The American Quarter Horse Association was the recipient of the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s 1997 Equine Welfare Award which was presented December 9 at the AAEP’s annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

AQHA was recognized for its leadership in the development and enforcement of rules and guidelines to protect the health and welfare of its more than 3.5 million registered American Quarter Horses. The Association was presented with the Lavin Cup, named for AAEP past president Gary Lavin, VMD.

The award is designed to recognize a non-veterinary organization or individual which has demonstrated. Finalists were selected by the AAEP Public Relations Committee and the chair of the AAEP Equine Welfare Committee, all equine veterinarians.

In its 57-year history, AQHA has developed and enforced rules for competition; breeding and usage; provided more than $3 million to equine research; devised a set of policies for protecting the welfare of the horse; and was the first breed organized to adopt rules and implement a disciplinary process for drug and tail testing in show horses. To maintain its high standards, AQHA has an animal welfare task force, and subcommittees of the racing and show and contest committees are constantly on top of competitions.

Finalists were selected from 16 nominees by veterinarians serving the AAEP Public Relations Committee, in cooperation with the chairmen of the AAEP Equine Welfare Committee, based on information documenting these efforts. The winner was selected by the AAEP Executive Committee. This year’s finalists included the United States Combined Training Association and Judith Bokman from the Standardbred Retirement Foundation.