From the Office of Craig Huffhines

A Look Back at 2018

AQHA shares highlights of the Association’s memorable moments from 2018.

Please enjoy this look back at 2018, compiled by the AQHA Media team.

As we start 2019, it's always fun to look back at great moments from the year we're leaving behind. For AQHA, 2018 was filled with incredible moments for our industry.

Please enjoy this look back at 2018, compiled by the AQHA Media team.


  • Crago Cattle Co. of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, was named the 2017 Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year. The award, presented by AQHA and the AQHA Ranching Committee, recognizes Ranching Heritage Breeders who continue to uphold the ranching tradition. Crago Cattle Co. is operated by the Crago family. 
  • For the first time in more than 15 years, a horse became a repeat racing world champion. Jessies First Down, owned and bred by Ted G. Abrams of Houston, was honored as the 2017 World Champion Racing American Quarter Horse. 
  • AQHA's Swiss affiliate hosted leadership from the European membership region affiliates at the AQHA European Summit.



  • At the 2018 AQHA Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Jim Heird of College Station, Texas, was elected the Association's president, succeeding Ralph Seekins of Fairbanks, Alaska. Stan Weaver of Big Sandy, Montana, became the first vice president, and Butch Wise of El Reno, Oklahoma, became second vice president. Dr. Scott Myers of Sharon Center, Ohio, joined Norman Luba of Louisville, Kentucky as members of the AQHA Executive Committee.
  • Eleven legends were inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame at convention: Princess Abigail Kawananakoa of Nuevo, California; Dr. Tom Lenz of Louisburg, Kansas; late AQHA Past President Gene Graves of Grand Island, Nebraska; Georga and the late Raymond Sutton of Gettysburg, South Dakota; and the late Robert Sutherland of Kansas City, Missouri; the 1949 mare Maroon (TB), the 1960 stallion Otoe, the 1985 stallion Runaway Winner, the 1985 stallion Smart Chic Olena and the 1963 stallion The Ole Man. Learn more about the class of 2018.
  • Cathy Hanson of Fallbrook, California, was presented the 2017 Merle Wood Humanitarian Award.
  • Dan Trein of Seville, Ohio; Holly Hover of Cave Creek, Arizona; and Gretchen Mathes of Harwinton, Connecticut, were honored as the top professionals of the year. 
  • In addition to the committee meetings and educational opportunities, the Foundation hosted a new successful event in 2018 – Foundation in Paradise, featuring The Bellamy Brothers. 


  • The American Quarter Horse Foundation announced that Don Weller of Oakley, Utah, would be the signature artist for the 11th annual America's Horse in Art. Each year, the show's signature artist creates a piece of art that becomes the visual representation of the show for that year. 
  • The Association was pleased to report that AQHA set a record, with 9,150 members completing the AQHA Member Satisfaction Survey. The information gathered is being used to continue to improve the way members around the globe are served. The survey also collected important demographic data. 
  • AQHA appointed Barry Couper as chief information officer. 


  • More than 5,600 entries competed at the 2018 Level 1 Championships for 279 titles spread across three shows in April and May in Oklahoma City, Las Vegas and Wilmington, Ohio.


  • The Foundation awarded a record-breaking amount in scholarships for 2018-19: 83 students will receive a total of $725,500 to support their education over their academic career. 
  • AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines was awarded the Beef Improvement Federation Pioneer Award
  • AQHA partnered with Shorty's Caboy Hattery, the official show hat of AQHA. 
  • The Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships, Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge Finals, AQHA Level 1 Cattle Championships and National Ranch and Stock Horse Alliance National Championships was a record-setting show! More than 2,575 entries competed. The VRH entries alone grew 66 percent from the previous year. 
  • Ten AQHYA leaders represented AQHA on Capitol Hill June 10-13 at the American Horse Council National Issues Forum and Symposium in Washington, D.C. 
  • The 2018-19 AQHYA Executive Committee was elected: President Olivia Tordoff of Powell, Ohio; First Vice President Kylie Good of East Berlin, Pennsylvania; Second Vice President Charles Lee of McAllen, Texas; Executive Member Caleb Sturgeon of Beloit, Ohio; and Executive Member Sierra Walter of Hydro, Oklahoma.
  • The five outgoing AQHYA leaders were awarded scholarships at the Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar in Bryan-College Station, Texas. 


  • The American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup was also held in Bryan-College Station. Youth from 19 countries rode for gold medals in cutting, reining, horsemanship, ranch riding, trail, hunt seat equitation, hunter under saddle and showmanship. The overall winner was Team USA. 
  • The inaugural International Best Remuda Award was presented to Uruguayan ranch La Media Suerte, which is owned by AQHA Director Alvaro Martinicorena. 
  • The Code of the West Foundation presented a bronze to the American Quarter Horse Foundation and AQHA in recognition of preserving the Code of the West. Red Steagall presented the bronze to AQHA President Dr. Jim Heird, AQHA First Vice President Stan Weaver and AQHA Second Vice President Butch Wise. 
  • AQHA and Zoetis announced Wagonhound Land & Livestock of Douglas, Wyoming, as the recipient of the 2018 Zoetis AQHA Best Remuda Award. The ranch is owned by Art and Catherine Nicholas. 
  • The Foundation hosted nearly 1,500 people on July 28 at the National Day of the Cowboy celebration in Amarillo. Local groups joined forces with the Foundation to teach, entertain and celebrate the 8th annual National Day of the Cowboy with the public.


  • Beginning in August, all AQHA members received two more issues annually of America's Horse and access to all content from The American Quarter Horse Journal, Performance Horse Journal and Ranch Horse Journal. Read more about the media changes
  • AQHA announced that after a successful run, the final payout for the AQHA Incentive Fund will be made in early 2019.
  • Exhibitors from five countries competed for 42 world championships and 33 Adequan® Level 2 championship titles at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show, with 771 exhibitors showing 1,056 horses. Youth also competed in the contests outside of the arena. 
  • For the first time, AQHA awarded seven Level 3 world champion titles to winners of the 13-&-Under core classes.  
  • Jim Bound of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, was crowned the Adequan® Select All-Around Amateur. He showed Bound To Be Dun, owned by J. B. Bound of Fort Atkinson. They received a prize package that included $10,000, an original Lisa Perry bronze, Impact Gel saddle pad and rose bouquet.
  • During the 2018 Adequan® Select World, 23 first-time world champions were crowned. 


  • AQHA formed an alliance with the American Roan Horse Association
  • The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame announced that AQHA Past President Dr. Glenn Blodgett will be inducted in 2019. 
  • Apocalyptical Jess helped his trainer, Blane Wood, make history with the trainer's first win in the historic $3 million All American Futurity (G1) on Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs, as the sorrel son of Apollitical Jess scored a half-length victory.



  • For the first time, AQHA hosted the annual Awards Celebration at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Recognition of year-end high-point award winners had previously been held at the AQHA convention. This event was a hit! Watch the Awards Celebration on AQHA's YouTube Channel
  • Three AQHYA members earned scholarships totaling $6,000 at the AQHYA National Youth Racing Experience at Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress, California. 
  • Four AQHYA members earned a total of $5,000 in scholarships through the 2018 Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program. 
  • AQHA announced that a new scoring system will be implemented in January 2019 for horsemanship, showmanship and equitation classes. 
  • Blue Kahlua, owned by Montlake Farms LLC of Seattle, was crowned the 2018 Lucas Oil Superhorse. The 2013 brown gelding by Chocolua and out of Exotic And Blue was bred by Alyse Roberts of Tuttle, Oklahoma. Blue Kahlua's connections received $25,000; an original Lisa Perry bronze; and a flower bouquet. Read more about the top five Lucas Oil Superhorse winners.
  • Angela Fox of Frisco, Texas, earned the title of 2018 AQHA All-Around Amateur. Angela showed HP The Rusty Fox, a 2015 sorrel gelding by Mechanic and out of Sheza Pleasure by Nite Chip. The gelding was bred by Mariann Harrington and Joe Prause of Cabot, Arkansas. Angela received $15,000, an original Lisa Perry bronze and flower bouquet. Read more about the top five AQHA All-Around Amateur exhibitors. 
  • Amy Jo Erhardt of Oxford, Ohio, won the title of Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau Leading Owner. The American Quarter Horse Journal Reserve Leading Owner Award was won by Fred Wilcox of Louisa, Virginia.  


  • BRTSendingMyRegards, owned by Tim Meyer of Sylvan Grove, Kansas, is the 52nd Open Supreme Champion in the history of AQHA. BRTSendingMyRegards is a 2009 gray stallion by Chicks Regard and out of the Holland Ease mare Aleisha Elaine. He was bred by Ryan Story Chesley of Perkins, Oklahoma, with the guidance of 30-year breeder Dr. Bob G. Story of Perkins, Oklahoma.
  • AQHA implemented a new International Care Team to support the business and members in nearly 100 countries.

One thing that stands out above all else in our industry is passion – passion for the American Quarter Horse and our global horse community. Thank you for supporting our industry year after year. I wish you all a prosperous 2019!