If competition is what you crave, you should check out APHA’s Amateur program.

APHA has three Amateur Divisions that gives people the opportunity to compete comfortably at their skill level:

  • AMATEUR for seasoned competitors who are not professionals.
  • NOVICE AMATEUR a more introductory level; it is possible to be Novice in some categories and Amateur in others based on  points, money earnings and/or championships.
  • AMATEUR WALK-TROT is a division for those that only want to walk-trot which gives people an additional level to choose to participate in. Please note that shows are not required to hold APHA-approved Walk-Trot classes.

To qualify for the APHA Amateur Program, exhibitors must be 19 years old & over as of January 1 of the current year and follow the remuneration and judging restrictions under rule AM-010. Please familiarize yourself with the Amateur Rules for eligibility, ownership, and competition in the APHA Rule Book.

READY TO SHOW? Follow these steps:

Amateurs can only hold one of the following eligibility cards at a time:

  • Amateur
  • Novice Amateur/Amateur*
  • Amateur Walk-Trot

Once an Amateur has selected/purchased an eligibility card, they will have the option to reclassify ONCE within the calendar year. To reclassify, a member must submit a reclassification application and pay the $15 fee.

*Novice Amateur eligibility is based on an exhibitors lifetime points, money and/or title earnings with APHA and other equine associations.

Renewed Eligibility for Novice Amateur Status: An individual who has prior points, World or Reserve World Championship title, or money earnings in a category, may have their Novice Amateur status in that category restored if, in the 10 years prior to their re-application, they have not earned, any performance points, money or a World Champion or Reserve World Champion title in any recognized equine association, in that category, including but not limited to APHA, AQHA, ApHC, IBHA, PHBA, PtHA, AHA, AMHA, ABRA, NCHA, NBHA and/or NRHA. Exhibitors that want their Novice Amateur status restored and meet the requirements must submit a Novice Amateur Reinstatement
application to the APHA office.

The Amateur, Novice Amateur and Amateur Walk-Trot applications are available online. You can find the Amateur (Amateur, Novice Amateur, Walk-Trot), Reclassification, Novice Reinstatement forms online by clicking here.

Amateur cards run Jan 1- Dec 31 of each year and must be renewed annually. These cards are separate from the APHA membership, but an individual membership is also needed prior to purchasing your Amateur Eligibility Card.

Upon acquiring your American Paint Horse, you will need to transfer your horse’s ownership. A transfer report can usually be found on the back of your horse’s original registration papers, or you can download a transfer report online. Exhibitors attending an upcoming event may need to submit a rush fee and have their transfer paperwork rushed. The recorded owner on the official APHA registration papers of a horse at the time of the show can affect the divisions in which the horse is eligible to show.

Amateur Walk-Trot Division—The horse may be owned by any person or group of people. However, to be eligible for APHA points, titles, awards, and to compete at the World Show, the horse must be owned by the Amateur exhibitor or the Amateur exhibitor’s family. For a list of approved family relationships, please see rule AM-020 in the Official APHA Rulebook.

Each year, APHA approves over 1,200 shows in the United States, Canada, and abroad. Chances are there’s a show near you. For a list of upcoming events in your area, please refer to our Calendar of Events or contact your local APHA Regional Club. Show Calendar

Are you new to showing with APHA? Follow these steps to ensure a successful first show experience:

Its time to load the trailer and head out to your first show. Here are some essential items that you need to pack:

  1.  Health and/or Coggins Papers—Check with show management and your State Veterinarian’s office to determine exactly what paperwork is required to transport your horse to the show facility.
  2.  Membership and Enrollments Cards—Your membership card and/or enrollment card, or a legible photocopy, must be presented at the show.
  3.  Registration Papers—A copy of your horse’s registration papers must be presented at the show. Amateur and Youth exhibitors must be able to prove ownership by presenting the APHA registration certificate or a legible photocopy with the correct owner’s name printed on the certificate by the APHA office.


APHA allows students to show a horse from their college’s equine program in the APHA Amateur or Novice Amateur classes. So, if you sold your horse before going off to college; passed him on to a younger sibling; or are just too far away from his pasture now, this program gives you an opportunity to continue to show. For those new to Paint shows, it provides a great chance to begin your showing career.

The first criterion required for students to take advantage of this opportunity is to qualify for Amateur or Novice Amateur status. Then they must submit an application that includes a signature from the college’s equestrian team coach or equine program instructor, a list of the horses on which the student wishes to compete, verification of the student’s enrollment in at least 12 credit hours, and a photocopy of their student identification. For APHA purposes, the spring semester is designated from January 1 – June 30, with the remainder of the year denoted as the fall semester. in the APHA Amateur or Novice Amateur classes.

Application to Show a College- or University- Owned Horse

QUESTIONS? Contact APHA’s Performance Department at amateur@apha.com.