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AQHA Registration Rule Changes
AQHA members and the board of directors approved several registration-related rule changes at the 2023 AQHA Convention.

Bee Silva
AQHA Registration Rule Changes

AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE ASSOCIATION—Modifications to registration-related items were approved by AQHA members and the AQHA Board of Directors at the 2023 AQHA Convention, February 23-28 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Per the Association’s bylaws, the board of directors have the final authority when it comes to AQHA’s bylaws and rules of registration.

Rule-change recommendations from all the other standing committees were reviewed and approved by the board of directors. Those recommendations go to the AQHA Executive Committee for review, modification and/or approval at the April meeting.

There were no bylaw rule-change recommendations from the AQHA Nominations and Credentials Committee. The AQHA Stud Book and Registration Committee discussed 20 proposed rule changes.

The Association’s plan to change to digital registration certificates was one of the most-debated topics discussed by the Stud Book Committee at the 2023 convention.

Previously, at the 2022 AQHA Convention, the committee recommended – and received approval by the members and Board of Directors – the implementation of digital registration certificates beginning with foals born in 2024.

However, due to more than 1,000 rule-change proposals submitted for the 2023 convention by AQHA members asking the committee to re-examine and delay the digital certificate recommendation, the committee recommended delaying the implementation of digital certificates until 2025 to allow more time for member education on the benefits of moving to a digital certificate. Member concerns ranged from a strong preference to keep paper certificates to frustrations with technology and access to the internet to complete AQHA business digitally.

The recommendation was approved by the members and the Board of Directors and goes into effect immediately, postponing implementation of digital registration certificates until 2025.

Other Stud Book and Registration Committee recommendations that were approved by the AQHA Board of Directors are:

  • Amend REG124 to prevent an agent from transferring a jointly owned horse to one of the partners and require the other partner to sign a transfer.
  • Reappoint the international registration task force for 2023 to evaluate rules related to international affiliates with an approved stud book.
  • Modify REG117.5, REG117.6 and REG120.4 to include language that AQHA may request parentage verification if there is a significant discrepancy with the markings for a correction.
  • Delete REG117.7 so that correction of a horse’s color follows the same correction standards in all instances.
  • Modify REG118.3 to clarify that a horse with any achievement record with AQHA is ineligible for a name change.
  • Amend REG123 to include microchip reporting as follows: REG123. SCARS, MICROCHIPS AND BRANDS. All scars, microchips, brands and tattoos on a horse should be shown on its registration certificate.
  • REG123.1 Brands, microchips, scars or identifying tattoos not appearing on the certificate will be added by AQHA free of charge if the record owner submits the registration certificate. a diagram showing the shape and location of the scar or brand, and the date of injury or branding, if known; or the location and exact description.

REG123.1.1 Brands and scars can be added if the owner provides a diagram showing the shape and location.
REG123.1.2 Identifying tattoos can be added if the owner provides the description and location of the tattoo.
REG123.1.3 Microchips can be added if the owner provides the microchip number and implantation site, if known. It is recommended that International Organization for Standardization compliant microchips be used.

Frozen Embryo Rules
A large number of rules were amended, deleted or added regarding frozen embryos created from intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

“Rules pertaining to frozen embryos and permits were first adopted at the 2006 AQHA Convention and appeared in the 2007 rules,” said AQHA Registrar Tammy Canida. “In the past two years, we recognized that use of vitrified embryos and in vitro fertilization as methods for breeding had increased significantly. Many owners were not clear on the reason for a permit and its intended purpose to protect interest in a future foal for both the mare owner and stallion owner.”

A rule-change proposal was submitted to the Stud Book and Registration Committee at the 2022 AQHA Convention, and it was apparent then that a task force was needed to evaluate the rules in depth to fully understand the complexities surrounding the use of frozen embryos. The task force met several times leading up to the 2023 convention.

“The task force determined that the essence of the rules was OK, but that the rules needed to be clearer to help owners better understand what was required to ensure a future foal is eligible for registration,” Canida said.

Here are those rule changes, deletions and additions:

  • Amend REG102.1 The record owner or record lessee of the foal’s dam at time of foaling (at time of breeding if an embryo transfer foal)
  • Add REG102.1.1 In the event the foal is a result of embryo transfer, the record owner or record lessee at time of breeding is responsible for submitting a properly completed and signed registration application and a completed and signed breeder’s certificate. Refer to REG112 for rules pertaining to embryo transfer to ensure requirements are met for a foal’s registration eligibility.
  • Add REG102.1.2 In the event a frozen embryo permit is used to register a foal, the owner of the permit shall sign the registration application as the owner at time of foaling.
  • Add REG102.1.3 In the event the foal was produced by frozen embryo, and a permit was not obtained at the time it was bred, refer to REG112.5
  • Amend REG102.2 Each registration application must be completed and signed by the owner of the foal’s dam at the time of foaling (at the time of breeding if an embryo transfer foal), by the dam’s lessee (if a record of the lease is on file with AQHA) as described in REG102.1 above or by a person authorized to sign for the record owner or lessee (if a record of the authorization is on file with AQHA) for the foal to be eligible for registration. In the event a frozen embryo permit is used to register a foal, the owner of the permit shall sign the registration application as the owner at time of foaling.
  • Add REG110.5 If an embryo is frozen and stored, the breeding shall be listed on the stallion breeding report for the year it is fertilized, and a frozen embryo permit shall be purchased by the mare owner to preserve the stallion owner’s right to sign future breeding and registration documents (refer to REG112). In the case of a frozen embryo, the injection date will be considered the breeding date. If the embryo is NOT used during the fertilization year and a permit is NOT purchased, the actual breeding dates will no longer be recognized for registration purposes by AQHA. Instead, the year the embryo is implanted will be considered the “breeding year.” Understand, that per AQHA rules, a new stallion breeding report is required to be submitted and signed by the then current record stallion owner. It is the responsibility of the registration applicant to obtain the signatures necessary to satisfy the registration requirements from the stallion owner of record. Failure to obtain the proper signatures for the registration application and supporting breeding documents may result in a foal being ineligible for registration.
  • Amend REG110.6 If a mare is exposed to multiple stallions within thirty days, must elapse between exposure to different stallions for resulting foals must be parentage verified to be eligible for registration. Refer to REG102.8.6
  • Add REG111.2.2 Be advised that a stallion owner or semen owner who chooses to ship semen to another party for breeding, it is the stallion/semen owner’s responsibility to collect the information necessary to report the breeding as per REG110. Failure to do so may result in a future foal(s) being ineligible for registration if the rules pertaining to registration, stallion breeding report and breeder’s certificate cannot be satisfied.
  • Strike the word oocyte where listed in REG112.
  • Amend REG112.5 In the event a mare owner wishes to (1) collect an embryo(s) and freeze it for use at a later date (2) transfer a mare but retain rights to use frozen embryo(s) or (3) keep the mare and/or sell embryos transfer “frozen embryo permit(s)”, he may must purchase obtain a frozen embryo permit(s) from AQHA to preserve the owners of record at the time for both the mare and the stallion, and memorialize who can sign registration and breeding documents for a resulting foal. The application for purchase of a frozen embryo permit(s) must be on a form provided by AQHA. Once a mare is sold, a former owner cannot purchase additional permits from AQHA.
  • Amend REG112.5.1 The AQHA application for a frozen embryo permit must be signed by both the mare owner, and the stallion owner at time of breeding to verify identity of mare and stallion with and date of fertilization and must correspond to a breeding date on the stallion breeding report. The stallion owner, if he/she so chooses, may also sign the breeder’s certificate portion of the permit application.
  • Amend REG112.5.2 If the stallion owner does NOT sign the breeder’s certificate portion of the permit application, the permit, when used to register a foal shall only serve as the mare owner’s signature on the breeder’s certificate for registration of the foal. Breeder’s certificate requirements regarding the stallion owner’s signature as well as stallion breeding report requirements must still be met in order for the foal in question to be eligible for registration.
  • Add REG112.5.3 It is the responsibility of the mare owner to inform the stallion owner of a performed embryo transfer or freezing an embryo so the mare can be correctly reported on the stallion breeding report.
  • Add REG112.5.43 Understand that per AQHA rules, if a permit is not obtained and if the mare and/or stallion is sold, the former owners cannot sign registration and breeding documents for a resulting foal. Also understand if the embryo(s) is NOT implanted during the breeding year and a permit is NOT purchased, the actual breeding dates will no longer be recognized for registration purposes by AQHA. Instead, the date the embryo is implanted will be required to be submitted and signed by the then record owner of the stallion and the then record owner of the mare. It is the responsibility of the registration applicant to obtain the signatures necessary to satisfy the registration requirements from the stallion owner of record and mare owner of record. If the proper registration documents are not obtained, then a foal will be ineligible for registration.
  • Delete REG112.6, REG112.6.1, REG112.6.2, and REG112.6.3. related to oocytes.
  • Amend REG113.1 The breeder of a horse is the owner of the dam at the time of service, except when a mare is held under lease at the time of breeding and written notification of such lease signed by the lessee and lessor is on file with AQHA, in which event the registration certificate shall show the lessee as the breeder. When a frozen embryo permit is used to register a foal, the original purchaser of the frozen embryo permit shall be listed as the breeder.
  • Add REG113.3 When a frozen embryo permit is used to register a foal, the owner of the frozen embryo permit shall be listed as the breeder and the mare owner’s portion of the breeder’s certificate is satisfied upon purchase of the permit. The signature of the stallion owner at time of purchase of the frozen embryo permit (refer to REG112) is required on the breeder’s certificate.
  • Delete REG113.2.1 A properly signed frozen embryo permit is used to register a foal, as the breeder’s certificate requirements were met when application to purchase the frozen embryo permit was made.
  • Delete REG113.2.3 A retained semen rights permit is used to register a foal, AQHA requires only the signature of the permit owner on the permit to verify the service of the sire. Record owner of the dam at time of breeding must sign the appropriate breeder’s certificate on the registration application.

More information on the frozen embryo rules will be shared soon to provide step-by-step guidance on a mare owner’s need to obtain frozen embryo permits for existing vitrified embryos to preserve their ownership interests in any future foals.

The additional 11 standing committee reports will be reviewed by the AQHA Executive Committee, and approved rule-changes will be released at a later date. Additionally, rule-change recommendations from the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission will also be reviewed by the AQHA Executive Committee in April.

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