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Be ready for new APHA rules beginning January 1

A new year means new rules—and new opportunities—for Paint Horse lovers. The following rules  were proposed and passed at the 2016 APHA Convention and become official beginning January 1. Read up on these modifications and arm yourself with the most recent information to have a stress-free year.

Find the full 2017 rule book here.

Clubs & Organization

  • AIX-1: Requires Regional Club officers and their Executive Board members to carry a membership to show support of the organization it is responsible for promoting.
  • GR-010. A. 7–8: Amends the rule change proposal rules to more closely match the current method used since moving to one meeting a year.


  •  RG-110 E.: Requires all breeding stallions to be genetic tested by DNA and have a genetic panel test on file with APHA prior to registration of their foals that result from breedings occurring after January 1, 2018.  Tests to include HYPP, PSSM, MH, GBED, HERDA and OLWS.

Several fees are also changing beginning January 1.

Show Management

  • SC-100 A. 1.: Allows a single-judge show to offer a clinic in conjunction with the show, with the official judge serving as the clinician.
  •  SC-105 B. 2:  Adds an exception for livestock shows and state fairs that allows them to hold one Paint-O-Rama with up to three judges per year without APHA Regional Club sponsorship.
  • SC-105 A. 4: Allows judges to consult between each other regarding disqualifications, 5-point penalties or 3-point penalties as long as a person designated by show management is present during the consultation.
  • SC-105 B. 1: Allows back-to-back two-judge shows to be judged simultaneously by all four judges in the same classes as allowed for PORs to aid in time management.
  • SC-105 B. 1:  Allows show sponsors the flexibility of offering a variety of show formats if they choose as long as both shows are offered by the same show sponsor or if both show sponsors are in agreement to work together.
  • SC-105 B. 2. a. 1. a:  Allows halter classes only to be judged simultaneously (not to exceed 10 judges in the arena at one time) during back-to-back POR and Zone shows.


  •  SC-165 C. 2: Allows Solid Paint-Bred and Regular Registry Paint Horses to compete together in scored and timed classes only, but awards points based on the number of horses competing in their respective registry type.
  •  SC-175 M.: Adds Performance Halter as an approved APHA class for the Open division.
  •  SC-185 E. 4–5: Restricts horses from being shown in performance classes prior to May 15 of their yearling year and restricts 2-year-old horses from showing in a performance class prior to May 15 with some exceptions.
  •  SC-192 F.: Changes the obstacle requirements for Yearling In-Hand Trail from a minimum of six to four and a maximum of eight to six to align with the Walk-Trot division rules.
  •  SC-250 I.: Standardizes trail obstacle rules with other associations eliminating confusion for the judges and show managers.
  • SC-255 D. 1: Allows Green Western Riding patterns to be used for Novice Youth and Novice Amateur Western Riding.
  •  AM-300 F. 4: Changes the maximum number of obstacles in the Amateur Walk-Trot division from six to eight obstacles.

Have questions? Email showing@apha.com for help.

Point Calculations & Divisions

  •  SC-206 D. 1: Adds lifetime money earnings under saddle of no more than $2,500 to the eligibility criteria for horses to compete in green classes.
  •  SC-246 D. 1: Adds winning a bronze medal from the Erste Westernreiter Union (EWU) to the eligibility criteria making a horse ineligible to compete in green classes.
  •  AM-060 : Allows points earned in Yearling Longe Line, 2-Year-Old Longe Line, and Yearling In-Hand Trail to count towards all APHA year-end awards.
  •  AM-080 A.: Changes the recognized Amateur division to Amateur 19 & over and Masters 45 & Over and allows Masters Amateurs to choose which class to compete in.

Read more about Amateur rules here.  Have questions? Contact Director of Amateur Activities Savanna Robbins at 817-222-6440 or srobbins@apha.com.


  •  JU-000 C. 2 : Requires halter specialty judges to be approved through the APHA Specialty Judge Program.


  •  RA-030 D.: Adds an annual racing participation fee for all race starters to fund proposed regional racing awards.
  •  RA-060 H.: adds a new annual regional racing award presented to breeder, owner, trainer in five regions: Northwest, Eastern, Central, Southwest and Canada.


 [Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]

About APHA

The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.