Learn how you can qualify for the 2015 AQHA Novice Championships

AQHA has officially confirmed that the Novice (Level One) Championships East will be held at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington this fall. With such a big show right in our own backyard, many in the Roanoke region may be wondering how they can take part.

The first and most basic step is that you must be an AQHA member and have your Novice card. And of course you must be riding a registered quarter horse as well. ([Please note that due to Level 1 rules, the competitor does not have to own the horse that he or she shows at the Novice championships.) Six divisions will be offered at the show: Amateur, Select, 14-18, 13 & under, Rookie Youth and Rookie Amateur.

Then you must qualify for the championships (The qualifying period for the 2015 Level 1 Championships is July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015.) This can be done 4 ways.

  1. Show at 20 shows in a Level 1 class; if a show does not offer the Level 1 class, contact the show manager or show secretary to add the class. 
  2. Place in the top 10 in a Level 1 class at a Merial AQHA regional championship show; a top-10 placing qualifies the rider on that horse only. Virginia is part of Region 5 with Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
  3. Qualify through the exhibitor’s state/provincial affiliate. The top three individuals in each Novice class offered at the Novice Championship shows that are not nationally qualified will be invited to the Novice Championship shows as a Virginia Quarter Horse Association qualifier. Points are computed in the same manner as points for year-end awards.
  4. Enter Rookie classes if eligible. To enter a Rookie class, the exhibitor only needs to be eligible for that Rookie class as of January 1; there is no qualifying method for Rookie classes. Keep in mind the horse that you intend to bring for the class must also be Rookie eligible. Eligibility for a Rookie-level class depends on both the horse and the rider’s show records: Both of you must have less than 10 lifetime AQHA  points in that class on your show records. However, you can have points in another class and still qualify as a Rookie in a new class. You remain Rookie eligible through the year, no matter how many points you accumulate throughout the year.

Each horse-and-rider combination will pay a $325 flat entry fee, which will include the entry of up to three classes, office and drug-testing fees, plus one stall. Tack stalls may be purchased for $100, and exhibitors will also need to pay for shavings. Each additional class, after three, will cost an additional $35 per class. No classes are offered on an individual basis without the $325 flat fee being paid first. No class entries will be taken on-site.

The videos below offer a little of a glimpse into past Novice Championships shows. Only a few years old, these shows have been growing each year. With 1,562 total entries in the championship in 2013 and 2,726 entries in 2014, the 2015 horse show is estimated to involved between 700 to 1,000 horses and several thousand people.

 
 
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