While reading AQHA’s America’s Horse magazine one day last year, I came across an article about how AQHYA members could receive a free weanling, and participate in the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program (YHDP). The YHDP is a yearlong program in which selected youths, ages 12 -18, raise, train, and show an American Quarter Horse weanling. To apply for the YHDP, you must send in an application, sign a waiver, and include an essay on, “Why I would like to own and raise an American Quarter Horse Weanling.”
The weanlings are donated to the YHDP participants by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders across the United States, and are eligible to compete in the AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge. The weanlings are paired up with the selected youth participant. Once in the year-long program, the youths are required to show their young horse in a either an AQHA, 4-H, or local show. They also must meet with an AQHA Professional Horseman/woman who will evaluate how well they trained the horse. The Professional Horseman/woman will also test their skills on horse anatomy, and the proper way to show a horse. Also, participants must send in a monthly report on training progress.
The YHDP sounded very interesting to me, and I felt I was ready to challenge myself by starting my own young horse, so I decided to apply. Shortly after I heard the exciting news that I was one of the selected participants for the 2014-15 Young Horse Development Program! After a few weeks, my new weanling colt made the journey from the Raymond Sutton Ranch in South Dakota to my home in California. My new colt, RWS A Legendary Rio, is a sorrel colt with a very friendly and sweet personality. I really enjoyed working and showing Rio this past year. He is now one and a half years old now and nearly as big as my other quarter horse!
The Young Horse Development Program program would be great for any youth who has a passion for working with horses, especially if they want to challenge themselves by starting their own young horse. Being in the year-long program teaches you many new things about horses, as well as being a better trainer. Also, through Facebook, you are able to get to know other participants in the program throughout the United States. The program also allows youths to get more involved in AQHA and the horse industry. At the end of the year, all the monthly training reports are graded, and scholarships and prizes are awarded to the top five participants. I really enjoyed the program while I was in it and I know future YHDP participants will, too. To learn more about the YHDP or to apply for next year visit AQHA Young Horse Development.
Written By, Malabie Newman. Share this on Facebook if you’d like to see more great programs for Youth Riders!