July 12, 2005 -- The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) announced that effective Jan. 1, 2006, its team penning rules will be more reflective of the industry standard established by the U.S. Team Penning Association (USTPA), an AQHA Alliance Partner and the only national not-for-profit association representing the sports of team penning and ranch sorting in North America.
Specifically, AQHA rule 455 (j) has been changed so that if more than three head cross the start/foul line at the same time, a no time will be called. Any part of the fourth animal that crosses the line will result in a no time. Further, rule 455 (r) now reduces the foul line to between 30 and 35 percent of the arena length from the cattle end of the arena, although it may be extended by five percent for every 10 feet beyond 110 feet in width to accommodate bigger and wider arenas. The entry gate will be situated 25 percent of the distance from the arena back wall, but not less than 55 feet from the back wall.
"We have worked with AQHA for more than a year in modifying its rules to more closely reflect the standards of the industry, which are designed to encourage better horsemanship and care for the animals used in the sport," said USTPA President Gary Fletcher.
With the rule change, it is now a possibility for producers to host jointly approved AQHA and USTPA events.
"This is an exciting development for producers as it brings more value to shows sanctioned through USTPA and approved by AQHA," said Cody Weirich, USTPA Executive Director. "Members who compete in these shows can earn points toward AQHA World Show qualification, as well as credit toward USTPA National Finals qualification, among other awards and recognition. Even more important is how these rule changes will positively affect the sport and build it on an international level."
Weirich continued by encouraging USTPA producers to contact USTPA on how dual sanctioning and approval can be applied for and approved.
"We are looking forward to seeing [team penning] grow and in assisting producers in producing quality competitions," said AQHA Director of Shows Charlie Hemphill.
For more information, contact the USTPA at 817-378-8082 or go to www.ustpa.com.