Paint Alternative Competition (PAC)

We know that your riding and driving activities are as diverse as the color patterns on the Paints we register. Through the Paint Alternative Competition Program, you can get recognition for accomplishments in competitive events outside of APHA approved shows or for just spending time in the saddle with your Paint. Your community likely offers plenty of competitive events for horses and riders such as 4-H shows, team pennings, open shows, ropings, horse trials, and other activities that fall outside the category of “APHA-approved events”. Even though APHA is not officially associated with these events, the association does want to recognize your efforts with your American Paint Horse. The PAC program has multiple programs that feed into it such as PAC Recreational Riding, E-Shows, and other events outside APHA. As a result, your accomplishments can be recorded on your registered horse’s official lifetime performance record through PAC. PAC is an affordable way to get your Paint involved with APHA, just as the program’s presenting sponsor, State Line Tack, makes riding affordable by offering products at a variety of price ranges!

PAC Recreational Riding

Did you know? PAC credits will be awarded for all hours spent riding! We know that you spend countless hours exploring trails, taking lessons, training your promising next show horse, all for those few minutes in the show pen. You can earn PAC credits for those hours by logging and submitting them monthly. These hours count towards perpetual and year end recreational riding PAC awards.

Ride for personal achievement. When you enroll in PAC, simply record each hour you spend riding or driving your Regular Registry or Solid Paint-Bred Horse (not including at APHA approved shows or competitions) and send your log to APHA. As you move up through the achievement levels, APHA records your accomplishments and each hour you and your Paint Horse achieve is permanently recorded on your horse’s official lifetime performance record. Check out our Guide to Recreational Riding for tips on trail safety and how to get the most out of your time in the saddle!


NEW: E-Shows now count for Paint Alternative Competition program

Paint Horses participating in APHA E-Shows—who are also enrolled in the PAC program—can use their placings to earn PAC credits on their horses’ APHA performance records, which tally toward incremental and year-end awards. APHA will also approve other select virtual shows administered by approved organizations and for classes that are not offered at APHA E-Shows; pre-approval of the event (via the PAC Virtual Event Approval Form) is required before outside virtual shows will count toward PAC credits. To view the PAC approved virtual events, visit the PAC Events Calendar page.


How to Participate in PAC

  • Horse:
    • Ride or drive an American Paint Horse—Regular or Breeding Stock Registry.
    • Horse must be enrolled in the PAC program.  Annual enrollment fee is $30 per horse or for two or more horses $27.50 per horse. PAC enrollment forms can be found on the PAC Forms page.
  • Owner/Exhibitor:
    • Owner & exhibitor or rider must be a current APHA or AjPHA member.
    • Participants do not have to own the horse.
  • PAC Showing:
    • PAC Exhibitor Reports can be submitted for Credits for any live show, or approved virtual show, as long as the show results are retained for one year and classes are open/all-breed classes (credits cannot be earned from national breed associations such as AQHA, PtHA, ApHC, etc but can be earned from national or local discipline associations such as NSBA, USEF, USHJA, NCHA, NRHA, etc). Because our members show their Paints in such a wide variety of classes, classes that are submitted for credits are grouped into PAC Award Categories. Show management must simply sign off on the exhibitors report form before submission. The exhibitor report forms can be found on the PAC Forms page.
  • PAC Recreational Riding:
    • Time may be recorded for any activity in which you participate by riding or driving. You can also log time spent in the saddle or cart while riding in a group or parade. However, The same hours cannot be accrued for recreational riding and submitted in a PAC Exhibitor Report for credits at any one time. Example: If credits are earned for competing and placing at a horse show in Trail, the same hours spent riding in that competition cannot be submitted for recreational riding credits also.
    • Participants must maintain a separate log on each registered American Paint Horse enrolled.
    • Keep track of time (one hour for each hour actually spent riding or driving) on the Official PAC Recreational Riding Time Log found on the PAC Forms page.
    • All time figured is on a one-horse/ one-rider basis and is on the honor system.
    • Participants are responsible for submitting PAC Recreational Riding hours to the association each month.
  • What do you earn?
    • PAC Credits will be awarded to the enrolled Paint’s PAC record and will count for perpetual and year end awards. See the PAC awards offered as well as the PAC Year-End Awards standings at the bottom of this page.

PAC Informational Flyer (English)/(French)/(German)

Following are the PAC categories and their description that have been pre-approved by APHA . Classes are grouped within each category as staff sees fit. Examples of where classes are categorized can be seen below.

Open Class Categories

  • Barrel Racing—Restricted to cloverleaf
  • Eventing —Includes USEA approved events. Fill out the PAC Combined Training Exhibitor Report form for Eventing PAC credits.
  • Color Class- classes judged on coat color alone (classes based on confirmation should be listed as halter)
  • Cutting—Includes NCHA, ACHA, and CCHA approved events. Classes include Cutting, Ranch Cutting, etc.
  • Dressage—Includes traditional, western and eventing dressage, as well as USDF, USEA, and WDAA-approved events. Fill out the PAC Dressage Exhibitor Report form for Dressage PAC credits.
  • Driving—Includes pleasure and utility driving and ADS-approved events
  • Endurance — Includes NATRC and AERC approved rides
  • English Pleasure—Includes all non-breed registry-sponsored competition (AQHA, APHA, PtHA, etc), such as NSBA-approved events. Classes include bridle path hack, hunter under saddle, English pleasure, Country pleasure, Dressage Suitability, etc.
  • Equitation—Includes Western, Ranch, Bareback, and English-style equitation. Classes include Western Horsemanship, Hunt Seat Equitation, Stock Seat, Bareback Equitation, Equitation on the Flat, etc.
  • Games—Includes cowboy mounted shooting, key hole and other games. (Cloverleaf barrels do not count in the Games category.)
  • Halter—Not to include Color classes. Classes based on confirmation only. Classes include Halter, Grand or Reserve Champion Halter, Ranch Confirmation, Hunter-In-Hand, Hunter Model, English Young Model, Confirmation, etc.
  • Handicap Competitions—Competitions approved by a nationally recognized organization, such as NARHA.
  • Over Fences—Includes all variations of jumping in all non-breed registry-sponsored competition (AQHA, APHA, PtHA, etc), such as NSBA or USEF/USHJA approved events. Classes include Hunter Hack, Working Hunter, Equitation Over Fences, Handy Hunter, Jumpers, Jumping, Hunter Derby, Ground Rail, Crossrails, Gambler’s Choice, etc.
  • Recreational Riding – Exhibitors 19 & Over – non-competitive riding. Fill out the PAC Recreational Riding Time Log for Recreational Riding PAC credits. Hours can be logged for trail rides, lessons, fox hunting, clinics, etc. Hours logged while riding in State or National Parks are counted double.
  • Reining—Includes snaffle bit, hackamore, open and NRHA-approved events. Classes include Reining, Freestyle Reining, Ranch Reining, etc.
  • Roping—Includes team roping, heading, heeling, tie-down roping, steer stopping and breakaway roping, as well as USTRC and USCRA-approved events.
  • Showmanship—Includes all in-hand competition except for Longe Line and In-Hand Trail. Classes include Western, English/Hunter, or Ranch Showmanship, Liberty, Suitability for Dressage In-Hand, Fitting & Showing, Grooming & Conditioning, Cowboy Dressage-POG Dressage, Cowboy Dressage-Liberty Dressage
  • Team Penning/Ranch Sorting—Includes all non-breed association-sponsored competition (AQHA, APHA, PtHA, etc).
  • Timed Events—Restricted to pole bending, barrel racing other than cloverleaf, stakes racing.
  • Trail—Includes all non-breed association sponsored competition (AQHA, APHA, PtHA, etc), such as NSBA-approved events. Classes include Western, Ranch, or Hunter/English Trail, Walk/Jog Trail, 2 y/o and older In-Hand Trail, ACTHA, Cowboy Obstacle Race, Challenge Cowboy Dressage, Trail or Obstacle Challenges, etc.
  • Walk Trot – leadline, all walk-trot classes except games, showmanship, over fences and trail classes or 4-H classes.
  • Western Pleasure—Includes all non-breed registry-sponsored competition (AQHA, APHA, PtHA, etc), such as NSBA-approved events. Any Western rail class judged on horse’s movement, not rider’s posture and ability. Classes include Western Pleasure, Ranch Pleasure, Stock Horse Pleasure, Ranch Rail Pleasure, Jack Benny, 2 y/o and older Longe Line, Western Dressage Suitability, etc.
  • Western Riding—Includes all non-breed registry-sponsored competition (AQHA, APHA, PtHA, etc), such as NSBA-approved events. Any Western pattern class judged on horse’s movement, not rider’s posture and ability. Classes include Western Riding, Ranch Riding, Ranchmanship, etc.
  • Working Cow Horse- Includes Working Cow Horse, Ranch Cow Work, Boxing, Mechanical Cow Flag, etc.
  • Yearling Performance—Longe Line, in-hand trail

Youth Class Categories (must denote that the class is youth)

  • Youth Barrel Racing
  • Youth Halter
  • Youth Dressage
  • Youth English Pleasure
  • Youth Equitation
  • Youth Games
  • Youth Recreational Riding
  • Youth Showmanship
  • Youth Timed Events
  • Youth Trail
  • Youth Walk-Trot
  • Youth Western Pleasure

4-H Class Categories (must denote that the class is 4-H)

  • 4-H English performance
  • 4-H English showmanship
  • 4-H Western performance
  • 4-H Western showmanship
  • 4-H Halter
  • 4-H Timed events
  • 4-H Dressage

Can I receive Paint Alternative Competition (PAC) credits for APHA E-Shows?

Yes, the Board of Directors have approved APHA E-Show for PAC approval. Credits are based on your placing and how many horses participate in the class.

Can I receive PAC credits for other virtual horse shows?

Yes (conditionally). The virtual show MUST submit a written request prior to the show dates and be approved by APHA, and only classes that are NOT offered in APHA E-Shows will be approved for PAC credits. To view the list of PAC approved virtual shows, visit the PAC Events Calendar page.

How do I receive PAC credits for an APHA E-SHOW or virtual horse show?

First, you will be required to enroll your horse in the PAC program. Once you have enrolled in the PAC program, you will need to complete a PAC Exhibitor Report form available at apha.com/programs/pac/forms/.

I am already enrolled in PAC, and I showed in an APHA E-Show prior to this approval. Can I receive PAC credits for the APHA E-Shows I’ve already competed in?

Yes, you will just need to complete and submit the PAC Exhibitor Report form and based on your placings you could earn PAC credits. You have 90 days to make any changes/additions to your PAC record.

I have a virtual horse show. How do I get it approved as a PAC event?

To get your virtual horse show PAC approved, you need to submit the PAC Virtual Event Approval Form. Please note, APHA will not approve virtual shows that offer the same classes as APHA E-Shows.

How do I get more information on APHA’s E-Shows?

To get more details on upcoming APHA E-Shows, you can go to apha.com/showing/e-shows/. We also regularly post information on social media so be sure to follow APHA on Facebook and Instagram.

How do I find out what virtual shows have been approved?

Virtual shows that have submitted their request for PAC approval and have been approved will be posted in the PAC Events Calendar.

Do I need to have my non-virtual (Live) horse show approved as a PAC event?

No, a normal, non-virtual horse show does not need to be approved for PAC—they have blanket approval. You will just need to follow standard PAC rules that can be found at the top of the PAC Forms page.

What are the general rules for Virtual Horse Show PAC credits?

All PAC rules apply for the APHA E-Shows and other virtual horse shows. For more information on PAC rules and regulations, go to the current APHA Rulebook.


PAC Certificate of Recognition- Earned when a PAC enrolled horse earns at least 20 Credits in any one approved category. Also earned when a PAC enrolled horse earns 500 Recreational Riding hours.

PAC Certificate of Achievement- Earned when a PAC enrolled horse earns at least 60 Credits in any one approved category. Also earned when a PAC enrolled horse earns 1,500 Recreational Riding hours.

PAC Superior Achievement- Earned when a PAC enrolled horse earns 10,000 Recreational Riding hours.

PAC Open Versatility Champion- Earned with a PAC enrolled horse earns the PAC Certificate of Achievement in 5 different Open Categories.

PAC Youth Versatility Champion- Earned with a PAC enrolled horse earns the PAC Certificate of Achievement in 5 different Youth or 4-H Categories.

PAC Recreational Riding Achievement Award Levels:

25 Recreational Riding hours= 1 Credit towards Recreational Riding Perpetual awards

100 Hours- At each level rider will receive a completion certificate and patch
500 Hours- Certificate of Recognition in Recreational Riding
1,000 Hours
1,500 Hours- Certificate of Achievement in Recreational Riding
2,000 Hours
2,500 Hours
3,000 Hours
3,500 Hours
4,000 Hours
4,500 Hours
5,000 Hours
6,000 Hours
7,500 Hours
10,000 Hours- Superior Achievement

More details about PAC Awards can be found in the current APHA Rulebook.

PAC Year-End Leaders- The PAC enrolled horse that earns the most credits during the calendar year in a given category. A horse must have earned at least 10 credits in that category during that year to qualify.

Open Six PAC Top Five- The top 5 PAC enrolled horses that earned the most credits in at least 6 different open categories.

Youth Six PAC Top Five- The top 5 PAC enrolled horses that earned the most credits in at least 6 different youth categories.

Six PAC Champion- The single PAC enrolled horse that places first in at least 6 different categories on the PAC Leader’s List in a single year.

More details about PAC Awards can be found in the current APHA Rulebook.


1st & 2nd in the following divisions: Open, Junior/Young Rider, Adult Amateur, & Vintage Cup
View Galleries on SmugMug