Over-Breeding, Foal-Milling AQHA Posts Membership Results for 2015



Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

While new registrations and memberships of all pedigree horse breeds have been in decline overall since the 2008 recession,  registrations for the AQHA are possibly the hardest hit, due in part to the dominance of the quarter horse breed. The AQHA’s 2015 membership results have been posted, and following the trend of previous years,  they’re down overall once again.   Canada’s overall membership numbers continue in a decade of decline, so too do Alberta’s numbers, which are typically in the top 10 of almost any AQHA stat.


Membership Change Overall From 2014 – 2015 (2,997) This decline represents a loss of over $100,000 in revenue

Membership Change for Canada From 2014 – 2015 (655)

Membership Change for Alberta From 2014 – 2015 (171)


It’s no secret that the largest non-profit breed association in the world takes the most destructive and inhumane approach to horse slaughter of any of the breed groups. On the one hand, they have a Mission Statement to “ensure the American Quarter Horse is treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times.” However, the AQHA needs a system to make room for the continuing mass production, hence their business model is to breed as many horses as possible (thus maintaining new memberships and registrations thus ensuring that they are a self-perpetuating entity) while discarding older  or surplus horses and horses with undesirable conformation to slaughter plants.

AQHA  Executive Vice President  Craig Huffhines – (in reference to the S.A.F.E. Act):

“If we do not like unwanted horses being sent to processing facilities across our northern and southern borders, then perhaps Congress should allow our own USDA-regulated processing plants to reopen. The U.S. plants, with state-of-the-art monitoring technology, will assure humane handling and euthanasia as approved by AAEP and AVMA and a USDA-inspected safe and wholesome end product for export.”

Can I say how disgusted I am that Huffhines refers to quarter horses as an “end-product?”  I dislike references to the term “foal crop” on the 2015 Executive Summary (or wherever else I see it).  41655994_mlThe term “crop” has pleasant connotations of the nostalgic gathering of a produce that is planted and cultivated by collecting rainwater for irrigation.  Animals are not “crops” that can be ripened like turnips, although sending horses to slaughter does bring to mind the image of a combine harvester and a crop of living animals that are simply mowed down.  Despite what the AQHA claims, the goal of “treating horses humanely and with dignity” is one that’s incompatible with over-breeding and slaughter.

In addition to encouraging horse owners to dispose of their animals in the slaughter pipeline and strategizing against humane groups,  the AQHA’s multiple-embryo-transfer rule also facilitates overpopulation by allowing mares to have more than one foal per year. Rules about using frozen semen or eggs from long-sterile or dead animals allowed horses to breed from beyond the grave.  Consider that First Prize Dash,  a 1988 quarter horse mare – produced  44 offspring!  Her sire, Dash for Cash, sired 1,233 foals!  Possibly these two horses are not the most obvious examples of this policy either. There were so many lines in the All Breed Pedigree record for Dash for Cash that I had to copy and past them into a spreadsheet in order to count them…

top hat tip DebbyInstead of trying to fight against animal welfare groups, the AQHA should be setting aside funds to care for unwanted horses that resulted from rampant over-breeding that the horse-riding public cannot absorb.

Fewer horses produced by responsible breeding practices would result in higher prices at the sale barn and private treaty sales. It’s not all about the membership numbers.


About heatherclemenceau

Hopefully as I've grown older I've also grown wiser, but one thing I've definitely become cognizant of is the difference between making a living and making a life. Frequently outraged by some of life's cruelties, and respect diversity. But.....I don't suffer fools gladly, and occasionally, this does get me into some trouble! I have the distinction of being the world's worst golfer - no wait, I do believe that there is a gypsy in Moldavia who is a worse golfer than I. Nor am I much of a dancer - you won't see a booty-shakin' flygirl routine from me! I'm also not the kind of cook who can whip up a five-course meal on a radiator either! And I've never figured out how to get an orchid to bloom a second time. I love to discuss literature, science, philosophy, and sci-fi , or even why Seinfeld is funny on so many levels. Words move me. I'm very soft-hearted about most things, especially animals, but I have a stoicism about me that is sometimes interpreted incorrectly. I do have a definite edge and an often "retro-adolescent" sense of humour at times. I'm a big advocate of distributed computing projects to advance science. Check out http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ if you want to find out more. I'm an eclectic plant-based eater, and as such, it's a personal practice of mine to seduce innocent meat-eaters into cruising the (salad) bars at every opportunity. You would be powerless to resist. I was recently surprised to find that a computer algorithm concluded that I write like Dan Brown, which is funny because I didn't think Dan Brown could actually write. Check out your own style - http://iwl.me/ Oh, and I love impractical shoes and funky hats.

7 responses »

  1. I hope people will stop the breeding of these horses , there are to many of them , and they sent them to slaughterhouse . We need to pass safe act Hr1942 , and why are they aren’t AQHA for it? I hope people will stop join them. They can’t get there head out of there butts.

  2. Obviously the business leadership of the AQHA is strictly about finance. Although I know lots of big farms and breeders see it has a business. The lack of empathy of the leaders set me back though…its concerning. There should be a concentrated effort to educate members of the cost of raising one horse financially, the responsibility of horse ownership and the fact that sending yearlings to auction will result in very well bred horses being slaughtered like a cow. My hope is that the AQHA will become part of the solution and not in denial. Look at the pictures of horses being loaded in cattle trucks not fancy Silverlites to be hauled in extreme conditions to a horrible violent end. Educate your breeders…

  3. Thank you for continuing to expose what the public does not know about horse slaughter — everything from the pretenses of a breed registry like AQHA to the dark motives of a Claude Bouvry.

  4. I run two horse adoption support groups on Facebook. Each year over 130,000 horses are slaughtered in Mexico in Canada. If you do not know the horror that our horses face in Mexico, search for Mexico Horse Slaughter–it is the most cruel, inhumane thing I have EVER read! In documented research by the Equine Welfare Alliance, it is reported that 70 percent of horses that are slaughtered are young Quarter Horses, and sadly the AQHA openly supports the murder of thousands of registered horses every year.


    Tracy Stevens
    Bolero Gaited Horse Adoption Network

    Bolero Appaloosa and Spotted Horse Adoption Network

    Hosted by http://www.SpanishHorseTack.com
    Custom, Handmade, Horse Tack for ALL Breeds

  5. Germany has rules on how many puppies a bitch can have and how many puppies a dog can sire. Thereby putting a limit on how many puppies are born.

    Horse breeds, all of them, should also put limits on how many foals can be sired by a single sire over his lifetime. That would slow the breeders down.

    • Yes, it’s a great idea – I wish it could be implemented but so many people and groups would fight against it – including all the breed associations, the Cavalry Group, and every group that opposes animal welfare in general.

  6. What is happening in The USA and Canada is an absolute disgrace, these beautiful horses have served as friends for many many years , in wars farming and pleasure and we treat them in this cruel evil way. This reminds of my regular visits to the port of Dieppe in the 1960s the poor animals had been transported by ship, some had fallen down in the holds , they were just dragged out by a crane it was horrific to watch. These beautiful horses should be free and treated with the respect they have earned over hundreds of years of LOYALTY !!!

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