AQHA: Find Your Level for 2021 |

AQHA: Find Your Level for 2021

Before you show, use the online AQHA system to determine eligibility

When entering classes at approved American Quarter Horse Association shows, exhibitors are required to provide proof of their level eligibility to show management. Exhibitors can print their level eligibility or save a digital copy on their phone for presenting to show management during the 2021 show season. To determine level eligibility for 2021, visit to access the Web-based AQHA leveling verification system within member services. Eligibility is for the entire year (January-December), so exhibitors only need to determine their level once per show season.

How AQHA Levels Work

AQHA youth, amateur and open divisions are divided into levels. The levels – Rookie, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 – are formulated from an objective handicapping system that assigns exhibitors and horses to competition levels.

Classes are leveled based on exhibitor or horse records. Level eligibility is based on points with AQHA, awards earned with AQHA and other equine associations, and money earned with AQHA, alliance partners and other equine associations. Find specific level-related guidelines within the AQHA official handbook, beginning with SHW245.

Classes leveled by exhibitor record: youth, amateur, Select amateur and open halter and cattle classes. Search for level eligibility for those classes by exhibitor membership ID through the AQHA member portal.

Visit to use the level verification system. The online system will show you the levels you and your American Quarter Horse are eligible for in 2021. Photo courtesy AQHA

Classes leveled by horse record: open classes (excluding halter and cattle events). Search by a horse’s registration number to determine its eligibility through the AQHA member portal.

“We want to offer the best experience possible for our showing members, including the opportunity to compete within a level playing field of similarly accomplished exhibitors and horses. That helps add value to the AQHA showing experience and encourages more participation at approved shows,” said Justin Billings, AQHA chief show officer. “AQHA levels allow riders and horses to compete against others with like experience. Exhibitors and horses can compete in levels above their level eligibility, but it restricts those who are no longer eligible to compete in the minimally accomplished levels.”

Visit to use the level verification system. The online system will show you the levels you and your American Quarter Horse are eligible for in 2021.

For exhibitors looking to compete in Level 1 amateur and youth classes, a Level 1 eligibility application must be filed and updated each year to disclose achievements, including those earned outside of AQHA competition. All Level 1 exhibitors need to complete the Level 1 application and return it to AQHA prior to competing. Previous Level 1 application information on file with AQHA may conflict with current eligibility or alliance partner earnings, which would affect the eligibility being shown on the level verification system. In accordance with SHW252.1, accuracy of eligibility is the responsibility of the exhibitor.

New for 2021

Exhibitors 70 years of age or older are not subject to the typical 10-year waiting period required for returning to Level 1 in a particular class after pointing out. The new rule was a member-driven initiative approved at a previous AQHA Convention and only applies to those exhibitors 70 or older by January 1. SHW246.1 outlines the specifics which include restrictions for exhibitors who have earned additional achievements listed in SHW245.3.1-SHW245.3.5.

If assistance is needed in verifying level eligibility, the AQHA Show Department is available to help at 806-378-5083 or use the Contact Us form.


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