The AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program (YHD) showcases the stock being bred and raised by AQHA Ranching Heritage members by matching donated weanlings with AQHYA members. Youth in this program are engaged in the horse industry at a fundamental level that is both fun and educational.
Participating Ranching Heritage breeders donate young horses for Young Horse Development participants to raise and train. Young horsemen and women learn responsibility and goal-setting, important components of horse ownership - and life skills that can follow them for years to come. Encouraged by good fun, as well as key education in the horse industry, youth learn to raise and train their weanlings.
About the Young Horse Development Program
Developing Horsemanship Skills
Through the Young Horse Development program, AQHYA members 13 years and older receive a hands-on horse training opportunity focusing on the fundamentals of horsemanship. The program is not only an excellent educational experience, it is also a lot of fun! Prizes and scholarships are at stake. Participants can showcase the skills and knowledge they have acquired for chances to win scholarships and awards.
Prioritizing Equine Wellness
Throughout the program, participants further their knowledge in horse health by prioritizing equine wellness. Participants are encouraged to help ensure their horse’s health by working closely with a veterinarian outlining key aspects of horse health care to help build a solid foundation of equine wellness for both the horses and youth members. To help the weanlings excel in both health and performance, participants can record veterinary wellness exam details, including core and risk-based vaccinations.
Program Details and Deadlines
The priority application deadline for the 2024 program will be August 15, 2023, and the late application deadline is October 1, 2023. Apply by the priority deadline for the best chance of admission into the program and the most likely match with a horse closest to your home. Participants may be selected and matched with horses any time after August 15, with the majority being selected and matched with horses October through December 2023.
Youth can participate in the Young Horse Development Program with a donated foal or purchasing a Ranching Heritage bred foal from a recognized AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder.
Program Application and Record Book
For 2025 program applications, sign up to receive a notice when applications open.
To assist with gathering application materials and preparing answers, view the 2024 program application preview here.
To learn more about the application process and program, view the Young Horse Development Frequently Asked Questions resource.
To learn more about program requirements and guidelines, please view the 2024 YHD Program Record Book.
2023 Scholarship Winners
In first place, earning a $2,000 scholarship and custom belt buckle is Mateah D'Souza of Auberry, California. D'Souza's’ Ranching Heritage-bred horse is RO Stevie Smooth, a 2022 palomina filly by RO Smart N Smooth out of RO Memphis Playgun by TRR Janies Playgun. The filly was bred by the 2022 AQHA Best Remuda-winning rach O RO Ranch in Prescott, Arizona.
Second place goes to Joscelyn Thompson of Wichita, Kansas. She receives a $1,500 scholarship and a Justin Boots gift certificate. Thompson worked with Miss Freeman 2219, a 2022 gray filly by Little Chrome Cat out of Miss Freeman 019 by PG Shogun. Miss Freeman 2219 was bred by Mark Freeman of Freeman Family Ranch LTD in Texhoma, Oklahoma.
Denny Turner of Texico, New Mexico, was third with his filly, Teqita Bueno Kitty. The 2022 gray filly is by Spanky D Cat out of Teqita Bueno Cairiss by Bueno Sax. The filly was bred by James and Lynda Ray of Tequesquite Ranch in Albert, New Mexico. Turner receives a $1,000 scholarship and a $100 Wrangler product gift certificate.
Fourth place goes to Julius Nicodemus-Culwell of Louisville, Mississippi. He receives a $500 scholarship and a $100 Wrangler product gift certificate. Nicodemus-Culwell worked with Nu Metallic 24, a 2022 bay filly by Nu Metallic and out of Senorita Double Zero by Poco Tuck Zero. The filly was donated by Sam Daube of The Daube Company of Ardmore, Oklahoma.
In 2023, 35 youth participated in the Young Horse Development Program. The program was highly competitive, and the excellence achieved by participants was impressive. In addition to recognizing the four scholarship winners, AQHYA would like to acknowledge youth placing fifth through tenth in the program. These individuals will be awarded a rosette from AQHYA.
5. Owen Byler of Ladoga, Indiana with Jak Mr Poco Leo 701 bred by Oleen Brothers of Dwight, Kansas
6. Taitum Connick of Eagle Point, Oregon, Texas with Boxo Heavens Four U bred by Box O Quarter Horses of Gordon, Nebraska
7. Jordan Tucker of Buffalo, Missouri with Jordons Task 1126 bred by Harlan House of Goodland, Kansas
8. Jeshua Dimmick of Chattaroy, Washington with KT I Am Major Groot bred by KT Ranch of Connell, Washington
9. Aubrey Schueter of Saint Joseph, Minnesota with Lucky Sugar Melody bred by Woodworth Ranch of Alliance, Nebraska
10. Isabella Barbano of Anthem, Arizona with Flying V Dove bred by KT Cattle Inc. of Amado, Arizona
We would like to extent a special thank you to all of the Ranching Heritage Breeders who donated weanlings to the 2023 Program:
Bogle Brothers LLC, Box O Quarter Horses, Campbell Ranch, Clark Farms Quarter Horses, The Daube Company, Durrett Cattle Co., Freeman Family Ranch LTD, Harlan House, Haythorn Land & Cattle Co., K T Ranch, KT Cattle Co., Mahlstedt Ranch Inc., Mill Iron S Ranch, Nixon Ranch, O RO Ranch, Oleen Brothers, Open Box Rafter Ranch, Raymond Sutton Ranch, Shawcroft Performance Horses, Sid Miller, St. Clair Farms, Tequesquite Ranch, West Brothers Inc., Wetz Stirrup Ranch, and Woodworth Ranch.
2024 Program Participants
The following AQHYA members are participating in the program for 2024:
Audrey Moody of Sour Lake, Texas; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Cannon Quarter Horses of Waxahachie, Texas
Bailee Jaques of Mount Pleasant, Utah; Ranching Heritage Breeder: West Brothers Inc. of Lusk, Wyoming
Baliegh Lane of Huntley, Wyoming; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Open Box Rafter Ranch of Faith, South Dakota
Brooklyn Sherron of Spring Hill, Kansas; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Durrett Cattle Co. of Wildorado, Texas
Camas Van Hollebeke of Benton City, Washington; Ranching Heritage Breeder: KT Ranch of Connell, Washington
Cassie Coffman of North Fork, California; Ranching Heritage Breeder: O RO Ranch of Prescott, Arizona
Emma Peterson of Lyons, Kansas; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Schofield Quarter Horses, of Philip, South Dakota
Emma Thielen of Plevna, Montana; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Wetz Stirrup Ranch of Vale, South Dakota
Ethan Hartman of Greenville, Ohio; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Oleen Brothers of Dwight, Kansas
Grace Bennett of Lancaster, Wisconsin; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Perry Quarter Horses of Leoti, Kansas
Heidi Flint of Lucama, North Carolina; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Big Valley Ranch of Monterey, Virginia
Hozanah Hanon of Mustang, Oklahoma; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Lance Most Quarter Horses of Ogallala, Nebraska
Joelle Schneider of Rodney, Michigan; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Clark Farms Quarter Horses of Hustontown, Pennsylvania
Kane McIntire of Cottonwood, Idaho; Ranching Heritage Breeder: KT Ranch of Connell, Washington
Katherine Wickersham of Bryan, Texas; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Waters Ranch of Utopia, Texas
Kezleiann Gittins of Petersboro, Utah; Ranching Heritage Breeder: St. Clair Farms of Kahoka, Missouri
Lacy Ronhaar of Spicewood, Texas; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Hal Bogle Estate of Dexter, New Mexico
Layla DelVecchio of Brooksville, Florida; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Clark Farms Quarter Horses of Hustontown, Pennsylvania
Lindsey Thomas of Henry, Nebraska; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Open Box Rafter Ranch of Faith, South Dakota
Madeline Spreeman of Ithaca, Nebraska; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Open Box Rafter Ranch of Faith, South Dakota
Megan Sanger of Chugwater, Wyoming; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Open Box Rafter Ranch of Faith, South Dakota
Paige Anderson of Santa Maria, California; Ranching Heritage Breeder: KT Cattle Inc. of Amado, Arizona
Presley Schluss of Jonesburg, Missouri; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Woodworth Ranch of Alliance, Nebraska
Reagan Dockery of Creswell, Oregon; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Brackett Livestock Inc. of Rogerson, Idaho
Reata Mullins of Clinton, Iowa; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Schofield Quarter Horses of Philip, South Dakota
Sarah Nemechek of Goodland, Kansas; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Harlan House of Goodland, Kansas
Sateen Keller of Fort Morgan, Colorado; Ranching Heritage Breeder: West Brothers Inc. of Lusk, Wyoming
Sophia Christensen of Decatur, Texas; Ranching Heritage Breeder: Bagley Performance Horses of Dimmitt, Texas