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Don’t Forget: New APHA Rules in Effect as of January 1

A new year means new rules—and new opportunities—for Paint Horse lovers. The following rules  were proposed and passed at the 2017 APHA Convention and became 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 2018 rule book here.

Show Management

AM-120.M.—Whenever possible, during the breakaway roping, recommends to have a flagger instead of a judge.

AM-141.A.3.—Show managers may choose to use mechanical cows or flags for the cow work portion of Amateur and Youth Working Cow Horse classes.

SC-095.C-D.—Upon written request, the Executive Committee may approve single classes for APHA points. Such APHA approved classes must use an approved APHA judge and follow APHA rules. Also allows APHA horse shows to hold concurrent classes with other equine associations.

SC-110.A.—Requires show managers to be an APHA member in good standing.

SC-115.A.—Requires show secretaries to be an APHA member in good standing.

YP-075.A. (as clarified)—Requires shows to hold at least five 13 & Under classes that are not able to be combined. Exception: Zones 12, 13, 14 


AM-125.E.1.—Removes the 5-second penalty in speed events for the exhibitor losing their hat.

SC-075.A.4. (as clarified)—Requires raised logs to be placed on a block or cup that the log can roll free from if hit.

SC-160.S.5. (as clarified)—At the discretion of the judge a horse may be disqualified for the exhibition of blood or abuse, taking into consideration of how the injury occurred. The judge’s decision is not protestable.

SC-200.A.3. (as clarified)—Requires a “non-ornamental leather” brow band for English bridles.

SC-255 (clarified)—In Western Riding Pattern #1, walk at least 15′ from the start cone before transitioning into a jog over the log.

SC-255.G.2.e.-f.—Hind legs skipping or coming together during a lead change and a non-simultaneous lead change is now a one point penalty instead of a half point penalty.

SC-280.B.5.—Judges may award reruns when the chute malfunctions or cattle leave the arena.

SC-285.C.6.—Changes the time limit from 90 seconds to one minute.

SC-286—Separates the team roping from steer stopping in the APHA rulebook.

SC-302.C. (as clarified)—Restricts cross-overs in the ranch horse classes to include hunter under saddle horses.

Point Calculations & Divisions

AM-010.A.2.—Requires Amateur applicants to refrain from professional activities or remuneration for 36 months prior to their application; this rule will help APHA to come within some of the same guidelines as other breeds.

AM-250.A.22.-24. (as clarified)—Move Ranch Riding to a more comparable category for novice eligibility; Ranch Pleasure and Ranch Trail also move to their own categories for the same purpose.

YP-075.A. (as clarified)—Allows 13 & Under exhibitors the option of showing up into an 18 & Under/all-age youth class or in their own 13 & Under division class, on a class-by-class basis. This requires shows to hold at least five 13 & Under classes that are not able to be combined. Exception: Zones 12, 13, 14 

YP-110F.8.-10. (as clarified)—Creates Youth Walk-Trot Ranch Horse Trail, Ranch Horse Pleasure and Ranch Horse Reining.

YP-205 (as clarified)—Eliminates POA from the other association points considered for novice eligibility in the Youth and Amateur divisions.


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

About APHA
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international 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.