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News

Congress Futurities and Sweepstakes Entry Deadline April 1

March 28th, 2017

By Barbara Aitken

The All American Quarter Horse Congress (AAQHC) Futurities and Sweepstakes allow exhibitors and owners to feature talented horses of all ages and in various divisions.

Horse and rider teams flock to the Ohio Expo Center each October to vie for the prestigious title of Congress Futurity and Sweepstakes Champion in Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, Reining, Pole Bending, and Barrel Racing. 

In addition to other new classes, “We added Elite Yearling Halter Open and Amateur Mares, Geldings, and Stallions,” said Chris Darnell, Ohio Quarter Horse Association (OQHA) president. “We [also] added Congress 2-Year-Old Pleasure Super Sale Stakes Open and Non Pro classes, [and] we added a Yearling Sales Stakes to the 2016 Congress Super Sales [which will] be the horses that were sold or paid up into the Sales Stakes Division.”

Elizabeth Gorski, an AAQHC Tri Chairman and longtime exhibitor believes the AAQHC stands out from other Futurities and Sweepstakes across the country because “[the Congress] offers far broader opportunities for more horses and exhibitors to participate at the Congress than just the slate of AQHA Classes.”

She adds, “Because it is offered in October, the babies are more mature and stronger than at the summer futurities.” 

Not only are horses able to mature throughout the year, exhibitors are able to qualify for a Limited Division, unique to the AAQHC. 

Gorski said, “The Limited division at the Congress is so unique in that we define our own Congress limited list. Our limited definition is unique to our show and has different criteria than the NSBA limited definition, and seeks to make the top riders based on monies earned at the Congress over the past 5 years ineligible for the Congress Limited Division.  There are lists for the Open Western riders and Non Pro Western riders, as well as the Open and Non Pro Hunter Under Saddle riders.  Due to the nature of the list, a rider can move on and off the list depending on how well they have done."

The Limited Division was developed early in AAQHC’s history which over the years has allowed the Congress to be a leader, making [the] Futurity and Stakes classes very desirable, Darnell said.

She added, “[It] allows riders to regain their Limited status if they have a five-year dry spell and do not make the top 35 in Western Pleasure or top 15 in Hunter Under Saddle at three prior Congresses. The Limited list goes on Congress winnings only and not on overall NSBA earnings.” 

Since the AAQHC opened up the Futurities and Sweepstakes eligibility to color breeds in 2015, the competition is even tougher than before.

“This makes the competition even tougher,” said Gorski.  “I love seeing some of the color horses in the pen, and welcome some of the training barns that show at the top levels in the color breeds.” 

All Futurities and Sweepstakes exhibitors are “eligible to win thousands of dollars in cash and prizes,” said AAQHC Show Secretary, Rhonda Harter. Congress Champions also receive a prestigious Don Bell custom bronze trophy. 

Harter added, “Everyone wants to show at the Congress from the exhibitor just starting [out] to world champions.  It is the one show no one wants to miss.”

The first Futurity entry deadline is this Saturday, April 1, 2017, followed by two more installments on June 1 and August 1. Stakes entries are due on August 25, 2017, along with all general entries.

For more information on the entry process, visit www.quarterhorsecongress.com/futurities-stakes.