to announce that a joint initiative to support and encourage the American Quarter Horse in dressage has been extended.

Initially, to address growing demands for dressage recognition, AQHA announced a one-year trial program to evaluate the number and scores of American Quarter Horses competing in dressage at approved United States Equestrian Federation/United States Dressage Federation and Canadian Equestrian Federation shows. That period has been extended another year in order to fine-tune the scoring system. AQHA's Show Committee is preparing to examine the figures to see how many horses have participated, how many exhibitors are members and evaluate how the proposed test score table is transferring over into point values. (No points will be awarded during this time period.) The amount of participation during this trial period will determine the future of the program.

AQHA strongly encourages dressage participants to turn in their test scores now. "We are excited to have the program in place and hope the level of participation grows to secure the recognition dressage competitors and American Quarter Horses deserve," said AQHA Executive Vice President Bill Brewer.

In order to make the process of providing scores to AQHA as easy as possible, owners of USDF registered horses can visit the USDF Web site at and download their score check, which will include all rides for the current USDF competition year. This score check can be sent to AQHA in lieu of individual score sheets. In addition, USDF will be providing detailed data to AQHA on those American Quarter Horses who compete in dressage, in order for AQHAs Show Committee to evaluate the number of American Quarter Horses participating at USEF/USDF competitions and the scores being attained at the various levels.

In the past, American Quarter Horses that have excelled in dressage have received limited recognition. AQHA's Best of Americas Horse Program recognizes the top performers competing outside AQHA-approved shows. Competitors receive prizes but no points. AQHA also has participated in USDF's All-Breed Award Program for many years. This is the first time since 1994 that the issue of formalizing dressage recognition within AQHA has begun to move in a positive direction.

"We are very excited to be able to support AQHA during their trial period. As a sport enjoyed by riders of all ages and horses of all breeds, we encourage all American Quarter Horse owners to learn more about dressage and USDF," said Cindy Vimont, USDF Senior Director of Member Services.

Stipulations for the trial period:
  • Exhibitor membership requirements are encouraged but not required.
  • Owners must register the horse with USDF (HID or Lifetime Registration) and provide a copy of horses breed papers to USDF, in order for USDF to register the horse with the AQHA registered name and number. (The horse may compete under another name.)
  • Horse must be a registered American Quarter Horse.
  • The trial period will continue throughout 2005 to gauge interest.
  • Horses will not accumulate official points during the trial period.
  • Horses will not be Incentive Fund eligible at this time.
  • Dressage is not a World Show event.

Proposed requirements for future AQHA Dressage Recognition:
  • Exhibitors must comply with AQHA and USDF membership requirements.
  • Exhibitors must meet AQHA eligibility requirements for open, amateur or youth participation.
  • Owners must register the horse with USDF (Lifetime Registration) and provide a copy of horses breed papers to USDF, in order for USDF to register the horse with the AQHA registered name and number.
  • Approved events will initially be held at existing USEF/USDF shows, judged by USEF judges; or Canadian Equestrian approved dressage shows, judged by Canadian Equestrian judges.
  • USDF will provide data to AQHA for exhibitors competing at recognized USDF competitions.
  • Exhibitors competing at approved Canadian Equestrian dressage shows will send score sheets to AQHA for processing.
  • AQHA will use a chart to transfer percentage scores to point values.
  • Maximum point values will be set for each level to encourage advancement to higher levels.
  • Year-end high-point awards and a recognition program are being developed.

The Amarillo, Texas-based American Quarter Horse Association was founded in March 1940 and is the worlds largest single-breed equine registry and membership association, with more than 4.5 million American Quarter Horses registered and AQHA membership numbering more than 351,000. To learn about AQHA membership or programs, call (806) 376-4811 or visit

Founded in 1973, the United States Dressage Federation is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to education, recognition of achievement, and promotion of dressage. For more information about USDF membership or programs, visit, email, or call (859) 971-2277.