AQHA Equine Health, Welfare Subcommittee Releases Statement

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Equine Health, Welfare, Integrity, and Research Subcommittee (EqHWIR) on Dec. 21 released a statement in regards to the "welfare of the racing American Quarter Horse," according to a post on the AQHA website:

"The welfare of the racing American Quarter Horse is a priority for those involved in the industry, as well as AQHA. The Association and its racing department have an oversight responsibility when it comes to problems--including medications--that threaten the safety, integrity and viability of the racing American Quarter Horse. The subcommittee was developed to tackle industry issues and develop recommendations to keep jockeys and horses safe. The AQHA is a member of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

"Rule 302 in the AQHA 'Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations' states that 'Without necessity of referral or recommendation by stewards, to enhance penalties and sanctions, AQHA reserves the right to independently direct disciplinary action or sanction against individuals coming under AQHA recognition by their participation in American Quarter Horse racing conducted under the provisions of the AQHA Official Handbook and regulated by duly authorized state racing commissions.'

"The EqHWIR will monitor each situation and work with state racing jurisdictions involving medications, abuse and other issues concerning American Quarter Horses and at the appropriate time recommend penalties to the AQHA Executive Committee against the offender(s).

"The EqHWIR strongly encourages all AQHA Members and horsemen to work with their respective racing stewards, commissions and the AQHA Racing office and to report any person violating the rules and regulations of the state, Association of Racing Commissioners International and AQHA to protect the horses, horsemen and fans that enjoy and participate in the sport of American Quarter Horse racing and all horse racing."

According to, 1,013 race days are scheduled at 29 tracks nationwide for 2012.

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