Have you been toying with the idea of showing your Paint Horse? We probably don’t need to sell you on the joys and rewards that come with competition. But, you might appreciate a little help navigating all the options and opportunities available to you. Where do you begin?
For starters, all you need is an American Paint Horse and an APHA membership. For some of these programs, you don’t even need to own that Paint Horse to participate, although we do encourage you and are happy to help you transfer the papers into your name. The next step is to figure out what you want to do and where you want to do it. Easier said than done? Never fear. We’re here to guide you through the process of choosing the right APHA program for you.
Do you want to show your Paint?
—> Yes, but I want to show locally in open shows.
If you’d like to stay closer to home and compete against horses of all breeds, then our Paint Alternative Competition (PAC) Program is the perfect fit. You don’t need to own the horse you show.
—> Yes, but I’ve never competed in APHA shows before.
APHA’s Novice Amateur or Novice Youth divisions, where you’ll compete with exhibitors with similar experience levels, are the perfect way to start. We suggest contacting your nearest APHA club to see if they offer a smaller show for you to test the waters. Many put on special Novice-only shows, combined with clinics, tailor-made for getting started in breed shows.
—> Yes, but I only want to compete in ranch sorting, reining, barrel racing, dressage, etc.
Paint Horses are incredibly versatile, and you’ll find them in nearly every discipline. You can show in your favorite and collect APHA titles and awards along the way through the PAC Program. These events are sometimes also approved for APHA points as “special events” — email our Performance Department at email@example.com for more info.
—> Yes, I’d like to step up and compete at a bigger show, but it’s intimidating.
We get it. You’re rocking the local shows, but the thought of going head-to-head with a world champion is a little scary. That’s why we developed the Paint Horse Championships series at smaller shows across the country. Check out the eligibility criteria here and read about a recent event in Florida.
—> Yes, and I’d like to qualify for the World Show.
You’ve got big dreams; we’ve got trailers full of cash and prizes waiting to be won. But first, you’ll want to read up on the World Show Qualification guidelines. Just remember that the Youth World Show is open to everyone—no qualifying required.
—> Yes, but I have special needs.
Check out our Challenged Horseman and American Paints Program (CHAMPS) or contact the APHA directly if you need an adaptation in order to participate in an APHA-approved class.
—> Yes, but I don’t own the Paint I want to show.
Not the owner? You can still show the horse in the Open division at APHA-approved show or look into filing a show lease to compete in the Amateur or Youth divisions.
—> No, thanks. I’d rather trail ride.
No problem! Relax and enjoy the ride in our PAC Recreational Riding Program, where the APHA rewards you for time spent riding or driving an American Paint Horse.
Want to learn more? Head on over to the Showing section of our website, where you can find a show near you, download the show lease form, or find a trainer. Or get your questions answered directly by a warm and friendly APHA employee by email or by calling 817-834-2742.
[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.]
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’s mission is to inspire, nurture, promote and provide meaningful experiences to generations interested in preserving the versatile Paint Horse.