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AQHA Young Horse Development Scholarship Winners

Filed under: Club & Show News,Club and Show News |     

AQHA Publicity

Since January, 40 American Quarter Horse Youth Association members have recorded their progress training a yearling bred by an American Quarter Horse Association Ranching Heritage Breeder. Recently, four AQHYA members were named scholarship winners for the 2021 AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program.

In first place, earning a $2,000 scholarship and custom belt buckle is Lily Thomas of Longmont, Colorado. Thomas’ Ranching Heritage-bred horse is Setumup Badger, a 2020 buckskin colt by Setumup Bucky out of Smart Boons Badger by Peppy From Heaven. The colt was bred by Scott West of West Brothers Inc. in Lusk, Wyoming.

Second place goes to Paige Soper of Baldwin City, Kansas. She receives a $1,500 scholarship and Justin Boots gift certificate. Soper worked with Boxo Heavens Joan, a 2020 sorrel filly by SNW Heavens King out of Heel A Strait Lady by Bar Heels Jack. Box Heavens Joan was bred by Jecca Ostrander of Box O Quarter Horses in Gordon, Nebraska.

Mesa Svedberg of Hardin, Montana, was third with her colt, Si Di Royal Rojo. The 2020 sorrel colt is by Si Di Olena out of Carrie D Royal by CD Royal. The colt was bred by Dan and Marcy Davis of Davis Quarter Horses in Sonnette, Montana. Svedberg receives a $1,000 scholarship and $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

Fourth place goes to A. J. Kendrick of Shallowater, Texas. He receives a $500 scholarship and $100 Wrangler gift certificate. Kendrick worked with Spade Pepto Celia, a 2020 sorrel filly by Whos Foolin out of Spade Delivery Celia by Range Delivery. The filly was bred by Wesley Spade of Spade Ranches Ltd. in Lubbock, Texas.

The Young Horse Development Program was created in 2011 to give AQHYA members an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of horsemanship. The horses used in the program are bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, which are working cattle ranches with a remuda of at least five AQHA-registered mares that produce ranch horses. The participating Ranching Heritage Breeders donate weanlings for the program participants to evaluate, raise and train. Young Horse Development Program participants get to keep their horses.

“The Young Horse Development Program was designed to allow youth participants an opportunity to get hands-on horse experience,” said AQHA Senior Director of Member Programs Karen McCuistion. “The program is an excellent opportunity to connect these young adults with the equine industry and provides a solid foundation for their education and future career path. In turn, their experience in the program turns into a valuable set of skills that will carry them forward as members of our industry.”

The Young Horse Development Program participants raise their weanlings-turned-yearlings and document their monthly progress; participate in webinars; complete monthly management assignments; track goals; engage in mentoring sessions with local AQHA Professional Horsemen; and compile a videos of themselves with their horse completing assignments including trailering, an in-hand trail pattern and more. Following project completion, a select number of scholarships and prizes are awarded.

The priority deadline to apply for the 2023 AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program is August 15, 2022, with a final deadline of October 1 to apply.

To learn more about the program, visit

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA on Twitter and visit

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