Participants Selected for National Youth Racing Experience

Participants Selected for National Youth Racing Experience

The 2021 National Youth Racing Experience allows AQHYA members a first-hand glimpse into the American Quarter Horse racing industry.

2019 challenge championships races downs at albuquerque (Credit: Andrea Caudill)

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The American Quarter Horse Association is hosting five American Quarter Horse Youth Association members during the AQHA National Racing Experience at The Downs at Albuquerque in New Mexico during the Bank of America Challenge Championships October 21-23.

Participants had to submit an application and complete the Racing Skillathon contest to be eligible to attend the National Racing Experience. The Racing Skillathon is an online contest that tests participants’ knowledge of American Quarter Horse racing. This skillathon was not only open to the applicants for the National Racing Experience, but to anyone who wanted to challenge their American Quarter Horse racing knowledge.

Those selected for the national program receive an all-expense-paid trip to get first-hand experience in the racing industry. They will be matched with professional racehorse trainers to allow them to experience daily life in a racehorse barn. In the afternoons, the youth will attend informational sessions on various aspects of the racing industry, from jobs such as the stewards and announcer, to the starting gate, jockeys room, test barn, as well as attending the racing committee meetings. 

The 2021 National Racing Experience participants are: 

  • A.J. Kendrick of Shallowater, Texas

  • Aliya Hawker of Snoqualmie, Washington

  • David Kendrick of Shallowater, Texas

  • Gaston Strickland of Union, Mississippi

  • Mallory Robbins of San Jose, California

These AQHYA members will not only gain priceless education, but also will compete for scholarships. The winners are determined by each participant's cumulative scores, which include their application, Racing Skillathon Contest results, scores from an interview round during their trip and overall performance throughout the educational experience. The scholarship winners will be announced during the Challenge Championships event.   

Interested youth can visit to locate a regional racing experience. To be a part of next year’s AQHYA National Racing Experience, stay tuned to for the application and the Racing Skillathon contest.

For the latest in American Quarter Horse racing news, visit

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